The Story behind the shoes - Rise of ROPO

by Maya Narayanankutty December 10, 2020 4 mins read

Recently, my brother bought a shoe from a leading brand. He is someone who does not make impulse purchases, there is almost always a story behind every purchase. When I asked him, he went on and on about how the track and field legend Wilma Rudolph won three golds wearing these shoes in the 1960 Rome Olympics. That these shoes were endorsed by NBA Stars and how hugely popular it is to this day. I understood he does not just buy a commodity, he likes to buy stories. He researches online, checks for prices in major eCommerce sites and then makes the purchase.

ROPO - Defined

Technology enables customers to make informed purchasing decisions. ROPO, Research OnlinePurchase Offline, is the new buzzword. Buyers research for different reasons, to learn about a product, compare brands, its features, prices and seek advice from peers online. Once they have all the information they head to the local store to make the purchase, a phenomenon called Webrooming, the opposite of showrooming. The actual purchase is made at the shop for the touch and feel factor.

ROPO Effect

These days everybody buys products after comparing prices, reading reviews. The Internet has changed the behaviour of buyers. Now, they prefer to get a feel upfront of the product and services they wish to acquire so that the chance of misfit is reduced. More so, in the case of premium purchases, like gadgets and speciality products. Even the very traditional jewellery market has experienced an increase in ROPO customers. This is where eCommerce platforms and responsive mobile interfaces come into the picture.

“The ROPO effect is a hidden multichannel potential for traditional retail outlets. “

ROPO - Benefitting local business.

The ROPO gives a big opportunity for local retailers. A strategized online presence can help local sellers to bring in the ROPO customer business. For example, suppose you are a buyer looking for a specific brand of cosmetics, but are not sure whether it is available locally. You have researched the products online but want to get the feel of the products too before purchasing it. Here local retailers benefit from a well planned eCommerce platform that optimally showcases the products and services to attract the internet-savvy shoppers like you.

ROPO and eCommerce

"Going Digital” is the smartest move you can make as a business owner. There are many benefits to digitising your business.

  • Increased Visibility.
  • Improved multichannel experience for the customer.
  • Upselling and cross selling by understanding the buyer choices.
  • Inbuilt data analytics to decipher and understand buyer choices.
  • Improved customer satisfaction and thereby loyalty.

“Latest eCommerce softwares built on state-of-the-art technologies gives you highly customizable and user friendly solutions for transforming your business.”

The use of AI/ML and AR has vastly changed the eCommerce for both sellers and buyers. Take for example of eyewear, your video is recorded and the best suited eyewear is suggested. This makes online shopping a more responsive experience for the user. This gets automatically converted into business.

Finally after much research and thought, he bought the shoes along with the story. For some people it's the story, for others it's about getting the best of what they want, be it shoes, laptops, cosmetics or jewelry. Buyers are going to research their products online and ROPO is here to stay. It is for smart retailers to digitise their business, step up to adopt, adapt and expand to newer horizons.


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