New Study Finds that Retailers and Brands can Leverage Reviews to Compete with Amazon and Search

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New research from PowerReviews finds that shoppers will turn to a search engine (45 percent), Amazon (40 percent) or another brand or retailer (20 percent) if there aren’t enough reviews.

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Retailers and brands can effectively leverage user-generated content, including ratings and reviews and Q&A, to offer a superior shopping experience that wins consumers and grows advocacy.

Today’s shoppers have a myriad of options when it comes to researching and purchasing products. To better understand how retailers can compete with e-commerce giants like Amazon, PowerReviews, a leading provider of ratings, reviews and question-and-answer technology to more than 1,000 global brands and retailers, surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. consumers to release Mapping the Path to Purchase: How Today’s Consumers Navigate the Shopping Journey.

“The better brands and retailers understand the path to purchase, the better equipped they are to attract shoppers and deliver a user experience that drives conversion,” said Matt Moog, CEO of PowerReviews. “In this study, we found that while many consumers choose Amazon because of its variety of products, low prices and free shipping, retailers and brands can effectively leverage user-generated content, including ratings and reviews and Q&A, to offer a superior shopping experience that wins consumers and grows advocacy.”

Key findings of the study include:

Where Shoppers Start The Purchase Journey
Amazon has wide appeal for today’s information-hungry consumers. Thirty-eight percent of surveyed consumers reported starting their shopping journey on Amazon, citing variety of products (79 percent), free shipping (64 percent), and better deals (62 percent) as key factors.

More than half of shoppers (55 percent) who started their purchase journey on Amazon cited the presence of a large volume of reviews as a key factor for doing so. Almost all (99 percent) of these shoppers consult reviews on Amazon, confirming that ratings and reviews have become an expected part of the purchase process.

Search Engines Even The Odds
Thirty-five percent of shoppers choose to begin their purchase journey at a search engine and more than half of these shoppers (52 percent) click through to Google Shopping results. The study also found that after conducting a search, shoppers go to a retail site or Amazon in equal numbers (41 percent each).

With these search-first consumers, retailers can effectively compete with Amazon by leveraging ratings and reviews to improve visibility in search engine results and improve click-through rates with rich snippets that display star ratings and review information in search results.

How Brands and Retailers Differentiate Online and In-Store
Twenty-one percent of shoppers start their online purchase journey on a brand or a retailer’s website and do so because of loyalty (48 percent) and a superior user experience (56 percent). And of those shoppers, 65 percent make their final purchase at the brand or retailer site.

While brands and retailers can’t compete with Amazon on product variety or free shipping, they can leverage user-generated content, including ratings and reviews and Q&A, to offer a superior experience to shoppers. Ratings and reviews are a crucial component of that experience, with shoppers saying they’ll turn to a search engine (45 percent), Amazon (40 percent) or another brand or retailer (20 percent) if there aren’t enough reviews.

And while online retail sales continue to grow, many consumers still want to purchase in-store. Of the shoppers who don’t buy on a retailer’s site, 48 percent will make their purchase in-store.

“From the data, it’s clear that shoppers are already turning to retail sites in pursuit of a better user experience and are proving loyal to those that can deliver,” said Moog. “Consumers want to make informed decisions and are turning to sources that provide rich user-generated content like ratings and reviews. Retailers can improve the shopping journey across channels by making ratings and reviews easily and equally accessible to online and in-store shoppers. For brands, these findings echo the importance of making your product information such as ratings and reviews accessible throughout the entire path to purchase, including Amazon, Google and retailer sites.”

To learn more about PowerReviews, visit http://www.powerreviews.com.

About PowerReviews
PowerReviews works with more than 1,000 global brands and retailers to increase conversion and improve products and the customer experience with ratings and reviews and Q&A software. PowerReviews unifies and amplifies the voice of the consumer throughout their journey, across all channels to help consumers make better purchase decisions and to help businesses drive conversion and improve products and services. Ratings and reviews solutions from PowerReviews are essential for consumers as they search and shop online and in-store, driving traffic on more than 5,000 websites, creating actionable insights to improve products and services, increasing conversion, and growing online site-wide sales up to 17 percent. The PowerReviews Syndication Network reaches 2,500 retailers and more than 700 million in-market shoppers every month, giving retailers and brands the power to reach shoppers wherever they are. For more information, visit http://www.powerreviews.com.

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