The Bazaarvoice Shopper Experience Index is conducted annually, most recently between December 2021 and January 2022, and is based on responses from 7,000 shoppers in the US, Canada, Australia, France, Germany and the UK.
The Five Key Trends that Emerged Are:
- Shoppers are your new salespeople
- Authenticity is every brand’s most important asset
- Friction is your worst enemy
- Pandemic-inspired shopping behaviours are sticking
- The Metaverse is here
Let’s dive into each of these in turn.
Shoppers are Your New Salespeople
When we asked the question, ‘What are the must-haves for your daily purchases?’ two of the top five had to do with user-generated content (UGC):
- Ratings and reviews
- User photos
Seventy-four percent of shoppers think that user photos increase the likelihood of them making a purchase — it’s astounding. Interestingly, 42 percent of people will buy a product without professional photos, if user photos are present. And 53 percent — over half! — say that UGC is the most important way to make them more confident in purchases.
This is pointing out clearly that you need a good mix of content at your fingertips so that you can serve the right people at the right time. And that can be content from you, the retailer, or the agency — but also the consumer, the expert, or the influencer. Maybe even celebrities, depending on the product.
Authenticity is Every Brand’s Most Important Asset
The cliché of saying that not all content is equal is totally true. Shoppers value authentic content, hence, authenticity is your most important asset. In a recent Bazaarvoice webinar, Alyssa Thomas, Director of Product, Content as Commerce, at Walmart.com, said that she was unwilling to sacrifice authenticity:
”One of the really important parts of customers reading ratings and reviews is that they trust they’re authentic and relevant to the item. Otherwise, we potentially lose the trust that customers were looking for from reviews in the first place.”
An aggregate of research, studies, and benchmarks right across Bazaarvoice globally shows that UGC uplifts conversion by 144 percent and revenue per visitor by 162 percent. This is truly best in class. The average order value also increases by about 13 percent.
Sixty percent of people see that negative reviews are as equally important as positive reviews — it’s the combination that makes it trustworthy. That’s the customers clearly telling us they want us to be authentic and paint a true picture.
We really want to begin a movement towards authenticity. Through our tools, we reject, on average about five percent of user content, for language or appropriateness. We find about 0.5 percent of content is what we think is bot-created, fraudulent content. That process protects all of us and, particularly, your authenticity.
Friction is Your Worst Enemy
What would shoppers like their favourite brands to do? They want the experience to be:
The last is critical because they’re all shopping both online and in-store now. And they want both those experiences to be equally good. Sixty-nine percent of shoppers have been inspired by social content to make a purchase. Social has become an event for shoppers.
Amongst our 7000 shoppers, 52 percent of them had bought something via social media. Facebook dominates as their platform of choice, with 44 percent shopping through it, with Instagram next at 32 percent. Thirty-three percent of people didn’t buy via social.
Amongst those who do, they’re looking for content, for information, and then to transact. Fascinatingly, 69 percent of shoppers have been inspired to make a purchase through other channels by something they saw on social media.
Pandemic-Inspired Shopping Behaviours are Sticking
Are pandemic-inspired behaviours sticking? Yes. We’re proving to be creatures of habit. Eighty percent of shoppers thought their shopping time via social media has increased. Thirty percent of them are buying online once a week, and 63 percent of consumers research online before heading to a store. That’s really important — this hybrid behaviour is going to continue. Where do we want to be omnipresent?
Are shoppers sticking with the brands they were loyal to before the pandemic? No, they’re not. Thirty-nine percent of consumers bought new brands during lockdown — and 83 percent of those will continue to buy from their newly-discovered brands.
This is an interesting twist for all of us to think about.
The Metaverse is Here
Is the metaverse a controversial topic? Perhaps. Only ten percent of those we spoke to believe there is a reality to the metaverse. But it’s up to you: Are you going to capitalise on this emerging $800 billion over the next five years business — or, at least that’s what Bloomberg predicts it will be.
We have a seven-layer model of the Metaverse, that explores everything from connectivity to the experiences, and every layer between. But only one in ten brands has a strategy right now, and yet 12 percent of shoppers are interested in augmented reality as part of the confident decision-making process. There’s potential, and we can learn from the early adopters.
It’s for all of us to explore this new technology and see what could be done.
Shopper Experience Index 2022 Takeaways
Here’s three key takeaways for you:
1. Plan with a consumer-first mindset
Peer-to-peer and word-of-mouth are incredibly powerful. Put the shopper front and centre in everything you do, and it’ll help you win hearts and minds.
2. Create the seamless experience shoppers expect
Shopping, buying, transacting: Shoppers expect this all to be frictionless, online, in-store, and everything in between.
3. Build your brand on authenticity and trust
Trust and authenticity are vital for every brand.
Read the full Bazaarvoice Shopper Experience Index 2022 here.
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