TECHNOLOGY

Study: Consumer-generated content gives in-store sales a jolt

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

More consumers crave consumer-generated content (CGC) — and retailers’ in-store sales are reaping the benefits.

An increasing number of consumers are reading online reviews to qualify their buying decisions prior to making an in-store purchase. This research online, buy offline (ROBO) concept is so strong that it is influencing both online and offline shoppers. For example, 56% of online shoppers read reviews before making a purchase, and 45% of brick-and-mortar buyers do the same, according to “The ROBO Economy,” a study from BazaarVoice.

Data revealed a 20% year-over-year increase in mobile page views across more than 5,000 Bazaarvoice brand and retailer client websites. However, the biggest product categories being researched online before being bought offline are appliances (59%), health, beauty and fitness (58%), and toys and games (53%). These were followed closely by electronics (41%) and baby merchandise (36%).

The study also analyzed how much in-store revenue online reviews — and other CGC — influences in terms of sales. For example, for every dollar spent on art products online, consumers spend $6.07 offline. For every online dollar spent on video games, shoppers spend $5.19 offline. It is a similar story for toys and games ($5.14), electronics ($4.92), TV and home theater ($4.83), appliances ($4.79), and computers and tablets ($4.73).

“The bottom line is omnichannel is the only channel and ROBO is the new normal,” the report said. “If you know how reviews are impacting your offline sales, you can better optimize your omnichannel shopping experience.”

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