The modern shopping experience is continuously evolving. Today’s consumers can get groceries delivered to their doorsteps, discover new products through their social media feeds, and use voice assistants to make purchases. In this dynamic environment, retailers are constantly seeking scalable ways to make shopping experiences more convenient and delightful for customers.
To better understand what consumers want from shopping experiences, Bazaarvoice surveyed 2,000 consumers, more than 400 brands and retailers, and studied billions of shopping data points across the web. Here’s what we found:
Consumer-Generated Content is Essential
With unlimited and immediate access to information about brands and products, shoppers will rarely consider a product or make a purchase without consulting consumer-generated content (CGC) first. Fifty-six percent of consumers said that product ratings and reviews, Q&A, and social photos from other people are important, and half of shoppers engage with CGC before making a purchase. Furthermore, when CGC is available on product pages, shoppers are more likely to convert and spend more. Brands and retailers that had CGC readily available saw, on average, a 106 percent lift in conversion and 119 percent lift in revenue per visitor (RPV). Retailers should regularly collect a high volume of CGC across as many SKUs as possible to ensure fresh, helpful reviews are available to shoppers at all times.
Mobile Shopping Has Reached a Tipping Point
With consumers growing increasingly attached to their smartphones, there’s no question that mobile shopping activity continues to climb. In 2017, 50 percent of product page views occurred on mobile devices, which outpaced desktop activity. As more browsing and buying migrates to mobile, optimizing the mobile shopping experience should be a top priority for every retailer. In fact, 68 percent of shoppers said it's important for retailers to have easy-to-use mobile experiences, and 53 percent of shoppers will abandon a mobile site if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
Visual Content Bridges Social and Shopping
With more than 2.5 billion social media users worldwide, the medium has emerged as a third shopping channel. Consumers are frequently using visual social platforms like Instagram and Pinterest to seek inspiration and discover new products. In fact, 45 percent of shoppers say they like or follow brands on social media, and 57 percent say they have purchased a product they saw or learned about on social media. Incorporating visual content on e-commerce pages not only creates an engaging shopping experience, but it accelerates sales and spend. Among shoppers who engaged with visual CGC, brands and retailers experienced an average 111 percent conversion lift and 180 percent RPV lift.
Connect With Customers Through Q&A
Shoppers not only read ratings and reviews when making purchase decisions, they're also asking questions about products and expecting brands, retailers and other consumers to respond promptly. Using Q&A is an incredibly effective way for brands and retailers to connect with shoppers and give them the confidence to purchase. Half of shoppers use Q&A to decide between two products, which shows that responding to customer questions can make the difference between a shopper choosing your product or a competitor’s.
At the end of the day, what shoppers really want are seamless, convenient experiences with helpful information readily available. For retailers, having a variety of CGC available can go a long way. It’s clear that conversion and RPV increases when shoppers interact with CGC, so make it easy for them to find and access — then watch your sales climb. Visit the Shopper Experience Index to learn more about the modern state of shopping.
Sara Spivey is the chief marketing officer at Bazaarvoice, a provider of consumer-generated content (CGC), advertising and personalization solutions.