The shift that retail is currently experiencing is seismic and unprecedented. As such, there have been flow-on effects that are sure to ripple through into the future - one of which is consumer confidence.
A report from Bazaarvoice has shown that expectations are now higher than ever from consumers as they battle the outbreak. Now more than ever, consumers are in search of a brand they can trust and have higher expectations than before. According to the report, 72 percent of Australian shoppers trust online shopping reviews before purchase.
In the last few weeks, consumers have somewhat changed their level of trust with online reviews, In particular, 38 percent of Australian shoppers say their faith in other shopper reviews has ‘stayed the same’. In comparison, 17 percent say that their trust in reviews has ‘dropped’.
David Jones has experienced the brunt of this, with the retailer receiving a 1.7/5 review from Product Review and 1.9 stars Trust Pilot. As such, the overall online experience from this retailer has been poor, with consumers complaining of extended delivery times and lack of transparency from the customer service. “If I could give zero stars, I would,” said one user on Product Review.
Online retail is one of the only channels that are readily available for consumers, which means retailers have to up the ante to compete in such harrowing times. Kmart has recently experienced similar reviews from Trust Pilot and Product Review, due to its online queue implemented a few weeks ago. “That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen, KMART,” said one shopper on Twitter.
The report from Bazaarvoice revealed that Australian shoppers are concerned about fake reviews. As such, 40 percent of shoppers stated that counterfeit reviews from a brand would cause them to ‘completely lose trust in it’.
“With so many goods readily available for shoppers at the click of a keyboard, the power sits with them,” said Kate Musgrove, Managing Director APAC at Bazaarvoice. “As a result, retailers have no choice but to be nimble and adapt to ever-changing shopper habits. On the flip side, this can be empowering for brands as customers are prepared to share openly in reviews what they want and don’t want, and, if acted on, this can have a positive impact on the product and overall customer experience.”
For consumers, there are a few giveaways that they find that give away a fake review. Fifty-seven percent of Australian consumers say that ‘similar wording’ makes them suspicious of a review, and 53 percent say if the ‘review content that does not match the product’, then they have reason to believe it’s fake. Moreover, poor spelling and grammar (38 percent) and ‘overwhelming’ amount of five star or positive reviews (36 percent) are also catalysts for untrustworthy reviews.
“In today’s world, the shopper is very much front and centre as they are able to pick and choose what and who they find credible. Nowadays, shoppers are increasingly savvy and acutely aware of fake reviews. Indeed, they believe they can spot a review written by a bot, someone who has been paid to write a review or someone who has never used the product,” Musgrove said. “This means that Australian brands and retailers have to embrace authenticity and re-evaluate how they approach brand advocacy.”
It’s now or never for retailers to rely on authentic reviews to reflect customer expectations. So, what should retailers focus on to help increase customer loyalty? Thirty-one percent of Australian shoppers said ‘reviews were most important to them’ when it comes to the product range. Furthermore, 25 percent stated that product page descriptions and professional product photos ‘significantly impacted their purchasing decision’.
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