Quick Guide to Product Research

A Pew Research Center report found that over half of US adults go online to research products they are considering purchasing. The practice of researching product features and compare prices online has become so common that it’s often referred to as ROPO (research online purchase offline) or ROBO (research online buy offline).

“Even if (shoppers) end up making their purchase in a store, they start their fact-finding and decision making on the Internet,” report author Jim Jansen said.

How do you win over these Internet-savvy researchers? By making sure your product’s “digital box” contains accurate, consistent, and compelling product information.

ROPO by the Numbers

While exact ROPO figures vary by study, industry, and country, here are some widely reported statistics to keep in mind when thinking about the influence online research has on offline purchases:

  • For every $1 spent online, the Internet influences $3 spent in stores (Financial Times, 2011) [registration required]
  • Customers who research online before buying spend 33% more than those who haven’t done online research (Google, 2011)
  • By 2014 an estimated $1.4 billion of retail sales will be “web influenced” (TechCrunch, 2010)

Additional Resources

Influencing Offline: The New Digital Frontier
A Google white paper surveying the impact ROPO is having on different companies.

Research Online Buy Offline [.pdf download]
Yahoo and comScore surveyed 175,000 online shoppers in this study looking at the impact of online research on consumer shopping behavior. From 2007.