Gone are the days when customers just chance upon your store as they wander through town. When it comes to modern-day buying behaviour, 92 per cent of end customers now seek information online before or during their store visit. It’s often referred to as the ROPO effect, or ROPO, and it’s something no shop owner can ignore.

What is ROPO?

ROPO might sound like a Netflix series, but it stands for Research Online, Purchase Offline, and it’s how today’s consumer wants to do business with you.

What are the benefits of ROPO for customers?


ROPO makes shopping easy

There’s a golden rule when it comes to sales – always make it easier for the customer to give you money, never harder! If the data shows that customers want first to visit you online, then enable them to do so in as many ways as possible (website, marketplace, social media, an app if relevant). If they can find you easily and absorb your information effortlessly, then that’s literally half of the ROPO battle won!

It empowers the customer with all the information they want

When it comes to a complicated or technical product, such as a bike, the more information a customer can download, the better. Provide them with everything they could possibly want to know; sizes, colours, prices, features, informative videos. If it’s all there at their fingertips, then they can pick and choose the most suitable way to digest this information. Again, it’s about the model working for them, not the other way around.

ROPO saves the customer time (and maybe even some awkwardness)

Enabling the customer to find out everything they want, when they want and at the click of a button saves them time, one of their most treasured possessions. Who knows, it might even save them some embarrassment as well. Maybe they don’t want you to realise they have limited bicycle knowledge? Perhaps they’re too shy to ask specific questions? Let them research under their own steam first.

It saves the customer money

Granted, some stores will use free shipping as a competitive advantage, but in many instances, this just isn’t possible and cannot be absorbed by the retailer. Purchasing in-store avoids this dilemma and ultimately saves the customer money.

ROPO still provides an in-store experience

Now you’ve saved your customer time and money they can potentially spend more of both in-store! Maybe they want to catch up on some cycling gossip, swap ride recommendations, or enjoy a coffee should you be offering? Possibly something in the window has now caught their fancy? It’s all part of the High Street charm, and online will never have the same effect. So, we’ve seen the customer appeal for ROPO. However, as it turns out, you, the retailer, stand to benefit the most. Let’s learn how…


What are the benefits of ROPO for retailers?

Where do we begin? This creates the perfect shopping experience – you’ve caught them online, and now you can serve them in person.

Increases your exposure

Even the very best High Street bike shop is visible to only a finite number of passers-by. Not so online. A virtual presence brings your store to the customers, not the other way around. It lets you reach potential buyers that would otherwise never encounter you. Being online means you can also capitalise on the growing popularity of Click + Collect (link), buying behaviour that has enjoyed colossal growth, particularly since the pandemic.

Improves staff efficiencies

If your website has done the selling for you, then chances are the customer won’t need your sales team for nearly as long. Your people are freed up to be more efficient (less time pitching, more time fitting, perhaps?) and to reach a greater spread of customers.

Creates upselling opportunities

Your customer has just entered the store with intent. A good salesperson can now effortlessly turn that into an opportunity to not only close the deal in person but probably also upsell.

Encourages brand loyalty and repeat custom

The customer is in your store; they are a potential captive audience. Use that time wisely to imbibe your brand culture, perhaps offer some added value, and give them an experience that means they will come back for more.

Keeps you ahead of the competition

With 41 per cent of businesses prioritising their online presence more now since the start of 2020, chances are your competition is now considering ROPO if not already offering it. Don’t hand them any free passes. So, you’re sold that ROPO really is the way forward. Now, how to capitalise on it?

Six golden tips for ROPO success in your business

  1. Never list online what is not immediately available in-store. Doing so creates frustration and can not only kill a sale but create a negative review as well. Ensure your product listings reflect your POS in real-time.
  2. Populate all variants. What if your customer is looking for a 20-inch wheel, but you’ve only listed the 24-inch (despite having both on the floor)? They’re likely to just click to a competitor rather than call you to check.
  3. There’s almost no such thing as information overload, just poor or unclear presentation. You don’t know if your potential customer prefers video, data graphs, images, pages of detailed information or just a summary response. Cover all bases.
  4. Have a strong call-to-action and obvious pathways to contact. They’ve done their research; you’ve got what they want. How do they now find you?
  5. Have an omnichannel presence. The more ways you can reach your hyperconnected potential customer, the more chance they have of finding you. Maybe they’re not searching on websites? Perhaps they’re browsing on Pinterest, communicating on Facebook or dropping into an online marketplace. Be everywhere.
  6. Consider how to enhance the in-store experience to meet the online expectations. For example, could you set up devices or kiosks on the floor that make online research easy and instant for the customer? Can you set staff up with handheld devices that will give them equal access online, so they’re privy to the same instant information as the customer?
Interested in finding out more or on the lookout for a partner to put the ROPO effect to use? Then contact us.