A change in customer behaviour — Research Online, Purchase Offline



A new trend in purchasing behaviour, whereby a consumer gains the information from the Internet about a product and then purchases the item in a physical store.

We today have more tools than ever before to conduct pre-shopping product research online before heading into a store.

Consumers want to evaluate their purchase by checking the product physically. Actually doing this research is the preserve of big business, but as a way to think about consumer behaviour, it applies to any business.

In 11 of 12 countries, 9 out of 10 people research on the internet will eventually purchase in-store.

88% of global shoppers research virtually before successfully making a purchase on-premise.

In India, the online shoppers’ population has crossed the 105-million-mark this year. And the frequency of purchase was higher for categories like apparels & accessories (54 percent) in comparison to electronics (33 percent). Consumers, mostly those in the urban centres research online and buy offline. According to the BCG report,

Though over 70 percent of the over 105-million-strong online shoppers are influenced by the information they glean from the Net, only16 percent of value i.e. 5% of purchases actually end up buying online.

• Almost half of all automobile consumers in the country now follow the ROPO method.

• Within the shoe category, that are purchased online most often, only 22% will use the internet to buy shoes. The other 78% still go to a store to see the new styles and try them on.



Lack of consumer trust often results in an unrecoverable loss of reputation and revenues. A study by Neilsen Global Online Survey found that the majority of people who look for information but do not shop online due to lack of trust in e-commerce websites due to various reasons.

Payment Related Issues: Indian consumers mention cash on delivery (COD) as the most preferred way to make payments.

Product received Approx 42% of users receive fault and different products.

Terms & Conditions /Return Policies About two-thirds of shoppers check the returns page before making a purchase.


Offline markets Usually, we find a very less price difference among shops in a particular street but sometimes there is a huge difference if compare among shops of a particular city.

Online vs Offline As the online versus offline retailers’ battle rages on, an independent survey in New Delhi has found an average price difference of less than 5% between online and offline prices of smartphones. And in many cases, better deals are to be had offline.

Apparel or electronics retailers tend to have 90% and 80% of price similarity, those markets have shoppers that frequently check online and in-store prices before they buy, even if they decide in the end to make their purchase in-store.


According to Google Forrester Report 2016, 62 percent of buyers were dissatisfied with the online shopping experience and 67 percent also highlighted that the current return process is too rigorous.

Late Delivery More than one-third of customers are frustrated by late deliveries.

Product Identification According to Invesp infographic on online return rates statistics, at least 30% of all products ordered online are returned compared to only 8.89% bought in brick-and-mortar shops. Around 65% of all returns are as a result of mistakes by the retailers.


The omnichannel shopper study RAI shows that a large chunk of Indian consumers still prefer to touch and feel a product before buying despite the fact that e-commerce has made shopping convenient.


When a particular product is ordered by a user there is one constraint of whether it’s delivery option is available in that area or not.

In a report of “A Case Study of Rourkela in Odisha”, only 33% of the time the service of delivery for fancy product is available in areas of Rourkela.So the website for a user in this area is a source of information only.

Technologies that are helping

Consumers are online-savvy now and explore various channels before making their crucial purchase decisions. Mobile capability for eCommerce sites has become a key factor here. The ready access to comprehensive data about products, current price and reviews and consequently is enabled to receive information based on their interest and preferences and full information about the product.

Research online, purchase offline behaviour isn’t bad for business

There’s nothing wrong with mixed pathways shopping behaviour as long as we see this as a new opportunity to grow our market. This involves thinking critically about omnichannel customer experiences and how technology can facilitate conducting online research to offline purchases in your store.

This is the demand of hour to facilitate customer by omnichannel path shopping to make the experience great.

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