Majority of shoppers now research online before shopping offline

Consumer-generated content such as product and service reviews are having a growing influence on the way we shop, according to new research by Bazaarvoice.

Although 78% of shoppers still buy in-store, 62% of in-store shoppers also use their smartphones to check out reviews before committing to make a purchase. Bazaarvoice calls this trend ROBO – Research online, buy offline.

Motivations for ROBO are manifold, but include product choice overload, which makes it harder to decide on the spot. In addition, online reviews offer word of mouth at a much larger scale. Consumer generated content such as photos and videos of products can also help other shoppers decide which products to purchase.

However, the ROBO behaviours do differ slightly by product category. Categories such as games, automotive, wearable tech and health and beauty are sparking higher ROBO behaviours whilst furniture, baby, food, shoes and women’s apparel are demonstrating lower ones.

Unsurprisingly, the number of consumers who read reviews within these high ROBO behaviour categories increased in 2017 from 2016. Overall, the frequency at which online research influences offline purchases increased 39% to 45%.

The data also revealed a 20% year-on-year increase in mobile page across over 5,000 Bazaarvoice brand and retail client websites.

Interestingly, for every dollar spent on art products online, consumers spent $6.07 offline, whilst for games that spending was $5.19.


The report concludes:

Omnichannel is the only channel, and ROBO is the new normal. If you know how reviews are impacting your offline sales, you can better optimize your omnichannel shopping experience.