The ROPO effect is a threat to eCommerce. At least that’s how it’s usually presented. Online merchants do the legwork, while a brick and mortar store bags the sale. But what if we told you you can use it to your advantage? Turn research into revenue by leveraging this buyer behavior. 
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First thing’s first: what do we mean by the ROPO effect? It’s a pretty simple concept. A customer does their research online before buying a product in-store. 

It’s not a new behavior. In fact, it's been around for years. But advancements in eCommerce mean shoppers have more information at their fingertips now. And they’re using it to inform their offline decisions. 

Take these stats from a recent survey by Klarna. It found that 83% of consumers at least sometimes research online before going into a store. Of these, 24% do this all the time. When conducting our state of reviews report, we found that 51% of UK consumers admit to checking online reviews while inside a retail store.

As an eCommerce merchant, this can hurt your bottom line. Shoppers might click on the ads you pay for and use your site for research, only to spend their money elsewhere. But it can also be an opportunity.

If your on-site experience is persuasive enough, you can convert customers who never intended to buy.

But before we look at how to turn ROPO traffic into sales, we need to understand the ‘why’ behind it all.  

Research Online, Purchase Offline: Why Do Customers Do It?

There’s two stages to the ROPO effect. The research stage, and the purchase stage. 

In the research stage, consumers are seeking information. Online reviews are a trusted source here because they give shoppers insight into the real-life experiences of others. 

They help them judge the quality, reliability, and suitability of a product. And because it's all online, it's incredibly convenient.

As part of their online research, shoppers might also:

  • Read up on product features and benefits.
  • Compare prices across retailers.
  • Explore user-generated content (UGC) like photos and videos.
  • Search for promotional deals or discounts.
  • Access content from product experts or influencers.

All this helps them make an informed decision. But online research has its limitations.

For a start, the customer isn’t able to interact with a product. They can’t pick it up, touch it, or try it out. This is a key driver behind the second part of ROPO behavior.

In the purchasing stage, shoppers opt to buy in-store so they can experience the product firsthand. 

Other drivers include:

Instant gratification. Buying in-store gives the customer immediate access to the product.

One-to-one advice. They may want personalized guidance from sales reps, particularly on high-value items.

Shipping concerns. Delivery charges, wait times and potential damage in transit may prompt them to buy in-store. 

Trust issues. While it’s convenient, online shopping poses risks like fraud and identity theft.  

All these issues contribute to online research, offline purchase behavior. They’re also why some products are more prone to the ROPO effect than others.

You might want to pay particular attention to this consumer trend if you specialize in:

  • Fashion and footwear
  • Consumer electronics
  • Beauty products
  • Furniture and home decor

How to Use the ROPO Effect to Attract and Convert More Online Customers

So how do you turn this into more sales for your online store? Again, we need to look at the two stages of ROPO - the research and the purchase. 

First you need to attract customers at the research stage. This is how you’ll drive ROPO traffic to your store. Then you’ll need to address all the pain points that could see them take their purchase offline.

Get Yourself a Google Seller Rating

According to its own data, 45% of consumers use Google to research a product they plan to buy in-store. So if you show trust signals at this stage of the journey, you’re off to a good start.

This is where a Google Seller Rating comes in. This is an aggregate score for your business, based on reviews pulled from trusted sources. 

With a good Seller Rating, you’ll rank higher in search results. You’ll also have stars displayed in text ads. This builds trust, and has great knock-on effects for your ad performance:

  • Increased click-through rates (CTR)
  • Higher quality score
  • Lower cost per click (CPC)

In a nutshell, you’ll get more traffic at a lower cost and a big tick in the box for the first stage of ROPO. As a trusted seller, you’ll be a go-to source for product research. 

To get a Google Seller Rating, you'll need to collect company reviews through a licensed partner like You’ll also need to meet the minimum requirement of 100 reviews in a 12-month period. 

Check out how Kick Push achieved a Google Seller Rating in just one day with our Review Booster tool.

Add Attributes to Product Reviews

We already know reviews play a key role in the research stage of ROPO. Shoppers use them to learn about product features, quality and value for money.

So if you’re not collecting product reviews, you’re not going to engage ROPO traffic. 

But here’s the thing. If you want to turn research into sales, your review content needs to work harder. It needs to address common pain points - like a lack of tangibility. 

You can use Review Attributes for this. These add context to a review - like a customer's height and body type for example. They can also show ratings for product specifics like comfort or fit.

It’s all about filling in the gaps in the online shopping experience. Customers can better gauge how a product suits their needs, without having physical access to it. 

Underwear brand Nudea gives a great example of this in practice. It uses attributes to help shoppers choose the right size and style bra for their body shape.

Create Excitement with Visual UGC

For your ROPO strategy to work, you need to do more than educate. You need to create a sense of excitement. This will push shoppers beyond their research and motivate them to buy. 

One effective way to do this is through visual user-generated content (UGC). 

Customer photos and videos are more authentic than branded content. They show products for what they really are and inspire others in the process. Crucially for ROPO, they bring products to life in a similar way as the in-store experience.

This eliminates one of the biggest pain points of buying online. 

When you publish UGC galleries on product pages, you’ll see more conversions from your ROPO traffic. 

Replicate the In-Store Experience

A major benefit of buying in-store is the in-person interaction. Shoppers can ask questions or get personalized recommendations from staff.

While you can’t physically replicate this, you can offer the digital equivalent.

First, make live chat available for real-time support. You should also make sure support agents have excellent product knowledge, so they can answer any and all questions that come their way.

Because the more information a customer can get on your site, the less likely they are to take their purchase elsewhere.

Second, use technology for personalization. With a product recommendation tool like Boost, you can create unique buyer journeys tailored to their online shopping preferences. Customers feel understood, with suggestions based on their browsing history.  

It’s like having a personal shopping assistant right there with them. And it keeps them engaged in the online purchase process. 

Expand into Social Commerce

Social commerce is booming, expected to reach a value of $1.2 trillion by 2025. Not only is it a growing trend, but it’s also one of the best ways to combat the ROPO effect.

Why? First, it’s another great source of ROPO traffic, with 75% of internet users turning to social media for product research. That gives you access to a huge pool of potential customers.

Second, it’s immersive. It enables shoppers to explore products in a dynamic and visual way, similar to browsing in a physical store. 

With this level of engagement, they’re more likely to progress beyond their research. Particularly when they can buy a product from right within their favorite social platform. 

If you can incorporate product reviews into your listings, even better. This keeps the whole research phase contained to a single platform. It also gives shoppers those important trust signals that convince them to hit the ‘buy’ button.

Try out our new TikTok integration to combine social proof with social commerce.  

Leverage the ROPO Effect with

ROPO is all about research. And authentic reviews are one of the first places customers turn. 

With detailed and engaging review content on your site, you’ll attract more ROPO traffic. You’ll also convert more customers who intended to purchase offline. allows you to collect company reviews, product reviews, and UGC at scale. Add a Google Seller Rating to your name, and use our suite of innovative features to drive sales through social proof. 

Try us out with a 14 day free trial, or book a live demo for a guided tour of our product. 

ROPO Effect FAQs:

What is the ROPO effect?

ROPO stands for Research Online, Purchase Offline. It’s when consumers use things like online reviews and social media content to research a product before buying in-store. 

As an eCommerce merchant, you can turn this to your advantage.

Use reviews to attract browsers to your store, then convert them with an engaging shopping experience. 

Which product categories are most affected by ROPO?

Fashion and beauty products are particularly susceptible to ROPO because consumers like to ‘try before they buy’.

High-value items like consumer electronics and furniture are also prone to the ROPO effect.

How do I optimize for ROPO?

Reviews have a key role to play in online research. So publish company and product reviews to attract ROPO traffic. 

Then optimize product pages to encourage conversions. Offer live chat support, personalized experiences, and persuasive UGC.

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