Insights from 11 million consumer conversations

by · March 29, 20124 comments

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Tara DeMarco, who works as the Social Specialist at Bazaarvoice

In a few clicks, today’s social consumer can wield more influence, over more people, and in more ways than past consumers could ever have hoped for. The collective influence of billions of consumers interacting with people and things online leaves behind a trail of archivable, analyzable social data.

In our latest Conversation Index, Bazaarvoice analyzed over 11 million pieces of this social data to understand the people behind it. Here are some of the insights we uncovered, with tips for capitalizing on them.

Offline shoppers are just as social online

Shoppers who buy in brick-and-mortar stores are just as likely as online shoppers to give online feedback – customer content is split evenly between the two groups. Most businesses, however, target only their online shoppers for feedback. Only 45% of in-store buyers receive an email asking them to review their purchases, versus 80% of online shoppers.

If you’re only asking for feedback from online shoppers, you’re missing a massive opportunity for more engagement and more valuable social data. Bring your in-store shoppers into your community by inviting them share their opinions online – through in-store signage, calls-to-action on receipts, catalogues, bag inserts, etc. Train store staff to let customers know how their feedback helps others shop. And ask for shoppers’ email addresses at the point of sale to follow up with a post-purchase email.

In-store shoppers are less satisfied with products

Across the board, in-store shoppers leave lower product ratings. This lower satisfaction is especially visible in consumers over 55, and in men. It seems that poor in-store experiences leave shoppers less satisfied with their purchases. Or perhaps online shoppers make better-informed decisions. With access to research, opinions from product owners, and more product options, online shoppers may be better equipped to find the right products for their needs.

Improve your in-store experience and help shoppers buy smarter by bringing the best of your website into your stores. Include product ratings on shelf tags, and direct shoppers to your mobile app for more information. Make it easy for them to research products on smartphones or in-store kiosks using barcode scanners. And offer free in-store Wi-Fi to aid their research.

Advances in augmented reality (AR) and near-field communication will continue making mobile a more integral part of in-store shopping. Imagine an AR overlay of star ratings and and related tweets, seen just by holding a smartphone up to store shelves. This isn’t far off.

Mobile and tablet users burn the midnight oil

After work hours, mobile visits to brand sites nearly match non-mobile visits. And iPads rule late-night shopping: from midnight to 5am, more site visitors are using iPads than any other device, including personal computers. Still, many businesses don’t have reps available at night. You’d never open a physical store without knowledgeable staff ready to help shoppers – your website shouldn’t be any different.

Measure your traffic by time of day, and see when conversions and conversations occur most often. Make customer support, chat, or other services available during these times. As appropriate, respond to tweets, Facebook posts, and shopper questions as soon as possible – even when they’re asked in the middle of the night. And be sure to optimize your site for mobile and tablet traffic – especially iPad users – or you could miss out on half of your after-hour shopping activity.

There’s much more in The Conversation Index, and Jeremiah Owyang and Chris Silva will join us to talk about these and other findings in a webinar on April 3rd. Until then, enjoy the infographic below.

Tara DeMarco is a writer, futurist, and social enthusiast. She writes about customer centricity and social strategy for the Bazaarvoice blog, an AdAge Power 150 blog. Follow her on Twitter at @txTDM.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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  • Ozio Media

     Statistics like these show just how much shopping habits have changed because of the boom in online retail. Online customers are already pretty sure that the products they are looking for, with the exact specification they want, will be able to be found online. Brick and mortar customers aren’t able to enter a store with the same confidence, and so they are likely to have a less satisfying experience. An interesting statistic would be to examine how many sites online shoppers visit before making a purchase as compared to how many stores walk-in customers compare before spending their money.

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