Jan 06 2020

ROPO effect: Will advertising brochures be replaced?

In times of advancing digitalisation, online research prior to the purchase of a product is assuming an increasingly important role. The information from the web provides potential customers with an initial overview of the product details, prices and availability. However, especially with larger and more costly purchases, the actual purchase often takes place in the stationary trade following online research. This development in consumer behaviour can also be found in the furniture industry. The key phrase is ROPO effect. 

Multi-channel marketing: what is the ROPO effect? 

The ROPO effect ("Research Online, Purchase Offline") describes the interactions between the marketing and sales channels online and offline, which are involved with a shift of the decision to purchase. While thorough online product research lies at the start of the customer journey and often provides the foundation for the decision to purchase, an ever increasing number of consumers actually conclude the purchase in the stationary trade.

This development can be traced to, among other things, the transformation of user behaviour: the information needs of customers have increased, while confidence in stationary traders has in some cases declined. The decline in customer loyalty contributes to trust being placed not only in specialist personnel, especially for the purchase of products requiring a great deal of consultation, but instead in price comparisons and reviews. which are drawn upon from the Internet for the purchase decision.

Once a preselection has been made, potential customers mostly compare the web presences, prices and reviews of local traders. Personal consultation with specialists on location can eliminate residual purchase dissonances. Physical products like furniture can be looked at, touched and thoroughly tested. This phenomenon of so-called webrooming provides a contrast to showrooming, where potential buyers profit from stationary consultation, but decide in favour of online ordering for reasons of price savings or comfortable delivery.  

Profit from the ROPO effect: link between online and offline 

Changed consumer and purchasing behaviour is confronting traders and marketing decision makers with the challenge of addressing potential customers in the context of the complex customer journey between online and offline and winning them for themselves.

The ROPO effect offers great potential for the stationary furniture trade: through the use of online channels, the Internet-savvy and mobile target group can be addressed and ideally be guided to make a stationary purchase. A strong web presence provides the basis: in addition to an SEO-optimised website, an entry in globally and locally relevant business directories is recommended, because information about opening hours, parking situations and arrival routes can be decisive for consumers.

In order to be found by potential customers in the web and to procure a competitive advantage as a furniture trader, an increase in local visibility is especially relevant: the more complete and well-maintained, for example, the Google My Business entry of the trader is, the more likely it is to turn up for users in their local search.

In addition to the completeness of the data, the maintaining of reviews is, among other things, a decisive factor for the local ranking with Google: companies with more positive reviews will generally be shown first to those searching. They make a decisive contribution to online research prior to the product purchase and can significantly influence the purchase decision.  

Create purchase incentives to buy with the Internet presence 

Classic furniture brochures have long since stopped being the most effective way to introduce one's product portfolio to potential consumers. Advancing digitalisation and increasingly present sustainability aspects lead to furniture companies relying more and more on online marketing measures in place of print products.

In order to profit from the online/offline interaction, furniture traders must pay special attention to the completeness of their website. Important is to provide those searching with the complete product portfolio, as well as information concerning availability of the products and the product dimensions.

In this way, the interested party is already assured a broad overview of the performance spectrum of the trader during online research and the chance of a stationary purchase is increased. The "Click & Collect" concept is also constantly increasing in importance for the retail trade: through online reservations that can be picked up on location, online and offline commerce can be optimally linked with one another.

Also recommended is creating incentives for visiting an outlet via the web presence and emphasising the strengths of the stationary trade. In addition to professional and personal consultation, discount coupons that can be redeemed on location and voucher codes, for example, can provide impulses for visiting the local furniture trader.

The Internet presence of the company can be pushed with appropriate SEO and SEA campaigns with a local orientation and ensure that furniture traders profit over the long term from the ROPO effect. Subpages of the website can be locally optimised and specially oriented to the various locations and their vicinities.

Potential customers are thus made aware in their local search for the closest furniture trader of the corresponding landing page and receive all information necessary to visit the outlet. While SEO measures take some time to push the ranking, Google Ads are immediately visible to potential consumers in their online research.

These can also be locally oriented and are accordingly only presented in certain regions. Local online marketing provides furniture traders with the chance to profit from the ROPO effect and changed consumer behaviour and to effectively address their target groups across channels. 

About Marian Wurm 

Marian Wurm is the founder and managing partner of Löwenstark Online-Marketing GmbH. Online marketing is not only a profession for Marian Wurm and his 150 employees, but rather a vocation. Since its founding in 2001, more than 5,000 customer projects have already been successfully realised by the Internet agency. SEO, SEA, affiliate marketing, e-mail marketing, as well as social media strategies for customers from all segments are in the meantime being developed and supported at 10 locations throughout the entire D-A-CH region by the Löwenstark Online-Marketing GmbH. 

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Portrait of Marian Wurm
Marian Wurm standard.toggle-bookmark Senior Management
Löwenstark Online-Marketing GmbH
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