STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 24
"It brings more of an authority and validation
than you'd get from the brand itself," says
Jim Davidson, TurnTo's director of research.
"Consumers are a lot more empowered now. Brand
loyalty has been a big struggle for retailers. There's
a lot more power and control and information in
the pocket of the consumer."
Hearing directly from other consumers increases
confidence in purchase decisions, according to
73 percent of those surveyed. That leads directly to a
more authentic shopping experience (63 percent) and
more engagement with the brand (61 percent).
But it's not a one-way street: 81 percent of shoppers
say they would pay more for a product that has usergenerated content - and the same number say they
are willing to experience slower shipping times for
products that feature user-generated content.
Drilling down more specifically into user-generated
content, new research from ecommerce analytics
firm Profitero and consumer engagement firm
PowerReviews showcases just how directly ratings
and reviews tie to purchases - at least on Amazon.
The research, "Assessing the Impact of Ratings
and Reviews on Ecommerce Performance," showed
that products with a star rating of 4.0-4.5 account
for 56 percent of Amazon's sales. It also showed
that going from no reviews to one or more brought
traffic, sales and conversion lifts for all products on
average - even more for more popular products.
But getting customers to return to the site to offer
a review or answer a question isn't always easy. The
TurnTo research shows that about 72 percent of
shoppers submit content, with ratings and reviews
having the highest use. Answering questions,
posting on social media or sharing videos or photos
is used by fewer than three in 10.
Davidson says that offers significant potential
heading into the holiday shopping season. "A lot
STORES September 2017
of folks think of ratings and reviews as belonging
only on the product page. You need to expand
that," he says. "It may be in a scroll through
products in search results. It may need to be in the
abandoned cart messages. A lot of folks are relying
on shipping and promotions to get customers
who have abandoned carts. But including the user
content is powerful."
It could solve the problem of getting more users
to generate content, he believes. "Increasing
visibility will increase participation. The more you
have, the more you get."
One in three of those who don't submit content
say there is no incentive for them to do so; almost
as high was the time it took to do so. Davidson
says there are simple fixes to those hurdles.
"It doesn't have to be a financial discount," he
says. "If you have a loyalty program, you can add
points or status. With time, include review forms
in follow-up emails so that people don't have to
go back to the site. Integrate a function into the
email that allows a simple tap to directly open
your phone's camera. Anything that makes
Whether user reviews, shipping or shopping, ease
is ultimately what's needed for today's ecommerce
retailer. "If you're not Amazon or Walmart or
Kohl's, looking at the year-over-year comparisons
and seeing the growth of the big three would be
daunting," Goodfellow says.
"Ecommerce is going to continue to be a huge
challenge for other retailers, but it also presents
a wealth of opportunities. It's all about knowing
who your customers are and how you can create a
seamless experience for them."
Sandy Smith grew up working in her family's grocery store,
where the only handheld was a pricemarker with labels.