Engage with your shoppers on and offline

Traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are expanding their digital presence, while pure-play retailers are opening physical stores. Think of Aldi, who has invested millions into their ecommerce offering, compared with Amazon opening their first grocery stores last year, after two decades of operating exclusively online.

Retailers are going omnichannel to ensure they remain relevant to consumers’ lifestyles. Thinking in terms of ‘bricks’ versus ‘clicks’ is outdated; ‘bricks-and-clicks’ is the current and future retail reality (Nielsen Connected Commerce).

In other words, you shouldn’t just think of your customer base in terms of offline vs online shoppers. 49% of grocery shoppers use online sources when making their purchase decision (Nielsen Connected Commerce, 2016). These customers are known as ROPO (Research Online, Purchase Offline) or Reverse-ROPO shoppers – or you may have heard the terms ‘webrooming’ vs ‘showrooming’ to describe these two shopping behaviours.

A ROPO shopper is someone who researches a product online before making a purchase in-store. According to Nielsen Connected Commerce data, 29% of UK shoppers browse grocery and health & beauty items online before going in-store.

Many cite the reason for ROPO shopping as needing time to make an informed decision and being able to compare products more easily, but they also want to see the product first-hand before committing to a purchase.

This is particularly true of high-value, high-engagement products – for example, 67% of shoppers who bought nappies in-store did online research and comparisons in the two days leading up to the purchase (MySupermarket).

In fact, four of the top 5 most highly-researched categories are considered high-engagement:

Source: MySupermarket

Consumer surveys also indicate that shoppers browse online supermarkets to get a feel for their product range, and make comparisons that determine which shop they will ultimately visit.
If you apply this logic to someone who’s looking to try a new recipe, is hosting a dinner party or is influenced by a dietary requirement, you can imagine how much time this research will save the shopper; and the important role online content plays in directing in-store footfall.

A Reverse ROPO shopper is – you’ve guessed it – someone who browses products in-store before making their purchase online.

Why do 20% of shoppers take the time to visit a shop, only to purchase it from their sofa later on? This occurs because, while many people still prefer seeing and touching the merchandise they buy, many items are available at lower prices through online vendors. As such, local stores essentially become ‘showrooms’ for online shoppers. This trend has really taken off since it’s become easier to compare prices using designated apps.

So it’s not simply a case of attributing your sales to online vs offline – for 49% of shoppers, online content is part of the purchasing journey. Therefore, making your online product content relevant and engaging is pretty important in driving sales for both channels.

Think about the numerous different motivations your shoppers may have when visiting a product page – can you help everyone find the information they’re looking for, without having to leave your website?

For example, your typical Reverse ROPO shopper, having already browsed your store, has then gone online to add a product to their basket. How can you maximise this opportunity? Perhaps you can recommend a good wine to go with that fish they’re about to buy, or suggest a few recipes to show off its versatility and do a bit of cross-marketing?

You might have a young parent browsing your website, doing a bit of RO before they PO, trying to work out where they’re going to buy nappies for their new addition. How can you show them that you have a product that matches their needs? For more emotive, high engagement items such as these, a branded video probably wouldn’t hurt your conversion rate – and if you were able to host customer reviews on the page, you can let other parents do most of the talking for you.

At the upcoming Online and Digital Summit, Nielsen Brandbank’s own Kim Ludlow, Group Innovations Director, will be speaking about how to leverage your digital brand content to increase online engagement. She’ll discuss how shoppers interact with product landing pages, and how to inspire your customers’ digital shopping experience whether they purchase online or offline.

As silver sponsors of the event, Nielsen Brandbank will also have a stand in Exhibit Space 4 where you will be able to have a chat with some of our Innovation team.