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Research online, purchase offline

Internet is increasingly present throughout the buying process

  • Key4Communications

Internet is increasingly present in the purchasing process, and not only when buying from an online store. According to Nominalia, 80% of purchases beginning online end up with the consumer buying in a brick-an-mortar outlet.

This is what has been called ROPO: research online, purchase offline, a buying habit increasingly widespread, according to a research by Experian Marketing Services. This means that, as most experts suggest, the consumer is increasingly multichannel, and does not wish to leave aside the information and opinion that he can find on the internet, nor the counselling and the possibility to feel and touch products in traditional stores.

According to this study, 88% of consumers search and compare online before renting a car, and acquiring travels and leisure activities. One must also keep in mind that 44% of Spanish consumers hire these products and services exclusively through the web. The percentage drops to 60% - 80% for telecommunications, software, books, games, electronics, banking, automotive and sports equipment.

How to reach consumers

All except very traditional consumers (22.9% of total) are influenced by recommendations in social networks. Furthermore, the study indicates that for personal products, such as clothing, footwear and sporting goods, the influence of friends is higher, compared to that of unknown buyers.

As for e-mail marketing, 56.3% of respondents said they are subscribed to newsletters with information and offers, while 34.9% count with a loyalty programme that encourages online shopping. 43.1% admit the influence of online advertising when making purchases.

Similarly, the use of smartphones keeps growing, as these devices are increasingly being used to scan QR codes and to get information on products and services: 21.8% of respondents said that they have already bought through their mobile phones while 32.3% have scanned QR codes.

Online sales continue to grow

In spite of falling retail sales in Spain, e-commerce sales increased 19.8% in 2012. 48.4% of consumers bought more than in 2011 and 33.9% maintained their level of online shopping.

This does not mean that there are no complaints: buyers still do not trust the security in the form of payment (40.8%) and complain about shipping costs (77.2%), difficulties to return items purchased (61.8%) and the inability to feel and touch the product as in traditional retailers (66%).

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