ROBO stands for Research Online, Buy Offline and it can be impacting your book sales. BazaarVoice has released their study of buying habits, and here are some takeaways:


According to Rutgers University, 78% of study participants say they still purchase in brick-and-mortar stores (“offline”). This means authors should not depend entirely on online sales, but should form relationships with local bookstores to increase their chances of sales.

On Smartphone

62% of shoppers surveyed say they use their mobile phone in-store to look up reviews before they buy. That rises to 82% for smartphone shoppers. 45% of shoppers say they read reviews before going to a store to purchase an item. This means you should have reviews on amazon, Goodreads and other review sites. Check out Goodreads widgets so reviews will automatically appear on your website, and make sure your Author pages on amazon and Goodreads are kept up to date.


The price of the item has little to do with ROBO. According to Think With Google, low-consideration items (such as umbrellas) have risen faster in search engine frequency than big-ticket items.


50% of all e-commerce traffic now runs on mobile devices. That means if your website is not mobile friendly, you are losing potential sales. Pages need to be fast-loading and all content (including videos) need to be compatible with mobile devices. Pages should also automatically adjust to the size of the screen to eliminate the need for scrolling horizontally. Menus should self-adjust as well.

Looking through a lens

51% of shoppers purchase one product over another because of better website/consumer content and information. This means your author website needs to be the best it can be. You should have a variety of formats for the potential reader, including videos (book trailers and/or author chats), pictures (not only a great book cover but also photographs of places that inspired your book’s backdrops), the best book blurb you can write and inside information, such as author interviews, excerpts and posts about your writing. Vlogs (video blogs) are on the rise.


The ROBO Economy was compiled using 4.59 million data points from 32 global retailers in nine countries (Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States). Their study includes 72 top-level product categories, 887 sub-product categories and 966 brand-retail combinations. Read the entire report here.


p.m.terrell is the internationally acclaimed, award-winning author of more than 21 books in several genres. Her first book was published in 1984 and she became a full-time writer in 2002. She has mentored authors for more than 15 years and is the co-founder of The Book ‘Em Foundation and the founder of the Book ‘Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair. For more information, visit


All photographs in this article are from FreeImages.