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Reviews and Your Digital In-Store Strategy

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While the 2014 holiday season was generally weak, mobile was the breakout success. According to IBM, mobile traffic reached 48% of all online traffic while mobile sales grew 40% to reach 29% of online holiday sales. For Amazon, mobile was a staggering 60% of holiday traffic.

The Year of the Smartphone

PowerReviews customer Fanatics is a an e-commerce sports retailer that powers the websites of all major U.S. sports leagues. If you’ve ever bought a sports jersey, baseball cap or college team gear online, you’ve probably done so through Fanatics.

Number 47 in the 2015 internet Retailer Mobile 500, Fanatics says 55% of its website traffic came from smartphones and tablets between Nov 21 and Dec 23, up 45% during the same period in 2013. In an interview with Internet Retailer, David Katz, senior vice president and general manager of mobile at Fanatics, stated, “This year was a smartphone story. All the growth we saw was from smartphones.”

Mobile Reviews Grew 237%

The explosive growth in mobile in the 2014 holiday season was consistent among PowerReviews customers. Mobile reviews grew 237%, from 8.1% of all reviews to 16.7% compared to the 2013 holiday season. While the total number of reviews submitted on the desktop grew 4%, as a percentage of all reviews desktop fell from 88.1% to 79.2% as consumers spent more time shopping on mobile.

The Store of the Future: Coming to you Since 2005

In 2005, Gartner coined the term “Store of the Future,” where technology improved the customer experience. In 2005, the focus was primarily on streamlining the experience: ensuring items were in stock and easy to find and that they could check out quickly. Having “detailed product information” available was a secondary consideration.

Tablets in Dressing Rooms


Fast forward to 2014: Consumers are increasingly using mobile devices in store to gain additional product information. And leading retailers are experimenting with how best to provide consumers with that information. Kohl’s and Bloomingdales earned a lot of notice last year with their digital in-store strides.  With tablets installed into its dressing rooms, Bloomingdale’s allows customers to browse alternative colors and items, consult reviews, get recommendations on complementary items, and call for assistance.

The Number One Consumer-Requested Content In Stores: Reviews

Whether retailers install tablets or rely on the increasing number of consumers using mobile phones in-store, they need to closely consider what content to provide consumers. Cisco’s recent and excellent paper, Winning the New Digital Consumer with Hyper-Relevance: In Retail, Insight Is Currency and Context Is King, asked consumers what type of digital content would be most helpful as they shop in stores. Not surprisingly, Reviews were number one, ahead of in-store advertising or product recommendations.

Reviews can be shared through digital signage, at kiosks, or in dedicated dressing room tablets. Beacon technology provides retailers the capability to proactively provide consumers with reviews for products based on their proximity to the products. And consumers increasingly rely on their phones for additional information as they shop. Regardless of media, reviews will be a top consideration as retailers consider their digital in-store strategy.