A recent study by ibi research / University Regensburg on multichannel distribution highlights the importance of the internet for offline marchants. The survey among tendentially online affine private individuals (n=556) shows that more than 80% of respondents inform themselves on the internet before purchasing a product.
The study confirms that search engines are still the most relevant tools for online research. Further, the high quota of direct hits on online shop domains is particularly interesting. This could be mostly explained by the increased use of TV advertising. Since Zalando started to generate enormous reach through the use of TV-spots back in 2010, this approach seems to be desirable for many other online retailers, and naturally drives up the number of direct hits. To what extent those investments undergo a solid rationality evaluation usually remains undisclosed.
There are multiple reasons why a major fraction of users doesn’t directly buy online. The by far dominating one is the desire to examine and test the product first-hand before transaction. At the same time, the decision between online and offline purchase seldomly depends on price and more often on product category. 55% of respondents stated, they decided to not buy over the internet because of the products category. Merely 8% justified this decision on the grounds of price.
Considering different product categories, it shows that as expected, the importance of price is destinctly higher for technically precise specified products (like TV sets) compared to other categories.
The outlined circumstances illustrate the relevance of tying online and offline marketing activities. For this purpose quantification of the so called ROPO- (Research-Online-Purchase-Offline) needs to be ensured. For measurement the use of personalized rebate codes, which have to be printed out by the user and redeemed in the point of sale are particularly suitable. In the course of code generation it could further be considered, which source landed the user on your online presence. This notably increases mesureability of the efficiency of different online marketing channels. Furthermore the connection of the inventory control system to the online tracking program could factor in returns at points of sale. Hence the conversions could be adjusted for returns and cancellations and these insights could be accounted for in modulation of marketing measures.