ROPO: The Invisible Force

Consumers Hesitant to Purchase, but Quick to Research Electronics Online

A recent report from FOX Business says that even with all the loving embrace between consumers and e-commerce over the past few years, many potential customers are still  timid to buy their electronics online. The article cites market research from the NPD Group, which found that only about half of those questioned would buy their consumer electronics from an e-commerce website. However, the same study found that nearly two thirds of U.S. consumers use the Internet to research electronics products before purchasing. This goes back to the relatively unknown, but vastly important, ROPO effect (research online, purchase offline) upon which we’ve harped before: Even if consumers aren’t buying your products online, it is still vital that you offer thorough, high-quality product descriptions, because there’s an excellent chance people are still using your site for research that could directly lead to sales in your brick-and-mortar store. The link is sometimes blurry and hard to quantify, but it’s most certainly there.


ROPO and Mobile: Match Made in Heaven

If the average consumer is anything like me–and I’m pretty sure they are–then he or she uses their super-capable smartphone or tablet to quickly look up product info while inside a store. It makes perfect sense for a shrewd shopper to seek all the info they can get before making a purchase, and slick mobile devices are making that easier than ever. A new post by Linda Bustos on the ever-impressive Get Elastic touches on the blossoming affair between ROPO and mobile (the article is primarily about how to design your mobile website, and it’s excellent, but we’re enamored with ROPO at the moment). One of the many great takeaways from Bustos’s article is that you want to optimize your mobile site with a unique strategy in mind. For instance, whereas you might tailor your traditional website to encourage transactions, it might be preferable to design your mobile site to emphasize product descriptions, reviews, reserve options, and other service features.

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