Note: This piece was originally posted on SocialMediaExplorer.com, and is cross-posted here with permission. 

In a few clicks, today’s social consumer can wield more influence, over more people, and in more ways than past consumers could ever have hoped for. The collective influence of billions of consumers interacting with people and things online leaves behind a trail of archivable, analyzable social data.

In our latest Conversation Index, Bazaarvoice analyzed over 11 million pieces of this social data to understand the people behind it. Here are some of the insights we uncovered, with tips for capitalizing on them.

Offline shoppers are just as social online

Shoppers who buy in brick-and-mortar stores are just as likely as online shoppers to give online feedback – customer content is split evenly between the two groups. Most businesses, however, target only their online shoppers for feedback. Only 45% of in-store buyers receive an email asking them to review their purchases, versus 80% of online shoppers.

If you’re only asking for feedback from online shoppers, you’re missing a massive opportunity for more engagement and more valuable social data. Bring your in-store shoppers into your community by inviting them share their opinions online – through in-store signage, calls-to-action on receipts, catalogues, bag inserts, etc. Train store staff to let customers know how their feedback helps others shop. And ask for shoppers’ email addresses at the point of sale to follow up with a post-purchase email.

In-store shoppers are less satisfied with products

Across the board, in-store shoppers leave lower product ratings. This lower satisfaction is especially visible in consumers over 55, and in men. It seems that poor in-store experiences leave shoppers less satisfied with their purchases. Or perhaps online shoppers make better-informed decisions. With access to research, opinions from product owners, and more product options, online shoppers may be better equipped to find the right products for their needs.

Improve your in-store experience and help shoppers buy smarter by bringing the best of your website into your stores. Include product ratings on shelf tags, and direct shoppers to your mobile app for more information. Make it easy for them to research products on smartphones or in-store kiosks using barcode scanners. And offer free in-store Wi-Fi to aid their research.

Advances in augmented reality (AR) and near-field communication will continue making mobile a more integral part of in-store shopping. Imagine an AR overlay of star ratings and related tweets, seen just by holding a smartphone up to store shelves. This isn’t far off.

Mobile and tablet users burn the midnight oil

After work hours, mobile visits to brand sites nearly match non-mobile visits. And iPads rule late-night shopping: from midnight to 5am, more site visitors are using iPads than any other device, including personal computers. Still, many businesses don’t have reps available at night. You’d never open a physical store without knowledgeable staff ready to help shoppers – your website shouldn’t be any different.

Measure your traffic by time of day, and see when conversions and conversations occur most often. Make customer support, chat, or other services available during these times. As appropriate, respond to tweets, Facebook posts, and shopper questions as soon as possible – even when they’re asked in the middle of the night. And be sure to optimize your site for mobile and tablet traffic – especially iPad users – or you could miss out on half of your after-hour shopping activity.

There’s much more in the full Conversation Index, and the infographic below gives a nice overview of some of the findings:

The Conversation Index Vol. 3 Infographic
The Conversation Index Vol. 3

 

  • http://twitter.com/txTDM Tara DeMarco

    Hi Anita, I agree — offline shoppers talk about their purchases just as online shoppers do, so it follows that they’d also talk about them online.  Thanks for your comment!

  • http://anitaloomba.com/ Anita Loomba

    Some great insight in this article. I’ve definitely found that within the social channels, customers who shop in brick & mortar locations are not hesitant to share their experiences on twitter or on the brands facebook page. Whether they are pleased or disappointed, they want people to know.

  • Pingback: Whats Your Conversation Index? [Infographic] | Get Elastic Ecommerce Blog

  • http://blog.bazaarvoice.com Ian Greenleigh

    That’s one possibility, yes. So your issue is not with the data, but the possible explanation we offered. 

  • http://twitter.com/Andrewbert Andrewbert

    Not sure about the data. People are more pleased with their online shopping because they are likely “getting a deal”; at least that is their perception.