While the number of people who shop online is growing steadily, a new study also suggests that online research affects decisions to purchase offline. The Bazaarvoice study suggests that 82% of smartphone users conduct online research on their devices before making a purchase at a brick and mortar store.
To estimate this effect, analysts created an indicator known as Research Online Purchase Offline (ROPO). While this is an important measure that shows how effective a company is in establishing its reputation online, many companies really do not know how to track their ROPO share.
According to Bazaarvoice, approximately 45% of brick and mortar buyers read reviews online before making a purchase. The number, however, could be different for your industry and for your business. To calculate your ROPO rate accurately, you must follow a number of important steps, and you must also rely on dedicated software, such as CRM and business intelligence tools.
The problem with traditional online metrics
Online metrics such as website visits or a click-through rate (CTR) provide valuable information about the performance of a campaign in the online arena. However, these metrics can not account for what people do offline.
While online research is the only thing most consumers do today to find the right products and services, several studies suggest that the vast majority of purchases still occur offline. A report from the US Census Bureau UU From 2017 it suggests that 92% of retail sales still occur in a physical store.
Most buyers say they want to feel a product in person before buying. This is one of the main factors that maintain the popularity of traditional sales. In addition, consumers responded that they can not wait for a product to be delivered to them and that they worry about privacy when shopping online.
Whatever the reason, it is clear that some of these consumers are looking for information online and are attracted to a particular store because of reviews and web-based presentations. To measure this impact, business owners and marketers can do several things.
How to count accurately for ROPO consumers
Let’s face it: establishing an accurate ROPO index will be a challenge. In one study, Google measured the rate by monitoring online and offline advertising settings for three different German markets. The results of the research were compared with the income levels. Obviously, such an approach is prone to error and bias. An additional qualitative component can be added to improve accuracy.
One of the simplest things you can do is conduct a survey at the point of sale. You can ask customers in the store if they have researched products online to make a decision.
Analysts at the e-commerce development company Iflexion suggest additional strategies that companies can rely on to determine the share of ROPO’s revenues:
- Track relevant local traffic online (for example, people looking for the address of the physical store of the company).
- Create online coupons and discount codes and analyze their use in a real physical location.
- Conduct thorough online surveys (although it may be difficult to take off, the provision of the right stimulus could increase the willingness of website visitors to participate in the online survey).
- Using a unique toll-free number that is only available on your website to track the percentage of these calls among all the telephone queries the company receives.
- Promote a particular campaign through its online channels and measure the impact on the store (for example, run a PPC campaign that includes a specific call to action for a visit to the store and measure the impact). While the correlation is not always equal to the causality, you can still see the effectiveness of your messages online.
Similar experiments can be carried out to evaluate the effectiveness of their mobile presence. For example, you can have special coupons available only through the application of your smartphone. Confidence in a multichannel approach will show you the strength of your online presence, regardless of the technology your customers use. As the number of people who use a smartphone to conduct product research increases, such a comprehensive ROPO calculation approach will make a lot of sense.
It’s about systemic data reviews
As a salesman or entrepreneur today, you have access to tons of data. A systemic approach to the analysis of this information is one of the keys to calculate your ROPO rate.
One of the things you can do is collect data about your online orders, if you have an e-commerce website. Next, collect all the information you have about offline purchases and about the online behavior of the same person. You can, for example, link loyalty cards with the unique user identification that visitors to your website obtain in Google Analytics. Through such a connection, you will have 100% accurate information about the behavior in the store of people who have visited your website and used online options to join their loyalty program.
Information about the customer loyalty program is also entered into your CRM software. Therefore, it can bring another powerful tool in the ROPO calculation process. If you wish, you can calculate the amount of time that elapsed from the issuance of the loyalty card to the visit to the store and the purchase of a product. Through such an integrated approach, you will gain access to even more detailed information about online behavior and the specific parameters of its impact on offline purchases.
All this data can be viewed with the help of business intelligence software and made available to the sales and marketing teams. Through filtering and proper visualization, these company representatives will know what the ROPO rate is, which customer groups are prone to offline purchases after online research and which digital channels had the greatest impact on their activities. .
To gather even more data, you can rely on a digital point of contact in the store itself. An electronic receipt or web-based guarantee system will give you additional information about people who bought something at a physical location. Once the respective action is completed, you will obtain the information required to link the particular buyer with a certain type of online behavior.
Remember one last thing: even if you do everything possible to track offline conversions, you will still miss some of the people who conducted an online investigation before visiting your store. This is especially true for companies that carry out multiple admission campaigns through a series of channels.
The analytical and tracking capabilities may be limited for the respective channel, so the ROPO data may be somewhat inaccurate. Even so, you’ll know what approximate percentage of offline purchases has inspired your online presence. Based on this information, you can improve your campaigns / website in order to optimize the conversion rate in the future.
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