Brands and businesses are in the process of making a big strategic shift to a more customer-centric approach, but many are stumbling because… well, they’re not exactly sure what steps to take. More social media activity? Less brand-focused messaging? More testimonials and user reviews? Those tactics sound like they could work. But it’s a new frontier, so there aren’t any real templates for success.
But getting more customers involved with your output seems like a no brainer. To that end, new research from user-generated content (UGC) and shopper data solutions firm Bazaarvoice explores the influential role of UGC throughout the shopping journey, the importance of authentic, personal connections with consumers, and what e-commerce strategies brands and retailers are focusing on in 2019 and beyond.
The research reveals that best-in-class brands and retailers who make UGC available to shoppers achieved on average 137-percent conversion lift and 157-percent lift in revenue per visitor. Additional highlights of the study:
The value of reviews extends beyond online sales
Sixty-three percent of Bazaarvoice clients rely on ratings and reviews to boost SEO performance, 53 percent to improve in-store sales, and 52 percent to foster brand loyalty.
From research to purchase, mobile matter
Fifty-seven percent of all page views across the firm’s network came from mobile in 2018, and; when shoppers engage with UGC on mobile, the conversion lift is 136 percent, slightly higher than it is for desktop shoppers.
Seamless social commerce is a priority
Nearly half of clients said integrating social media and online shopping experiences will be a top priority or increased area of focus over the next 12-18 months.
“The sheer volume of shopping activity we see across the Bazaarvoice Network gives us a unique perspective into consumer behavior,” said Bazaarvoice CRO Joe Rohrlich, in a news release. “We publish the Shopper Experience Index to give brands and retailers insight into the impact of ratings and reviews on how shoppers discover, evaluate, and purchase products, and to highlight key trends and areas of opportunity for the broader industry.”
With competition across the retail and e-commerce landscapes heightening, brands and retailers are striving to provide engaging, efficient shopping experiences for consumers. The research found that engaging consumers in conversation, including visual UGC across the shopping journey, and partnering to ensure shoppers have the information they need to make informed purchase decisions are key to driving sales and customer loyalty.
Visual content is essential to online shopping
More than half (59 percent) of brands and retailers said that featuring photos and videos from customers throughout the shopping experience is standard in e-commerce.
User-generated content fuels the shopping journey
Even with the increased presence of chatbots, voice assistants, social media, and other digital innovations, ratings and reviews are fundamental to the shopping experience today.
Shoppers crave interaction before a transaction
Product pages with Q&A experienced a 447-percent higher conversion rate compared to those without, regardless of shopper engagement.
Ratings and reviews syndication is a mutually beneficial partnership between brands and retailers
When brands syndicate reviews to retailers, the median increase in reviews per product is 83 percent greater than those without syndication; similarly, half of Bazaarvoice retailers source 65 percent or more of their reviews from brands.
“The retail landscape has continued to shift over the last year, as modern consumers seek unique shopping experiences, new engagement and purchase channels and an increased level of brand and product transparency and authenticity,” continued Rohrlich. “Brands and retailers that recognize these evolving preferences and deliver informative, interactive experiences online and offline can both retain their existing customers and attract new ones.”
This research is based ondata from over 6,000 websites in the Bazaarvoice Network, a survey of more than 500 brand and retailer clients, and a global survey of more than 2,000 consumers.