- A new report by BazaarVoice, a retail review platform, on the ROBO (research online, buy offline) economy has found that consumer-generated content in the form of reviews had a dramatic impact on offline purchases.
- 82% of consumers reported consulting their mobile devices about purchases they were about to make in stores, an effect the report calls “reverse showrooming” where shoppers use online resources to research in-store purchases.
- The report found that consumer generated content, specifically reviews, are a key element in the research aspect of the ROBO phenomenon.
The retail business has gone multi-channel in recent years, and retailers are having to unify their online and offline experiences in order meet consumers in their channel of choice.
“We’ve now gone to a business where your best customer can be standing in your best store and with three touches of their thumb to a piece of glass, they can buy from your biggest competitor,” Fred Argir, Chief Digital Officer for Barnes & Noble, told our sister publication Retail Dive in an interview about the evolution of the business. “That’s changed everything.”
One of the more compelling results of the BazaarVoice research was that online reviews have a greater influence over offline purchases than online. In fact, for every $1 of online revenue influenced by reviews, the offline impact is as much as five times higher.
In the report, BazaarVoice CMO Sara Spivey described the impact of user reviews: “More so than ever, consumers place their faith in the opinions of peers based on the content they are producing online—across brand and retailer websites, social media, and an ever-growing mix of new and emerging platforms.”
The report outlines three ROBO opportunities for marketers:
- Guide consumers from consideration to purchase by increased consumer generated content volume to offer more perspective and give shoppers the confidence to convert.
- Create a seamless experience by integrating consumer generated content in the store to help guide shoppers, introduce new products/brands, and encourage alternate brand decisions.
- Use photos and videos for discovery by prominently featuring consumer-generated reviews, photos, and videos throughout the online user experience.