Shoppers pay attention when others recommend products or services. Which retailers make the most of such consumer interactions?
Knowing who your customers are and what they think is central to retail success yet, to judge by RetailX research, retailers across different sectors don’t uniformly work to encourage interaction as part of Brand Engagement initiatives. Rather, there are differences by sector, and in terms of a gap between the best-performing retailers and their competitors.
Consumers see customer reviews as a largely honest and valuable way of gauging whether a product or service is worthwhile. After all, a single extremely positive or negative review can be taken as an outlier when the aggregated opinion is overwhelmingly in the other direction.
Across the AU250, 60% of retail websites allow shoppers to leave written reviews of products they have purchased. Yet looking at the Top50, that percentage is significantly higher, with 92% enabling that option.
The discrepancy between the positioning within these lists and the percentage of sites enabling reviews is probably not coincidental as offering the facility to leave reviews suggests sophistication.
Product reviews are available on the vast majority of retailers selling sports and outdoor equipment (93%) and home and industrial appliances (92%).
Yet among those selling children’s toys and accessories, that figure slips to 79%. Customer reviews are least widespread among fashion retailers, appearing on 53% of accessories websites, 49% of clothing and just 40% of those selling footwear.
There’s a moment before a customer buys where online retailers have a chance to hook that person, to capture more information about them than just a delivery address, to reach out and ask whether they would like to know more.
Registering before checkout is that opportunity to entice an individual to give up an email address in return for future offers, information or savings. Yet a slight majority (53%) of the AU250 enables shoppers to check out without registering, passing on this chance in favour of a speedier checkout and, presumably, a reduced chance of abandonment.
The majority of fashion retailers don’t require that shoppers register before checking out – specifically clothing (64%), footwear (60%) and accessories (60%). A lower share of retailers selling durable goods will do the same, such as home and industrial appliances (27%), consumer electronics (36%) and sports (36%). It may be these figures in part reflect the way that different sectors have developed over time, and that these percentages will level, as and when an industry consensus develops on the effectiveness of requiring registration before checkout.
With verified Facebook and Instagram accounts, as well as a frequently updated YouTube channel localised to Australia, Target goes above and beyond to engage with its customers.
Elsewhere, members of Supercheap Auto’s loyalty scheme ‘Club Plus’ get store credit should any product they have bought go on sale within the next two weeks. This scheme is promoted on their social media channel, as well as on Facebook.
The Good Guys has active Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, YouTube and Instagram accounts and the majority of the company’s posts emphasise products.
Myer’s Facebook page promotes multiple products within a single post, linking directly to ‘shop now’ pages of each product. Millers’ Facebook page takes the sane approach, although they also operate a ‘Seeming Me Project’ blog, which promotes Millers products along
with lifestyle tips for their target audience.