OtherAugust 10, 2015

Myth or Reality – “Online Stores send customers to offline stores"

Myth or Reality – “Online Stores send customers to offline stores"

There are several eCommerce stores that earn massive revenues from online transactions made off by customers while shopping online. Soon after the online shopping trend bumped the minds of customers sitting idle next to their screens, a revolution took birth that reinvented shopping from scratch.

Online Shopping not only made the lives of people easy, but took them aboard on the vessel sailed by ambitious online competitors straining at the leash. The primary goal of an online business can vary from budget and resources, to rising industrialists who defy borders and seas.

An online store represents a business’s role in the World Wide Web to influence its sales from local to global scale. It can be as simple as handmade crafts to large construction or military machinery of extensive spectrums. Online stores get the work done without causing any drama or frequent human errors. It helps a business achieve its financial merit without setting it behind glass.

Since the advent, online stores have become the top solution for new and existing businesses to expand their territories and maximize their revenues. Well, empirical evidence has surfaced that suggests otherwise! In the light of this new evidence, it is suggested for all Magento based eCommerce businesses to use Advanced Online Store Locator by FME which will help your customers locate your offline store on Google maps.

Supporting it with Evidence

It is true? Myth or reality? Well extensive research and customer surveys have produced mind boggling evidence that online stores actually work as an essential counterpart for boosting in-store sales of many businesses which have online representation.

Consumers interested in purchasing products often get sidelined with alternatives and comparable products online with good product presentation and conclusively, refuse to buy the product. However, the same customer is rejuvenated after seeing the product in reality while walking in a local store. The result is offline purchase!

Proof 1 : History of Mobile and digital influence on in store sales

In order to help you understand the affect of digital on retailers, Deloitte surveyed over 2000 American consumers and asked them about the use of digital instruments during their journey of shopping. The main focus of this research was how the digital is having influence on the path to purchase. The results suggest that it is the time for every business to consider digital as the main integrated part of the entire organization and not to consider it as the separate function of business.

Figure 3. Mobile’s and digital’s influence on in-store sales

Mobile’s influence on in-store sales

Source : http://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/us/Documents/consumer-business/us-rd-thenewdigitaldivide-041814.pdf

As this figure suggests, the influence of mobile was increased from 5% to 19% in the year 2013 and the Ditial influence on sales also increased from 14% to 36%.

Figure 4. Digital influence factor projections

As this figure suggests, the digital influence factor is projected to increase at a very higher rate in the coming years.

Proof 2: Survey by Accenture : ROPO Model

A survey conducted by Accenture reveals that more than 88% of potential buyers would browse for the product online and then purchase it from a physical store. From the last year’s record on $1.2 trillion offline sales, it has been estimated by Forrester than digital influence on the buyer will set new marks on the fabric of in-store purchasing with almost 50% of offline sales produced by the U.S consumers to be attributed for the $1.8 trillion rise in the 2017. Google also confirmed this by bringing its own global research on ROPO (Research Online, Purchase Offline).

The research claimed that 38% of offline purchases are followed by online study of the product regardless the demographics of the consumer.  German retail association and PricewaterhouseCoopers also supported these findings agreeing, that ROPO has become a significant stakeholder for revenue generation in offline selling.

Proof 3: Search Ads Increases Offline Sales

Online advertising is no doubt the x-factor behind the rise in offline sales. Allocating the mildest amount of resources in search ads can boost offline sales by almost 1.46%. Consumers believe what they see, and with appealing digital presentations with a touch of clever marketing, the company can wrap them around their fingers.

With innovative thinking and critical analysis on customer personas, increasing ROPO percentage among consumers is just some ads away. Influenced by the imperative need for online ads a retailer invested $466K in search ads in pursuit for increased in-store sales and within a span of six-week time the business owner made an increase of $5.6 million from his in-store sales.

This also gave off a tidal wave of increased sales in categories. Research results have shown that each time a category is newly advertised on the World Wide Web by a retailer, it received impressive feedback from consumers with more and more traffic pouring on it. Sales got off to 5.8% increase with test categories which is a considerable rise for offline customers. Each category rise ranged from 1.5% to as much as 1.69%.

Online search ads are as important as any strategy for ROPO and evidence from multi-channel retailers stands by this claim.

Proof 4: Blurred line between offline and online shopping have changed the consumer shopping behavior

To many trigger ready consumers, being intimated online about an offer for a product or service is giving them an excuse to purchase that product physically from the store. Some clients prefer purchasing the product after actually touching it, while others are just fascinated with good marketing that sets them off their hydraulic chairs and into stores.

Potential buyers also reported that 55% of their purchases were a direct result of search engine optimized marketing. When these buyers searched for products on Google, the results gave away the store location that motivated them to go purchase it with hand. Email promotions also paid off with 60% offline purchases from consumers who received ads and offers through emails.  A meager 10% claimed of never getting influenced through online experience for offline purchasing from a store.


As much as 84% of consumers, en’route to a shopping stores claim digital using for their trips while those consumers who have digital devices with them on such visits are like to be converted 40% higher than those sitting in their homes next to their computer screen for shopping.  It also showed that 22% of customers who took the liberty of viewing products online are more likely to purchase larger quantities during in-store shopping than online shopping. And last but not the least, 75% of consumers claimed that social media tipped them off about certain products they bought from stores which they wouldn’t have if they were introduced in some other way.