ROPO – Research Online Purchase Offline

ROPO – (Research Online Purchase Offline) is key to the vast majority of brands with a high street presence.

To fully justify and measure the effectiveness of online spend you clearly need to understand the behaviour on purchasing decisions that occur offline as a result of your online activity.

In an ideal world I would like to say X people who researched online went to buy offline and their average basket value was £y.

What I’m unfortunately finding though is that applying the above methodology to ROPO is easier said than done.

As a result I have gone on a mission to help resolve this and would like to give you the benefit of my experience.

Note: This post requires you to click around many other sites and read lots of stuff to gain a detailed understanding on ROPO. There is no magic ROPO knowledge bullet I’m afraid.


Develop relationships with Google and ask your Industry Head for ROPO research.

Then there’s good old searching in the featured Insights section, the research library and some planning and research tools as well on the site that are all good gravy.

With the think with google site you will also find some reasonable white papers and case studies as well. E.g. a white paper on ‘influencing offline, the new digital frontier’ and a Listerine case study

I have pdf comprehensive Google case studies for:

Hagebau (German retail store and the test was for lawn mowers and bicycles), Ikea (Italy), PC City (essentially PC World in Spain), Vodafone (UK), Auchan (huge Multinational retailer, mainly in South and East Europe), Carrefour (French PC sales), FNAC (huge international entertainment retail chain and this study is for Spain), Goertz (German shoe retailer) and a nice ROPO Germany study

… and there are others on the site by using tagged search here and an old skool search here.

Your agencies

Ask your partner agencies as they should have case studies that whilst not available for public consumption are available to you as a client

Global Market Research Agencies

I have found to be good with ROPO case studies for companies such as H&M and Vodafone.

The Consumer Barometer (an IAB project in tandem with Google and TNS that uses a minimum of 2,500 questionnaire responses) is also pretty good. As an example one stat is that 14% of people in the UK within the retail category did online research only before purchasing offline, a further 16% researched retail on and offline before purchasing offline. Visit the interactive homepage or dive right in and start producing tailored graphs.

You could also try the Future foundation and Mintel (though whilst these companies are very helpful/ friendly I have not found their data to be of much use in regards to ROPO)

Niche research

Look around and spend time researching your niche interest area.

As an example I wanted to find out more about dual screening and the research mentioned in that article was ‘simply’ obtained by several hours of trawling the internet by using Google Advanced Search Queries.

Have a look at the following key documents I have found on ROPO:
Yahoo ROBO pdf (old but good)
Staples Citizen Card Reader (Portugese ROPO success case study)
Hokey Pokey Video case study (long yet discusses how Hokey Pokey, a premium ice cream seller, developed a field test that tied their social media campaign to offline growth, sales and brand awareness)
Proportional Hazard Model – Essentially this is the model you could follow to accurately measure ROPO (ascertain the baseline, integrate a variable for offline effects, then another for online effects et voilà you have the start of a proportional hazard model that should show offline uplift as a result of online research). The other benefit of using a proportional hazard model is that it makes you sound more intelligent than you actually are as who isn’t impressed by complex formula?!


Use trackable codes and unique phone numbers (AdInsight and Media Hawk are two good phone tracking providers) to track phone bleed and then use the good old staples of printable vouchers and newer unique mobile codes e.g. O2 moments do this well and integrate with your EPOS system for an understanding on redemption.

Ask your customers

You could embark on simple online surveys or tailored offline studies to find out from the horses mouth i.e. your customers.

Whilst embarking on an offline tailored study is expensive (depending on its reach and validity it is likely to cost £10,000’s) old skool clipboard Q&A studies are a great way of inferring the impact Digital Marketing has had on that individuals buying decision.

19th September Update: Nice post on the Carat blog about 4G’s impact on ROPO