It’s no secret that Amazon has become a destination for consumers searching for a wide variety of products, from books and movies to electronics and toys. In fact, according to a recent PowerReviews report, 38% of online shoppers begin their shopping journey on Amazon, with 79% citing a wide variety of products as a reason they start there.

Now Amazon is making its mark on the apparel sector — in a big way. In addition to featuring online “boutiques” for established, popular apparel brands such as Kate Spade, BCBG, Hugo Boss, and 7 For All Mankind, Amazon has recently launched seven of its own clothing brands for men, women, and children. And the company has no plans to slow down. According to a report from Morgan Stanley, Amazon currently has 7% market share of the apparel industry, but by 2020, that number will climb to 19%. To provide a little more context, Cowen & Co. predicts Amazon will displace Macy’s as the top U.S. apparel retailer by next year.

It’s clear that apparel retailers are taking note of Amazon’s growth in apparel — as they should be. Art Peck, CEO at Gap, Inc. said at the company’s last shareholder meeting, “To not be considering Amazon and others would be in my view delusional.”

But what can apparel retailers do to effectively compete with the eCommerce giant?

It’s no Longer an Option to Compete on Pricing and Product Availability
In addition to a wide selection of products, our recent report on the path to purchase found that pricing considerations, such as free shipping, are another top reason consumers choose to start the purchase journey on Amazon. However, it’s difficult for the majority of retailers to compete against Amazon when it comes to inventory, price, and shipping.

But the good news is, there’s a big opportunity for apparel retailers to leverage user-generated content including ratings and reviews and Q&A to offer a superior shopping experience that wins consumers and cultivates brand advocates. Read on to learn how reviews can help apparel retailers grow sales and effectively compete with Amazon.

Reviews Attract Visitors
A search engine is the second most popular place to begin the online shopping journey, with 35% of shoppers starting their product search there. And with 71% market share, “search” means “Google” for the majority of shoppers.

What’s encouraging for retailers is that after conducting a search on Google or another search engine, shoppers are just as likely to click through to a retailer site as they are Amazon (41% each).

Retailers can effectively compete with Amazon to attract these “search-first” consumers by leveraging ratings and reviews. Ratings and reviews improve a retailer’s visibility in search engine results and improve clickthrough rates with rich snippets that display star ratings and review information in search results.

Reviews Keep Visitors On Your Site to Convert
Some of the top reasons shoppers choose to start the purchase journey on a brand or retailer site is because it’s easier to find what they’re looking for and they can find the best product information there. After you’ve successfully attracted shoppers to your site, make sure to keep them there by providing all of the information they need to make an informed purchase decision, including the opportunity to hear from other consumers through ratings and reviews.

And remember — visual review content is especially important for apparel shoppers, who want to better understand the size and fit of a particular piece of clothing on someone with a body type like them before making a purchase.

If you don’t provide a high volume of valuable reviews, you risk losing shoppers to a site that will. Shoppers we surveyed said they’ll turn to a search engine (45%), Amazon (25%), or another brand or retailer site (20%) if they can’t find any — or enough reviews on a brand or retailer site.

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Reviews Cultivate Loyalty
Of the 21% of consumers that start the purchase journey on a brand or retailer site, 48% say they do so because they’re past customers, loyal to the brand or retailer.

Consider not only purchases when rewarding customers, but also content. If someone contributes a review, award them points in your loyalty program. Then, when they’ve accrued enough points, award them a coupon for free shipping or a percentage off their next purchase. It’s a small investment to cultivate a loyal customer that will go straight to your site the next time they’re in the market for apparel.

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PowerReviews User-Generated Content solutions boost online sales 17% site-wide
Review Your Purchases increases content collection rates by up to 400%

June 7, 2016 – CHICAGO – PowerReviews, a leading provider of ratings, reviews and question-and-answer technology to more than 1,000 global brands and retailers, today introduced two new product capabilities: Review Your Purchases, which helps brands and retailers generate up to four times more conversion-driving content and a new Review Analytics and Insights solution that helps businesses mine deeper insights from that content. PowerReviews will showcase these new capabilities and its full range of offerings at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition (IRCE) in Chicago, June 7-10, 2016.

“Because ratings and reviews continue to drive more traffic and conversion than any other type of user-generated content, we’re focused on continually delivering new capabilities to generate more content, deliver new insights, and make the user experience as easy as possible,” said Matt Moog, CEO of PowerReviews. “Using PowerReviews technology and best practices, our best-in-class customers see an average online sales increase of 17 percent sitewide. With Review Your Purchases and the new Analytics and Insights capabilities, we’re confident this sales increase will grow even larger.”

Review Your Purchases
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 enables consumers to quickly review all purchases within a single page, increasing content collection rates by as much as 400 percent.

Nearly three-quarters of reviews are generated in response to a post-purchase email. And more than 60 percent of purchases in the PowerReviews network contain more than one item. By asking for reviews for several items at once, clients get higher response rates, more content, and higher conversion rates.

Product Review Analytics and Insights
While ratings and reviews have become an essential part of the path to purchase, they also provide a wealth of information for brands and retailers not only to optimize conversion but also to improve products, services, and user experience.

PowerReviews Analytics and Insights compiles and presents review data in an easy-to-use format, helping retailers and brands understand how ratings and reviews and questions and answers increase conversion. Reports also show the impact of distributing brand reviews across the PowerReviews Open Network, which reaches 1 billion in-market shoppers every month, giving brands and retailers the power to reach shoppers wherever they are. Brands and retailers can also easily identify products that can most benefit from additional content to drive SEO, conversion, and network-wide sales.

Members of the PowerReviews team will showcase these new capabilities at IRCE, booth #328.

To learn more about PowerReviews, visit www.powerreviews.com.

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, visit www.powerreviews.com.

For additional information:
Meghan Spork
Walker Sands Communications
312-241-1474
meghan.spork@walkersands.com

New research finds that shoppers will turn to a search engine (45%), Amazon (40%) or another brand or retailer (20%) if there aren’t enough reviews.

June 6, 2016 – CHICAGO – Today’s shoppers have a myriad of options when it comes to researching and purchasing products. To better understand how retailers can compete with e-commerce giants like Amazon, PowerReviews, a leading provider of ratings, reviews and question-and-answer technology to more than 1,000 global brands and retailers, surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. consumers to release Mapping the Path to Purchase: How Today’s Consumers Navigate the Shopping Journey.

“The better brands and retailers understand the path to purchase, the better equipped they are to attract shoppers and deliver a user experience that drives conversion,” said Matt Moog, CEO of PowerReviews. “In this study, we found that while many consumers choose Amazon because of its variety of products, low prices and free shipping, retailers and brands can effectively leverage user-generated content, including ratings and reviews and Q&A, to offer a superior shopping experience that wins consumers and grows advocacy.”

Key findings of the study include:

Where Shoppers Start The Purchase Journey

Amazon has wide appeal for today’s information-hungry consumers. Thirty-eight percent of surveyed consumers reported starting their shopping journey on Amazon, citing variety of products (79 percent), free shipping (64 percent), and better deals (62 percent) as key factors.

More than half of shoppers (55 percent) who started their purchase journey on Amazon cited the presence of a large volume of reviews as a key factor for doing so. Almost all (99 percent) of these shoppers consult reviews on Amazon, confirming that ratings and reviews have become an expected part of the purchase process.

Search Engines Even The Odds

Thirty-five percent of shoppers choose to begin their purchase journey at a search engine and more than half of these shoppers (52 percent) click through to Google Shopping results. The study also found that after conducting a search, shoppers go to a retail site or Amazon in equal numbers (41 percent each).

With these search-first consumers, retailers can effectively compete with Amazon by leveraging ratings and reviews to improve visibility in search engine results and improve click-through rates with rich snippets that display star ratings and review information in search results.

How Brands and Retailers Differentiate Online and In-Store

Twenty-one percent of shoppers start their online purchase journey on a brand or a retailer’s website and do so because of loyalty (48 percent) and a superior user experience (56 percent). And of those shoppers, 65 percent make their final purchase at the brand or retailer site.

While brands and retailers can’t compete with Amazon on product variety or free shipping, they can leverage user-generated content, including ratings and reviews and Q&A, to offer a superior experience to shoppers. Ratings and reviews are a crucial component of that experience, with shoppers saying they’ll turn to a search engine (45 percent), Amazon (40 percent) or another brand or retailer (20 percent) if there aren’t enough reviews.

And while online retail sales continue to grow, many consumers still want to purchase in-store. Of the shoppers who don’t buy on a retailer’s site, 48 percent will make their purchase in-store.

“From the data, it’s clear that shoppers are already turning to retail sites in pursuit of a better user experience and are proving loyal to those that can deliver,” said Moog. “Consumers want to make informed decisions and are turning to sources that provide rich user-generated content like ratings and reviews. Retailers can improve the shopping journey across channels by making ratings and reviews easily and equally accessible to online and in-store shoppers. For brands, these findings echo the importance of making your product information such as ratings and reviews accessible throughout the entire path to purchase, including Amazon, Google and retailer sites.”

To learn more about PowerReviews, visit www.powerreviews.com

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, visit www.powerreviews.com.

For additional information:

Meghan Spork
Walker Sands Communications
312-241-1474
Meghan.spork@walkersands.com

Next week, the PowerReviews will be headed to the 2016 Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition (IRCE) right here in our hometown of Chicago. The world of eCommerce is constantly changing and evolving, and this event provides a great opportunity to hear from industry experts and network with likeminded professionals.

IRCE is an event I look forward to all year, and this year is certainly no exception. The agenda for the 2016 event includes more than 100 different sessions on topics ranging from personalization and advertising to pricing strategy and user experience.Attendees are sure to walk away with lots of new connections and ideas to improve their business.

I’m especially eager to hear more about how some of our own customers have been successful, including speakers from VF Corporation, evo, Advance Auto Parts, and more.

Stop By Our Booth
If you’re attending IRCE, be sure to stop by booth #328 in the Exhibit Hall to catch up with PowerReviews. We’d love the opportunity to discuss your business’ unique challenges, why brands and retailers are choosing PowerReviews, and how you can increase online site-wide sales as much as 17% with PowerReviews. We’ll also be launching some exciting new product offerings at IRCE that we can’t wait to tell you more about.

But it won’t be all business at the booth. Visitors will also have the opportunity to spin the wheel to win great prizes from some PowerReviews clients, including LUSH, Toys R Us, and Stance.

The exhibit hall will be open:

  • Tuesday, June 7: 4:00pm – 6:30pm
  • Wednesday, June 8: 9am – 6:30pm
  • Thursday, June 9: 9am – 4pm

We hope to see you next week in Chicago!

USAUK