With high street giants Next, John Lewis, Aldi and the Co-op having all reporting solid online Christmas sales helping offset challenges on the high street such as declining footfall, the need for an omnichannel approach, where online sales complement offline and vice versa, is more tangible than ever.
Interestingly, an increasing number of consumers are reading online reviews to qualify their buying decisions prior to making an in-store purchase. This ‘research online, buy offline’ (ROBO) trend highlights a paradigm shift in the way consumers shop in-store and online, presenting an opportunity for marketers to engage with and influence shoppers in different ways.
To dive into this further, Bazaarvoice just released its second ROBO research report, showcasing how consumer-generated content, like online reviews, impacts offline purchases. To compile the report, Bazaarvoice researched consumer behaviour from more than 30 of the world’s leading retailers across hundreds of brands and categories.
According to the study, 45% of brick-and-mortar buyers read online reviews before purchasing products, marking a 15% YoY increase. However, online research doesn’t stop when shoppers are in the aisle; 82% of smartphone users consult their phones on purchases they’re about to make in a store.
The biggest product categories being researched online before being bought offline are appliances (59%), health, beauty and fitness (58%), and toys and games (53%). These were followed closely by electronics (41%) and baby merchandise (36%).
Interestingly, from 2015 to 2017, searches for what have traditionally been considered low consideration products – such as “best umbrellas” – have grown faster than those for high-consideration products, such as “best mortgages”.
The data also revealed a 20% year-over-year increase in mobile page views across more than 5,000 Bazaarvoice brand and retailer client websites.
With 50% of all e-commerce traffic now running on mobile, says Bazaarvoice, omnichannel is the only channel when it comes to marketing in today’s environment.
Accoding to Bazaarvoice, retailers need to focus on “ROBO multipliers”. These include:
- Art – for every dollar of online revenue that is influenced by review content, reviews influence another $6.07 of in-store revenue
- Video Games – for every dollar of online revenue that is influenced by review content, reviews influence another $5.19 of in-store revenue
- TV & Home Theater – for every dollar of online revenue that is influenced by review content, reviews influence another $4.83 of in-store revenue.