Lots of consumers use marketplaces like bol.com and Amazon not just to buy products, but also as a source of information: they look for details about products, which they then buy from a physical store.
Bol.com as the total market leader
Research from marketing agency Mediaxplain shows that bol.com is by far the most popular marketplace in the Netherlands: 89% of respondents buy products via the platform, compared to 22% of respondents who order products from Amazon. Books, music, films, games and computer items are those items that are most frequently purchased.
However, the marketplaces are not only a sales channel; many users also consult them as a source of information. In this context, researchers refer to the 'ROPO' effect (Research Online, Purchase Offline). This means that consumers find out information online about products that they will then buy at a later date in a physical store. More than half of the Dutch use bol.com in this way, whereas the figure is one in six in relation to Amazon.
The study also shows that a large group of consumers use the platforms exclusively as an information channel. Of those Dutch people who have never bought anything from bol.com or Amazon, 25% and 10% respectively have already used the platform to find out information for an offline purchase.
Because of the way in which marketplaces function as an orientation and information channel, it is "necessary for brands to be able to present themselves on them", concludes the marketing agency. They add that marketplaces should therefore not be considered as a pure sales channel, but as an additional communication channel that can be used to maintain and even strengthen the brand image and perception.
For this study, Mediaxplain interviewed 1000 Dutch people aged 18 and over about their buying and surfing behaviour when using online marketplaces.