While it’s obvious websites drive online sales, business owners need to recognize the Internet also influences purchases made offline.
In fact, 97% of consumers use the Internet to research products or services in their local area, revealed a Kelsey Group Study, which was released in March 2010. Marketers label these consumers research-online-purchase-offline customers, or ROPO customers.
What specific online research tools do they use?
- 90% use search engines
- 48% use Internet Yellow Pages
- 42% use comparison shopping sites
- 24% use vertical sites
No longer do consumers need to go to the library or bookstore to purchase or borrow a Consumer Reports magazine. Nor do they need to travel from store to store to collect brochures and track down helpful staff. Thanks to the Internet, consumers can conveniently visit websites like Price.com and Amazon for everything from product specs to guarantees to prices and promotions.
What does this mean for business owners? Invest in easy-to-navigate, up-to-date, informative and appealing websites. Whether you sell cars, curtains or computers, the Web is where consumers go first, so that’s where your products and services need to be.
Retailers can fully leverage this increasing trend by offering online consumers a buy online/pick up at the store option. Oddly few retailers do. Adding an “I’ll pick it up at the store” option can be highly lucrative as it can help scoop sales from competitors.
Businesses that do not have a presence online are missing out on potential new customers and additional revenues because they’re no longer part of the decision making process.
Below, Nordstrom offers exceptional customer service to ROPO customers, who can view product details on items they can pick up in-store.