One of the perks I have enjoyed in working at Bazaarvoice is the ability to satiate my “inner data geek” with the myriad consumer insights contained across millions of pieces of consumer-generated content (CGC).  From metrics that range from shopper interaction rates with CGC to resulting lifts in conversion rates and average order values, it continues to fascinate me how shopper behavior varies across industry and product segments.

While the Bazaarvoice consulting teams often work closely with clients directly responsible for digital marketing or eCommerce, we also engage with general marketing, brand, and retail channel experts within our client base.  The impact of CGC on increasing online sales is a widely understood concept, but the ability to quantify the impact of online CGC to offline (i.e. In-store) sales has largely remained elusive, or directional at best.  There are very few published studies that quantify this “research online, buy offline” (ROBO) phenomenon – also know as “research online, purchase offline” (ROPO) – and the handful of Bazaarvoice clients that have commissioned third-party research firms to quantify this ROBO impact have confided that it is a costly endeavor due to the sample sizes required.

Because Bazaarvoice has direct access to millions of consumers on a daily basis, we have begun to leverage our partnerships with key retailers to jointly measure the impact that online CGC has on in-store sales.  It’s been several months since we kicked off this initiative with over twenty of the world’s leading retailers in Europe, Asia, and North America participating in this study, and we have already collected over 2.2 million data points across hundreds of product categories.  In a study that eclipses any prior body of research that I am aware of by several orders of magnitude, we can not only provide category-level insights, but also sub-category and even brand-level insights for ROBO impact.  This data comes from consumer purchase behavior at retail, so that brands and retailers can be confident that the ROBO impact we calculate is not a mere academic exercise, but sourced directly from the retail channel where, for many of our clients, the significant majority of sales occur.

From this study, we have created a multiplier to quantify the dollar impact on offline sales as a result of CGC. Specifically, ROBO identifies the amount of in-store revenue influenced by reviews for every $1 of online revenue influenced by them. Take a look at these products that are researched online before being purchased offline:

infographicROBO

Having this level of insight about your company allows you to quantify the overall impact of your digital strategy and to claim incremental offline sales as a result of CGC. How do you manage tracking the impact of your omnichannel strategy?

To learn more about the results of the ROBO study and the impact that today’s ROBO shopper can have on your business, visit: http://bazaarvoice.com/robo.