It seems like any item you could ever consider buying, from televisions to treadmills and everything in between, has as many online reviews as you could ever want to read. These days reviews run from expert blog posts, to magazine articles to YouTube videos and paid subscription services.

ROBO Economy

Well, this new article from bazaarvoice (infographic used with permission) takes an interesting look at what they’re dubbing the “ROBO Economy”, where ROBO stands for “research online, buy offline”.

It’s interesting because I had just been speaking to a friend about the concept of showcasing – the act of researching a product in the store to test (think watching a new tv you might be interested in), or physically touching or trying on an item before purchasing it online. The study looks at things a little differently, and their findings are quite interesting, and a little unexpected.

Looking at the ROBO multipliers across multiple product categories, it’s very surprising to see that lower priced categories such as toys and games and video games, as well as big ticket items such as appliances and TVs had such significant multipliers, that is the dollars spent offline after researching online. These finding seem to run contrary to many articles I’ve read, such as this one from Business Insider on the American retail apocalypse. It appears, from the study below, that we’ve shifted yet again to a new reality where both online and offline play a significant role in our retail environment, and retailers really need to start thinking in about omni-channel retail vs. online or offline.

I’d love to know what you think about this. Do you find the bazaarvoice findings surprising? How are you approaching online vs. offline retail sales?

How online reviews influence offline sales