What Retailers Need to Know About How Today’s Shoppers Are Using Reviews
In today’s competitive, increasingly omnichannel marketplace, retail leaders know great customer experiences (CX) are key to revenue growth, customer retention and long-term brand success. Investments in CX and building genuine customer relationships pay off by driving customer loyalty. In fact, Kroger shared that its loyal shoppers spend 10 times more than occasional shoppers.
To see Kroger-level results, retailers must intentionally build brand love. This begins with a deep understanding of the customer and what's driving purchasing decisions. That’s why retailers rely on online reviews and unsolicited customer feedback. This feedback offers opportunities for brands to discover customer sentiment, connect with shoppers, and improve CX based on real-time voice-of-the-customer (VoC) data.
In January 2023, Chatmeter surveyed nearly 1,400 U.S. consumers to examine how they use online reviews and what consumers expect from brands. The survey revealed immense opportunities for retailers to tap into the online chatter to gain invaluable insights that can be used to drive foot traffic, revenue and brand loyalty.
How Today’s Shoppers Use Online Reviews
Consumers heavily rely on reviews for everyday decision making. The survey showed that over 89 percent of respondents use reviews to evaluate quality, and over 67 percent see reviews as important when deciding what to buy.
People leave reviews in a growing number of places, including emerging technologies and platforms. After Amazon.com (77 percent) and Google (62 percent), social media channels are most popular for reviews. Nearly 25 percent of respondents have tweeted feedback about a company. For younger demographics, TikTok is very popular. Over 18 percent of respondents aged 18 to 29 have posted a TikTok review. In the survey, 39 percent of respondents reported that they like the idea of using technology like ChatGPT for review information, and more than 30 percent liked the idea of brand reviews through a metaverse experience.
How Consumers Want Brands to Engage With Feedback
With so much available feedback, retailers have opportunities to build genuine consumer relationships and smarter CX strategies. However, digital feedback shouldn't be one way. Shoppers expect empathetic, authentic, two-way communication.
Customers can be forgiving when brands engage and address mistakes. A full 76 percent of consumers said they would update a negative review if a company satisfied their complaint. Responding to reviews can not only humanize a brand, but also improve online reputation and customer satisfaction.
When responding, brands shouldn't simply use a generic review response. Details matter, and consumers want to feel heard. In the survey, 60 percent of respondents found review responses with comments that specifically addressed their questions helpful.
For large, multilocation, busy brands, that could sound daunting. Thankfully, there are tools and strategies designed to speed up review responses. From customizable templates to bulk reply features, to artificial intelligence-generated responses, teams of any size can quickly level up response processes.
Tapping Into Online Chatter to Drive Brand Loyalty
From the online dialogue, retailers can access actionable insights to drive brand loyalty. However, with so much review-related information, retailers need the right technology and tools to capture and analyze this feedback.
Deep listening CX solutions powered by AI surface the best actionable insights from online chatter. By mining and understanding location-specific to enterprise-wide customer sentiment data, retailers can uncover what consumers want most. Then, brands can replicate what people love and fix pain points.
By tapping into unsolicited feedback, retailers can improve in-store interactions, products, and purchasing experiences; the possibilities are endless. Reviews offer a window into the customer's mind. With the right tools to open that window, brands can appeal to buyers, grow brand love, and build lifelong brand loyalty.
Cynthia Sener, MBA, is president, Go-to-Market, of Chatmeter, the only reputation management and brand intelligence company to combine AI-powered deep listening with real-time CX agility.
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Cynthia Sener, MBA, is president, Go-to-Market, of Chatmeter, the only reputation management and brand intelligence company to combine AI-powered deep listening with real-time CX agility. In 2023, Chatmeter released a new consumer survey report that highlights the impact of online reviews. The report looked at consumer behavior and perceptions across four vertical industries: retail, restaurant, healthcare, and financial services.