In our last two blog posts, we detailed the state of retail and also how user generated content plus perks can attract and win shoppers. It’s clear the challenges that retailers face. But what’s the solution? Read on for seven tips to compete (and win) against Amazon.
1. Fill the Product Page with Details
PowerReviews research found that poor product information tops consumer irritations both pre- and post-purchase. In fact, more than 43% of shoppers were irritated by poor product descriptions when researching products. A product not meeting expectations was cited by 21% of shoppers as a top post-purchase irritation, tied with size and fit. Retailers and brands must comprehensively describe the product or service. If selling apparel, improve product descriptions by including fit and size information as part of a review form.
2. Cultivate Trust Through Authentic and Transparent Reviews
Customers won’t typically be swayed by any one review, positive or negative. Average star ratings allow shoppers to get a sense of the overall customer experience, with nearly two-thirds of shoppers citing they are ‘very important’ or ‘important’ aspects of their purchase decisions. Shoppers will go to Amazon if they don’t find enough reviews for the products they are considering.
3. Use Reviews and Q&A to Improve Products and Information
Reviews and Q&A give brands and retailers a direct line of feedback with consumers. Allowing shoppers to ask questions helps to be sure you are meeting their expectations and they are getting exactly what they signed up for, taking some of the risk out of online shopping. Reviews can also alert the brand or retailer to flaws in a product that can be fixed to satisfy consumers.
4. Add Consumer Submitted Videos and Images to Product Pages
Ask for images and videos and display them on the product and category pages: 88% of consumers specifically look for visuals such as photos or videos submitted by other consumers prior to making a purchase. Allow purchasers the opportunity to submit their own images to create content from real customers—meeting customer demands for more information and managing purchase expectations.
5. Welcome Negative Feedback
Shoppers are suspicious of a squeaky clean rating and want to be trusted to make their own judgments on others’ negative experiences. Of consumers, 82% specifically seek out negative reviews and consumers are most likely to purchase a product when its average star rating is between 4.2 and 4.5 stars. Accept the negative feedback and take steps to correct it publicly when it makes sense. Use negative reviews to improve product descriptions and to improve poor performing products.
6. Redefine Loyalty and Reward Advocates
Consumers who are passionate about a brand or product are highly valuable. Ease and loyalty top the list of reasons why consumers choose to start shopping on a retailer or brand website, with 48% stating it as the top reason. These loyalists will not only purchase on the site, they will be brand advocates willing to answer questions and provide detailed product reviews. Amazon’s Vine program identifies loyalists not by spend, but by content generation, offering free samples to members to write reviews. Identify advocates through both content generation and by spend. Of consumers, 33% want free products as a reward for loyalty. Retailers and brands should offer samples to generate reviews, photos, and images and identify content from verified buyers or associated with free samples, which shoppers cite as the most important factor in building trust.
7. Leverage Physical Stores
Many retailers have assets that Amazon is only starting to build: physical stores. Retailers and brands should leverage physical stores not only as a revenue channel, but also as a way to display and drive content. In its Seattle area bookstore, Amazon displays star ratings and review excerpts for books using simple shelf tags. Brands can also include reviews in their mobile app to influence the in-store experience. Retailers can generate reviews from in-store purchases by emailing loyalty program members after a purchase, asking them to contribute reviews, photos and videos.
Want to see the results of a PowerReviews survey on the factors that contribute to Amazon’s dominance and how retailers can compete — and win? Read our latest whitepaper or watch this on-demand webinar.