Nearly a quarter of commerce now occurs online in the United States. Yet, according to a recent research paper by David R. Bell and Wharton doctoral candidate Jae Young Lee, “location, location, location” is as relevant in the world of e-commerce as it is in the physical world. In the paper, “Neighborhood Social Capital and Social Learning for Experience Attributes of Products,” Bell and Lee offer surprising insights about how our offline behavior — including where we live –influences our online behavior.

This research served as a partial basis for Bell’s new book, Location Is (Still) Everything: The Surprising Influence of the Real World on How We Search, Shop, and Sell in the Virtual One. In the book, Bell reveals how our physical world shapes the ways that we use the Internet and explains what online sellers need to know to understand the conditions in which their customers operate.

In the following interview with Knowledge@Wharton, Bell discusses the takeaways from the research paper and poses questions for online sellers to consider: Why do you have customers in some locations and not others? How does the physical world affect what’s happening in the virtual world? How can you inspire your current customers to advocate for your products and services in the real world?

Read the full article on Knowledge@Wharton.