How can physical stores tap user reviews?
According to a PowerReviews, 70 percent of consumers are interested in accessing product ratings and reviews while in-store.
The findings follow other surveys pointing to consumers’ strong faith in online customer reviews, whether in evaluating hotels, restaurants or traditional retail products. Reviews from fellow customers are often trusted more than professional reviews.
At retail, physical signs, product tags, kiosks, digital displays and tablets in dressing rooms have all been recommended as possible paths to provide user-generated content to shoppers, but they haven’t taken off.
Nordstrom made an ambitious attempt to link user reviews to in-store shopping when it began in 2013 promoting its "Top Pinned Items" on its Pinterest website in select stores. However, notifications were tested last year but soon abandoned at a Nordstrom store in the Mall at Short Hills, NJ, we found on a visit. One footwear associate indicated that tags often fell off the items and "got lost," indicating that execution was part of the challenge.
The PowerReviews study based on a survey of more than 1,000 consumers claimed mobile should help. Ninety percent of respondents used mobile devices to help make in-store purchase decisions.
"Technologies like wearables, near-field communication and beacons are creating more ways for retailers to deliver this hyper-relevant and authentic information to shoppers, which will enhance the shopping experience, driving sales and creating passionate brand advocates," said Matt Moog, CEO of PowerReviews, in a statement.
However, many consumers are apparently reluctant to use beacons that could help retailers "deliver context-driven, relevant information straight to a shopper’s phone." Only 21 percent would be open to being targeted by beacons and other micro-location technologies if it helps them make the right purchase decision, saves them money or helps with their overall shopping experience. In the study, PowerReviews said such acceptance is "likely to grow as retailers can prove the value in delivering hyper-relevant information in real time."
A larger challenge is the lack of mobile-friendly websites that make it easy for consumers to access reviews via text, website or app.
In a blog entry, Chris Lubkert, SVP strategy, PowerReviews, said beyond having mobile-friendly websites, reviews should be added to a store’s mobile app, including the ability for shoppers to write reviews. Another suggestion was making review content accessible in "any digital touchpoints you have in-store,"
including kiosks, tablets, or digital displays.
- PowerReviews Releases Study on the Impact of Mobile and Wearable Technology on Consumer Shopping Behavior (press release) – PowerReviews
- Mobile, Wearable Tech and Hyper-Relevance: Transforming Consumer Behavior and Retailer Opportunities (study) – PowerReviews
- Digital Strategies to Drive Traffic and Sales In-Store: 9 Things You Should Know – PowerReviews
- In consumers we trust: Customer reviews boost online shopping – University at Buffalo
- Consumers read and trust online reviews for local businesses – RetailWire
- Case Study: Nordstrom – Integrating Pinterest & the In-Store Experience – Hello Society
- Connecting social media and the store – RetailWire
Are smartphones too limited in their ability to bring user reviews to physical retail? Why haven’t other in-store media gained traction at physical retail as sources of user reviews?