Product reviews not only increase sales online, but also in physical stores
The performance and turnover of the physical store can no longer be completely distinguished from that of the online store. Ecommerce is rather helping store chains to bring more customers into the stores.
Currently, the customer journey starts online in most cases. This means that more and more retail chains are investing in their online presence to find synergies and increase sales. Both online and in the physical stores. «There’s a connection. It’s not just about increasing conversion online, but about getting customers into the physical stores » says Jonny Hansen, COO at Lipscore. «Companies’ e-commerce departments are incredibly important – for physical trade to be successful. »
The customer journey starts online
Just a few years ago, consumers visited stores to do research before making a purchase. They simply asked the staff for advice on how the product they were interested in worked. And they compared prices between different stores.
Today it’s different. The customers primarily research from their own homes, often sitting on the sofa with their mobile or tablet. Jonny and his wife were doing just that one evening. They sat on the sofa when the children had fallen asleep to find new children’s bikes and helmets for the little ones. «We had lots of questions and visited one of the biggest chain stores for children’s bikes but couldn’t find any reviews. If we had seen 100-200 other parents who had given feedback and were satisfied, we would have gone there straight away » Jonny exclaims. This example illustrates how there’s a clear connection to e-commerce today and how it helps the chains to get customers into the stores.
Strong online presence facilitates customers’ purchase decisions
Customers must have access to the product information they need to make a purchase decision. Therefore, many retail stores invest in their online presence. «A retail chain can have 95-98% of its turnover in a physical store and maybe only 2-5% online. But it’s crucial that the online store provides customers the information needed for them to choose to go to your store, and not somewhere else » says Jonny.
This is where product reviews come in because they contribute to a lot of product information that consumers otherwise would miss out on. Like most other customers, Jonny appreciates recommendations from other users. From people who have used the product and speak from their own experience. «For me as a father, the recommendations from other fathers mean more to me when making a purchase decision. Much more, than if the recommendations only come from the store itself. »
Important to align expectations
All chain stores want to sell goods that are so good that customers keep coming back. If they find all the information they need online and make a purchase they’re satisfied with, they are significantly more likely to come back.
Many retail chains have thousands of products in their product portfolio and often of varying quality. The range can consist of a spectrum of both high-quality products and slightly inferior, cheap goods. «But if you sell bad products, you lose customers because they don’t come back. It’s important to align expectations. Sometimes you buy poor quality products, and that’s totally okay. If they match your expectations » Jonny says.
Therefore, the product information should be updated based on customers’ actual experiences. It pays to be honest about poor quality products to ensure that customers’ expectations match reality. It reduces dissatisfaction, return rates and the risk that customers will shop elsewhere next time.
Updating the product portfolio
According to Jonny, it’s important that the retail chains update their product portfolio based on both sales figures and margins. But it’s equally important to look at what the customers think.
Something the retail chains already have full control over is which products sell well and not so well. They also know the exact profit of the various products. The sales figures and margins will give you a clear view of that.
But something the chains are not fully grasping is what the customers think of their products. «In other words, you could have a product in your portfolio that sells incredibly well and from which you make a lot of money. But the customers might be generally dissatisfied with it. In that case, this is probably a product that you will lose money on in the long run because the customers will choose a competitor next time » Jonny explains.
Omnichannel requires good analytics tools
The retail chains that Lipscore has spoken to state that they have a huge amount of data about their customers. For example, from recurring purchases and customer clubs. But the amount of data is often so large that it can be difficult to analyze and use. «Omnichannel has been around for a long time, but not all retail chains have a system to manage all customer data » Jonny explains. «That’s what Lipscore wants to simplify. » By ensuring a tool that can analyze large amounts of quality data, it becomes easier for the chains to act. And the data should ideally also include both product reviews from customers who shopped online, but also in a physical store. Along with feedback on the level of service from all stores.
Today there are many retail chains that have realized the value of quality data as a tool for analysis and action. «Both Elgiganten and Power think a lot about this. And the Norwegian company Skeidar as well, who is also a Lipscore customer » says Jonny. «Skeidar has even removed some products from their portfolio because of too many dissatisfied customers. An extremely important decision because it’s expensive to win back the customers’ trust. »
Customers dare to shop online, but do they dare to trust the products?
To summarize, we can conclude that retail chains are investing more and more in their online presence. Even chains that sell goods, consumers often choose to shop in a physical store. The customer journey starts at home and it’s important to provide customers with the right information at the right time.
In the past, customers were apprehensive about shopping online. You didn’t know if you would get what you expected, how long it would take or if you would dare to make an online payment. But that’s over now.
Consumers not only dare, but they also want to shop online. «But when it comes to the products, we’re not necessarily there yet» Jonny emphasizes. It’s undeniably becoming increasingly important for consumers to be able to share – and take part in – other customers’ experiences before a purchase. «Customer reviews are worth their weight in gold for managing the business » Jonny concludes.
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