One of the biggest challenges apparel companies face is the large volume of returns. According to a survey from Body Labs, 23% of all clothing gets returned, and 64% of consumers say incorrect fit is the primary reason they return clothing.
Apparel brands and retailers will never be able to completely eliminate returns, but one of the most effective ways for apparel companies to reduce return rates is to make sure shoppers know exactly what to expect from a product. Your product descriptions and professional photos have their part to play, but consumers can get even richer insights from the reviews of previous customers.
Size and Fit Information Helps Customers Find the Best Product Shoppers can turn to the size and fit information in reviews to make sure they’re purchasing the size that will work best for them. For example, if a shopper sees that a pair of shoes runs large, he can confidently order the shoe in a size smaller than he typically wears. The shoes will fit correctly and the retailer will avoid an unnecessary return.
Ask your ratings and reviews provider if they offer an easy way to capture size and fit information from your consumers and display it on your product pages to increase buyer confidence and help consumers make the right purchase decision.
Visual Content Sets Expectations Photos and videos provide shoppers with an accurate picture of what to expect from a purchase so there are fewer surprises when the item arrives in the mail. The professional photos on your site are a great start, but allowing reviewers to submit their own photos adds a level of authenticity and allows future shoppers to see what a product looks like “in real life.” In fact, many shoppers won’t purchase apparel online without these user generated images. PowerReviews research found that 40% of Centennials (age 13-18) won’t purchase a product if there are no photos of people using the product. Armed with this visual information, the shopper can make a well-informed purchase and be less likely to return the product.
If you’re not already, start asking your shoppers to submit photos and videos as part of their reviews. Not only will this allow future shoppers to see what your products look like on various body types, it’ll also give them ideas of different ways to accessorize. For example, a shopper might be looking for a dress for an upcoming special event, and she notices that another consumer posted a photo of herself wearing the dress with a cardigan and a necklace. The shopper then adds all three items to her shopping cart.
The Importance of User-Generated Content for Apparel Businesses
Forrester Research found only 15% of apparel is purchased online. But this number will only grow as more consumers crave convenience and the ability to shop online. Download this report to understand how apparel brands and retailers can leverage reviews to:
Attract more shoppers
Convert browsers to buyers
Reduce return rates
Identify opportunities to improve products and services
It’s no secret that customers turn to ratings and reviews when they’re shopping for just about anything — from books and movies to clothing and electronics. In fact, nearly all consumers consult customer reviews, and 86% say reviews are an essential resource when making a purchase decision.
But reviews aren’t just beneficial to consumers as they search for products that best meet their needs, they’re also good for business. Read on to learn about five ways that ratings and reviews benefit brands and retailers.
Reviews Increase Conversion Today’s information-hungry consumers want to learn everything they can before making a purchase. And if you give shoppers all the information they’re looking for — including the opportunity to hear from previous customers through ratings and reviews — they’re more likely to convert.
Of course, positively impacting conversion for products that have reviews will impact the performance of your entire site. In fact, best in class PowerReviews customers can experience an online sales increase of up to 17% site-wide.
Reviews Reduce Returns If you’re like many brands and retailers, one of your biggest challenges is keeping return rates at bay. This is especially true for apparel brands and retailers, where characteristics like size and fit come into play. In fact, according to a recent survey from Body Labs, 23% of all clothing gets returned, and 64% of shoppers cite “incorrect fit” as the reason for the return.
Fortunately, the information from ratings and reviews helps consumers make better purchase decisions. And when consumers make smart purchase decisions, they’re less likely to return the products they purchase. For example, let’s say a consumer is shopping for a pair of shoes that she loves, but notices several reviews that mention the shoes run a size small. Armed with this information, the shopper confidently adds the shoes to her shopping cart in a size larger than she typically wears. The shoes arrive, they fit perfectly, and the brand avoids an unnecessary return.
Reviews Improve Your Presence on Google Recent PowerReviews research found that 35% of shoppers start their shopping journey on Google or another search engine. That means if you don’t have a strong presence on Google, you’re missing out on more than a third of potential customers.
The good news is, ratings and reviews can play a major role in building a strong presence on search. Ratings and reviews impact Google results in these three ways:
Rich Snippets: The star ratings and key descriptions from reviews appear as part of organic search results.
Product Listing Ads: Product ratings and reviews can be syndicated to Google and appear as part of Product Listing Ads (PLAs).
Seller Ratings: Seller Ratings rate the online seller and are displayed as stars in search results — improving click-through rates for that particular seller.
Reviews Influence Offline Sales Sometimes a consumer will conduct research online, and ultimately make a purchase online, too. However, this isn’t always the case. Consumers often do their product research online (including reading ratings and reviews), then visit a brick and mortar store to make the purchase. In this case, the sale is considered web-influenced.
According to Forrester Research, for every dollar spent online that is influenced by web content, there will be four dollars of offline sales influenced by the same content. That means if you have ratings and reviews online, it can also have a big impact on your offline sales.
Reviews Help Improve Products Reviews written by customers are chock full of insights and information that can help you improve your products and the customer experience, which will, in turn, positively impact your bottom line.
For example, Room & Board, a modern home furnishings retailer, noticed that they had an average star rating of 3.7 for one of their upholstery products. After digging into the reviews, Room & Board noticed that several shoppers had negative feedback about the cushioning in the upholstery. The company shared this information with their merchant, who then changed the cushioning for the product. As a result, the average star rating for the item rose to 4.3 stars. This is good news for Room & Board, since our research with Northwestern University found that products with an average star rating between 4.2 and 4.5 have the highest probability of purchase.
This year’s agenda was impressive — with a roster of impressive speakers including industry analysts as well as brand, retail and eCommerce thought leaders. I especially enjoyed hearing from some of our own customers including VF Corporation, evo, Advance Auto Parts, Nebraska Furniture Mart, The Step2 Company, and more — on a range of key topics including:
Using technology to engage shoppers in-store
The importance of a responsive website
Planning a successful social media strategy
Getting the most ROI from video
For me, the best part of being at IRCE was having the opportunity to catch up with current customers and make new connections. I enjoyed hearing about the successes and challenges of various brands and retailers and how PowerReviews is (or can start) helping them be more successful.
New Product Offerings PowerReviews also released some exciting new product capabilities at IRCE. We launched Review Your Purchases as well as a new Analytics and Insights solution to help brands and retailers generate more content and mine insights from that content.
Review Your Purchases More than 60% of purchases in the PowerReviews network contain more than one item. However, until now, ratings and reviews providers have asked for a review on only one of the items in a multi-item purchase. Review Your Purchases is a streamlined experience that allows consumers to quickly review multiple products from one page, which helps brands and retailers increase collection, product coverage, and coverage rates.
Let’s say a customer buys a pair of jeans, a blouse and a belt in one transaction. After receiving her order, the shopper receives a post purchase email with each of these products listed, so she can easily submit multiple reviews in a single step. In addition, as this consumer continues to buy products from your brand, she’ll be able to write reviews for all of the products she’s ever purchased via a dedicated landing page.
As a result of implementing Review Your Purchases during the product pilot, a major retailer saw some impressive results, including:
Additionally, a large sports retailer experienced:
75% increase in reviews collected year over year
252% increase in review collection rates quarter over quarter
Analytics and Insights In addition to driving conversion, ratings and reviews also provide a wealth of information that brands and retailers can use to not only increase conversion, but also improve products, services, and the customer experience.
Our new Analytics and Insights tool compiles and presents review data in an easy-to-use format. That way, brands and retailers can easily understand how ratings and reviews and Q&A increase conversion and better understand the impact of distributing brand content across across the PowerReviews Open Network. In addition, brands and retailers can use the new Analytics and Insights tool to identify products that can benefit most from additional content.
If you’re a current PowerReviews customer and have questions about Review Your Purchases or the new Analytics and Insights tool, feel free to reach out to your Client Success Director or Community Manager.
Did you attend IRCE 2016? Was was your favorite part of the event?
Meet the Team is a recurring series on the PowerReviews blog, allowing you to get to know the people behind our success.
We recently sat down with Andrew Abeto, a member of our Implementation team, to learn about the key role his team plays in getting brands and retailers up and running on the PowerReviews platform, why he loves his job, and why ice cream holds a special place in his heart.
Where were you before joining PowerReviews? I’ve been at PowerReviews for a year and a half. Before PowerReviews, I worked in the financial industry for nearly 7 years with my last stint working in JP Morgan’s treasury division. I was an implementation project manager where I worked with a portfolio of multinational Fortune 500 companies managing multiple, complex integrations on our treasury platform solution.
Tell us about your team and your role at PowerReviews I manage the Chicago implementation group which supports client integrations across the U.S. and in Europe (we have a San Francisco group as well). My team consists of implementation project managers and engineers. They work jointly to support our clients’ integrations by managing the project lifecycle, meeting project milestones, and supporting the technical integration with the goal of getting our clients up and running to quickly begin collecting user-generated content to drive sales.
What’s the best part about working at PowerReviews? The people, culture, and work environment. As I mentioned before, I came from the world of finance, and well, everything was pretty conservative and quite formal. Since coming here, that work environment took a complete turn. The moment you walk through the door, there is a tremendous amount of energy, passion, and drive for what we do. It’s cliche, but true — we work hard, and play hard. Everyone here does what is needed to make sure our clients are happy and love our product as much as we do. Above that, we know how to take a break, enjoy those that we work with, and do it all over a nice cold beer!
What’s been one of your favorite projects while working at PowerReviews? One of the coolest projects that I have been a part of was the development of a new implementation approach for our corporate clients. After several months of gathering implementation data, we discovered that getting value to our clients with our core products, quicker, was an implementation approach that needed to evolve. Today, we now offer a ‘Core Value’ implementation approach that focuses on getting our clients collecting and displaying user generated content within 30 days or less.
What’s something people might not know about you? I was a Navy kid growing up and lived in Keflavik, Iceland for 3 years. Also, my family bleeds ice cream as we’ve been in the Dairy Queen business for over 40 years.
Veteran Chief Marketing Officer of OfficeMax, Walgreens, and Kimberly-Clark brings extensive retail, brand, and ecommerce experience to support PowerReviews continued growth.
June 8, 2016 – CHICAGO – PowerReviews, the leading provider of ratings, reviews and question-and-answer technology to more than 1,000 brands and retailers, announced today the appointment of Kim Feil to its board of directors. Feil brings more than 25 years of experience with the largest brands and retailers including OfficeMax, Walgreens, Sara Lee, Kimberly-Clark, Information Resources Inc, Dr Pepper/7UP and Frito-Lay.
“Kim brings a wealth of proven experience as a retail, brand, and ecommerce executive leading marketing, sales and strategy for some of the world’s most recognizable brands,” said Matt Moog, CEO of PowerReviews. “We’re excited that she is joining the PowerReviews board and look forward to the contributions she’ll make as we continue our mission to unify and amplify the voice of the consumer for brands and retailers.”
Feil led marketing and innovation growth strategies as the EVP and Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer for OfficeMax during its merger with Office Depot in 2013. She also served as the first Chief Marketing Officer for Walgreens, where she positioned the company as a leading community health and daily living destination for its six million daily customers.
Feil also supported the growth of some of the largest brands through her work at Sara Lee, Kimberly-Clark, Dr Pepper/7UP and Frito-Lay. And as President of Marketing for Information Resources, Inc., Feil worked with U.S. retailers and brands on their strategies, led the IRI global innovation practice, and launched the company’s ecommerce platform.
In June 2014 she added tech startup to her experiences when she was named CEO of bizHive, a dynamic online marketplace that connects small business owners with best-in-class marketing and operations services suppliers.
“I’m honored to serve on the board of this dynamic, growing company” said Feil. “I look forward to working together with the PowerReviews board and management team as they continue to deliver innovative solutions that increase sales and drive actionable insights for brands and retailers of all sizes.”
Feil is the president of The CMO Club-Chicago, serves on the Global Retail Marketing Association Advisory Board, and has been named a “Woman to Watch” by Ad Age, Crain’s Chicago Business, and Consumer Goods & Technology magazines.
About PowerReviews PowerReviews works with more than 1,000 global brands and retailers to increase conversion and improve products and the customer experience with ratings and reviews and Q&A software. PowerReviews unifies and amplifies the voice of the consumer throughout their journey, across all channels to help consumers make better purchase decisions and to help businesses drive conversion and improve products and services. Ratings and reviews solutions from PowerReviews are essential for consumers as they search and shop online and in-store, driving traffic on more than 5,000 websites, creating actionable insights to improve products and services, increasing conversion, and growing online site-wide sales up to 17%. The PowerReviews Syndication Network reaches 2,500 retailers and more than 700 million in-market shoppers every month, giving retailers and brands the power to reach shoppers wherever they are. For more information, visitwww.powerreviews.com.
For additional information: Meghan Spork Walker Sands Communications 312-241-1474 Meghan.firstname.lastname@example.org