Research Online Buy Offline, has been a phenomenon almost since the web started to be used for commercial purposes. Initially, it happened because people found useful information about products on websites but were reluctant to buy online. Now, many people are more comfortable buying online, but the amount and quality of information about the products they might be interested in has grown exponentially. Now online research has become routine for most consumers.
The importance of ROBO shopping is something that companies should recognize in their website design. They need to work in features that will encourage the customer to stay and buy or else come back when they do buy, whether it be incentives, necessary local information, etc. For a good article on this aspect of e-commerce, see this article in E-Commerce News.