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November 8, 2021

Research online, purchase offline (ROPO) : know how to respond to new purchasing practices

Online research prior to an in-store purchase is becoming more common. Find out how to adapt your marketing actions to this new consumer behavior.Today, 8 out of 10 consumers do research on the Internet before making a purchase in a store. With strong growth in 2021, this practice requires a complete rethinking of customer journeys and the adaptation of marketing actions. Here are some explanations.


Identify the 5 main ROPO profiles

Reading blogs and consumer reviews, comparing promotions and prices has a “scientific” name: Research Online, Purchase Offline, or ROPO. Already well established, this practice accelerated during the pandemic, with the development of click and collect during extended business closures. Nevertheless, there are several reasons to practice ROPO, and it is therefore necessary to adapt the message according to the visitor’s profile, which can be classified in about 5 main families:

  • The favorite ROPO

This is the most frequent type of purchase. The consumer is looking to satisfy an immediate desire that we call an impulsive choice. To meet this need, brands must work on the “desirability” of their products and build a communication based on seducing the consumer.

  • The obsessive ROPO

In this situation, the consumer has a clear idea of the product he wants and will be difficult to influence. The purpose of his online search is to check the availability of the product. The brand must provide this information easily and reliably and help him to find the product he is looking for quickly.

  • The SOS ROPO

This is an emergency purchase: the Internet user is looking for a product that will fill an urgent need. For this type of ROPO, SEO plays a determining role because the urgency means that the consumer will favor proximity and accessibility.

  • The experimental ROPO

The consumer has little information about the product and wants to know more before making a choice. They need to test the product, to make it their own.

  • The reinsurance ROPO

Unlike the experimental ROPO , the consumer already has an idea of the product to buy. They will look for information that will confirm their desire to buy, and then go to the store.

Personalize marketing campaigns to improve customer loyalty

ROPO is often seen as a threat by traditional retailers who are not very connected. However, these stores can capitalize on their proximity and benefit from a clear increase in their purchase conversion with the implementation of a personalized omnichannel strategy.

The integration of the ROPO effect in a strategy allows to consider all sales channels as one interconnected channel. The online store becomes an extension of the physical store and vice versa. Moreover, ROPO optimization allows to measure the influence of the internet and digital ads on the target consumer and his habits, in order to better parameterize and personalize future marketing campaigns.

Finally, it establishes a link between the Internet user and the company, thereby building loyalty and increasing the company’s database: a resource that can be leveraged with solutions such as Generix Analytics & KPI, which enables the company to analyze its activities in real time.

4 essential steps to integrate a ROPO strategy

1) Optimize your online visibility

An optimized online presence that is accessible from any device is essential to a successful omnichannel strategy.

This includes relevant referencing of the brand, the insertion of products in comparison sites and the registration of physical points of sale in geolocation services or guides.

It is possible, for example, to propose geolocation to visitors, in order to offer content concerning the news of the points of sale around them (events, current promotions, opening hours, etc.).

To achieve this, the processing quality and the level of information must be identical, whatever the origin of the order: for a homogeneous vision and control, Generix Group’s Sales solution will enable to federate the sales channels.

2) Take care of your e-reputation

Today, when a consumer has to make a purchase choice, consumer opinions weigh almost as much as professional advice. The management of a physical store’s e-reputation must therefore be based on a global media plan in order to maintain an excellent pre- and post-sale customer relationship.

This approach requires expertise, responsiveness and transparency. Social networks, forums and business evaluation platforms are essential places to meet buyers and prospects. This also allows you to establish a reassuring human relationship with visitors. In order to make this relationship more lasting, solutions such as Generix Group’s Loyalty offer make it possible to opt for a more emotional loyalty and personalized recognition by analyzing all interactions with the brand.

3) Reorganize the sales in physical stores

The visit to the point of sale is the key moment for the conversion of consumers. According to an Xerfi study, the rate of transformation into a purchase is 20 times higher than on the web.

Logistics and sales teams must adapt to respond to more demanding behaviors with simplicity. The quality of the welcome and the relevance of the advice are strong levers of conversion. It is also necessary to always have sufficient stock, to offer easy collection such as click and collect and to offer the possibility of a life-size experience with the product.

4) Use proximity digital communication to reduce in-store indecision

With ROPO, the e-consumer’s reflection continues until the last moments before arriving at the point of sale. Thus, 79% of prospects make a final comparison on the Internet on the day of the purchase and 9% when they are in the point of sale. Special operations and personalized communication can reduce this indecision.

For example, it is possible to use digital couponing, which can only be used in one of the brand’s stores, or exclusive events (private sales, etc.). For this, the Promotion offer is ideal to define and supervise the promotional marketing of all channels from a single point.

Geofencing also allows you to send SMS or notifications only to customers or prospects located in your catchment area, for example to promote an in-store operation, or to give them a discount code.

Accompanying this dynamic ROPO seems all the more relevant as the latest report published at the end of August by Fevad highlights a particularly favorable context for store chains that develop their online activity: in Q2 2021, their sales increased by 8% compared to the previous year over the same period. “A turnover double that of the second quarter of 2019.” A period of opportunities therefore for those who will know how to adapt to new customer requirements.

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