Your customers' online product research doesn't end when they enter your store. Here are some ideas to use that to your advantage.
Online reviews are an increasingly critical piece of a buyer's journey, This means retailers should be taking advantage of reviews while customers are physically in their store.
In a Pew Research Center study, about 82 percent of U.S. adults said they read customer ratings or reviews online at least occasionally before they buy an item for the first time, and of those, 40 percent said they read them first always or almost always. While that may not surprise you, many consumers first look online for reviews but then physically go to the store to make the purchase.
According to the 2017 Retail Dive Consumer Survey, two-thirds of the people it surveyed research products online at least sometimes before shopping for them in a physical store, with nearly half of them saying they do this often or always.
However, the reverse is also true: Some consumers will go to a store to get a feel for a product before later buying it online. That means stores must continually find ways to entice consumers both online and off.
Reaching in-store shoppers with reviews
Shoppers don't put their phones away or stop researching your products while wandering your aisles. With that in mind, stores are making it easier for customers to read reviews while they shop. Display reviews within your app so consumers don't have to leave to get the information they seek. After reading some reviews, your buyer can click on (or walk to) the desired item and purchase it.
Naturally, you must include mobile-friendly access to reviews on your website too. Retailers with physical locations may also post reviews on print advertisements or digital displays in the store. Nordstrom has even added touchscreens to the fitting rooms so customers can see Instagram photos and online reviews of the products.
Another way to reach consumers as they wander your aisles is through a beacon. Stores might ping a browsing customer to inform them the items they are viewing are on sale for that day only, or display some reviews of the products customers are considering.
An apt example of app use is Target, which will show you a map of its store and highlight where to find the item you seek. Combined with beacons, Target's app can show products it has in stock that are trending online. Of course, the app will tell you what's on sale when you wander into electronics and will soon re-sort your shopping list as you move around the store. It even allows you to request help through the app so a Target team member can meet you where you are standing.
All of this may sound creepy, but 78 percent of consumers say they are more likely to buy if a retailer is targeting their interests or wants. So, can your store find a way to incorporate online reviews into the online and physical shopping experience?