A recent Bulldog article about how Amazon changed the way shoppers seek out product information—and ultimately make purchases online—based on research from ratings and reviews provider PowerReviews, offered readers some valuable insights into the content marketing and customer engagement strategies of ecommerce’s most powerful and influential company. Now, PowerReviews shows you how your brand can be a more significant player by providing critical tips on how retailers can better compete with Amazon.
“The holiday shopping season showed that retail sales are shifting. Online and mobile sales continue to gain market share as consumers move from stores to devices,” said Matt Moog, chief executive officer at PowerReviews, in a news release. “Brands and retailers have the opportunity to become the first source for information on their products. There are a few easy and fundamental steps they can take to compete in ecommerce.”
Based on its findings from its recent research. PowerReviews offers the following seven recommendations to compete with Amazon:
1. Fill your product page with details: Poor product information topped consumer irritations both pre- and post-purchase in PowerReviews’ study. More than 43% of shoppers were irritated by poor product descriptions when researching products. A product not meeting expectations was cited by 21% of shoppers as a top post-purchase irritation, tied with size and fit. Retailers and brands must comprehensively describe their product and service—if selling apparel, for example, improve product descriptions by including fit and size information as part of a review form.
2. Cultivate trust through authentic and transparent reviews: Customers won’t typically be swayed by any one review, positive or negative. Average star ratings allow shoppers to get a sense of the overall customer experience, with nearly two thirds of shoppers citing they are ‘very important’ or ‘important’ aspects of their purchase decisions. Shoppers will go to Amazon if they don’t find enough reviews for the products they are considering on your site.
3. Use reviews and Q&A to improve products and information: Reviews and Q&A give brands and retailers a direct line of feedback with their customers. Allowing customers to ask questions helps to be sure you are meeting their expectations and they are getting exactly what they signed up for, taking some of the risk out of online shopping. Reviews can also alert the brand or retailer to flaws in a product that can be fixed to satisfy consumers.
4. Add consumer-submitted videos and images to product pages: Ask for product images and videos, and display them on the product and category pages: 88% of consumers specifically look for visualssuch as photos or videos submitted by other consumers prior to making a purchase. Also, allow purchasers the opportunity to submit their own images to create content from real customers, which helps to meet customer demands for more information and managing purchase expectations.
5. Welcome negative feedback: Shoppers are suspicious of a squeaky-clean rating and want to be trusted to make their own judgments on others’ bad experiences. Eighty-two percent of customers specifically seek out negative reviews, and are most likely to purchase a product when its average star rating is between 4.2 and 4.5 stars. Accept the negative feedback and take steps to correct it publicly when it makes sense. Use negative reviews to improve product descriptions and to improve poor performing products.
6. Redefine loyalty and reward advocates: Consumers who are passionate about your brand or product are highly valuable—and ease and loyalty top the list of reasons why consumers choose to start shopping on a retailer or brand website, with 48% stating it as the top reason. These loyalists will not only purchase on the site, they will be brand advocates who are willing to answer Q&As and provide detailed product reviews. Amazon’s Vine program identifies loyalists not by spend, but by content generation, offering free samples to members to write reviews. Identify your own advocates through both content generation and by spend. A third of consumers say they want free products as a reward for loyalty, so consider offering samples to generate reviews, photos and images, and identify content from verified buyers or associated with free samples, which shoppers cite as the most important factor in building trust.
7. Leverage physical stores: Many retailers have assets that Amazon is only starting to build—physical stores. Retailers and brands should leverage physical stores not only as a revenue channel, but also as a way to display and drive content. In its Seattle area bookstore, Amazon displays star ratings and review excerpts for books using simple shelf tags. Brands can also include reviews in their mobile app to influence the in-store experience. Retailers can generate reviews from in-store purchases by emailing loyalty program members after a purchase, asking them to contribute reviews, photos and videos.
Source: Business Wire; edited by Richard Carufel