Customer engagement - Online vs Offline
According to Accenture approximately 88% of offline buying occurs after online research.
Here we discuss how relevant the ROPO (Research Online Purchase Offline) business model will be in 2017, and how technology can aid seamless customer engagement across all channels.
ROPO is a trend where customers use information easily available online to inform their purchase decision before they even set foot in a bricks-and-mortar store. This type of information is often generated by other customers in the form of reviews and recommendations, through channels like blog posts or review sites.
Consumer Generated Content
Take a look at the infographic from Bazzarvoice, produced earlier this year. The data they reviewed found that certain high-value product groups lend themselves more towards a ROPO behavioural model. Customers are already engaged by the peer generated content highlighting the importance of this touchpoint. We could assume that for these mid-range value items, customers who browse and research online could easily be nudged into purchasing online with relevant and timely communications – but for some the lure of tactile shopping will always be ever present.
Why do shoppers research on-line before purchasing?
The success of consumer generated content can be liked to one of Cialdini’s principles of persuasion – social influence or Social Proofing as it’s often referred to in todays marketing. People like to qualify their purchase through the avenue of like-minded customers, making them more comfortable with making an online purchase. Or it could be that they prefer to price check before purchase, or even save themselves a bit of time going from physical shop to shop.
Absence of Offline?
Casper provides a perfect example of why customer curated content is so important for online sales. As a mattress brand, they have a challenge in that they promote a product that often requires a ‘try before you buy’ approach, but Casper don’t have a physical store presence. This highlights the importance of delivering a content strategy that’s valuable to the customer and in ways offsets the need for a physical store presence. They understand the reluctance some customers may have of buying such an expensive item without first physically trying it out, and have addressed this issue through offering flexible – low risk (to the customer) strategies such as 100 day trails, and free returns. In fact, their CEO has been known to state that even customers who have returned their product have given them 5 star reviews.
It’s not Black and White
Casper breaks the mould when it comes to the ROPO behavioural model. It demonstrates that the world of marketing is not simply divided into online or offline. Evidently, customers don’t browse or shop in a linear way. They prefer to jump to and from channels both on and off-line in a way that is relevant and convenient for them. The result of this is that marketing strategies that are executed in silos offline and online simply don’t measure up to customer expectations. How can this knowledge be leveraged to create a stellar customer engagement strategy that creates a seamless brand experience across channels? We’ve highlighted some recommendations below;
Ace your omni-channel strategy. Keep communication consistent and relevant across all channels and use the data to deliver the right message, at the right time, in the right place on the right channel.
Get clever with offline! We’ve used some interesting offline data capturing method such as iBeacons, to understand offline behaviour and synergise it with what happens online.
Understand your customer. Having a Single Customer View should be a priority. You can then implement personal communication strategies, which are key to customer engagement.
It’s right to question the methods marketers use to predict and influence customer behaviour. With a real-time customer engagement platform like Intilery you can have the luxury of being lead by Individual customer behaviour. Modify your strategy to accept and embrace the way customers shop and you’ll be able to create meaningful interactions when it matters most.