Shoppers online love user generated content (UGC) and now increasingly want to see that and other tropes of online shopping in-store.
According to Bazaarvoice’s newest study, The State of Retail Report, which surveyed 8,000 consumers from the US, UK, France, Germany, Australia and Canada, as well as more than 500 decision makers who work in retail from the same countries, shoppers said that what they really want to see are virtual displays showing other customers’ reviews, photos and videos (32%), QR codes that can be scanned to read reviews (35%), and availability of live/up-to-date star ratings in-store based on customer feedback (30%) were three of the most popular answers.
Around a third of brands and retailers said those were the types of technologies they plan to integrate into the in-store experience. Additionally, 60% of global consumers want to see UGC on brand and retail websites and social channels, while a third want them displayed virtually in-store.
Shoppers say their peers are the best influencers, with UGC-displaying technology makes sense, as British consumers said that written reviews (49%) and photo or video content from fellow consumers (29%) are the two types of content they find most influential when used by brands or retailers.
And sellers agree: brand and retailer decision makers in the UK also ranked reviews (53%) and customer photo and video content (37%) as the most influential elements of their sales and advertising efforts. Both consumers (12%) and brands and retailers (19%) ranked celebrity endorsements as the least influential.
“Consumers have shifted their attention to the ease and convenience of online, putting increasing pressure on brands and retailers to create the most innovative shopping experiences,” says Ed Hill, SVP EMEA at Bazaarvoice. “Consumers are now used to discovering, purchasing, and advocating for products all within the e-commerce experience. To be enticed in-store, consumers need to have the same access to peer-to-peer content that e-commerce has rightly made them accustomed to, creating an in-store experience that matches the one they already enjoy online.”
“Expectations are high and user-generated content has become as integral to the business success of brands and retailers just as much as a website or physical storefront,” Hill concludes.
“At Unilever, ‘content that converts’ is a critical part of our approach,” says Rahul Welde, EVP Digital Transformation and Digital Business at Unilever. “The voices of shoppers come out loud and clear in this Bazaarvoice research. They value and demand peer-to-peer insights along their shopping experience, online or in-store. The research provides substantive validation in the value of user-generated content for retailers and brands alike and serves as a powerful blueprint for actions.”