Online product research has become the modern-day version of window shopping, according to a recent European study that looked at consumer behavior. As many as 40 percent of customers research a product online before buying it in-store. This is why all stores, even places where almost all purchases are made in-person such as car dealerships or supermarkets, must have an online presence.
The study, cited in an article on Business & Leadership’s website, noted that 50 percent of Internet users conduct research and compare products online. The research includes reading commentaries and reviews from other customers.
Now that more and more consumers are doing their research online, retailers who sell their products in-person must be web-friendly. Their websites should be easy to navigate and easily found in search engines. Websites should present information in multiple ways, such as using photos and videos in addition to text. Meaningful and informative web content encourages customers to visit the physical store. You need to make it easy to navigate your website and embrace this trend so you can gain market share.
Fewer people have the time to jump in a car and drive to different stores to check selection or prices. Retailers need to remember that they have to follow the customer’s lead and changing consumer habits. ROPO behavior — research online, purchase offline — will only become more common as consumers take advantage of all their online and in-store retail choices.
Source: Business & Leadership, June 2012