THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS: THE ROAD TO CUSTOMER ADVOCACY

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1 THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS: THE ROAD TO CUSTOMER ADVOCACY

2 Welcome to a world in which shoppers aren t just disrupting your brand conversations; they re having them without involving you. Retailers are no longer in sole command of their brands. Consumers, unhappy to absorb messages pushed at them, are taking marketing into their own hands and sharing their opinions widely and influentially by generating and curating their own content. Until now, brands have shied away from really integrating and exploiting this usergenerated content, either for fear of its negative implications or because they simply don t know how to incorporate it into their marketing strategies. But in today s social world, consumer-led dialogue is the most effective platform for nurturing stronger, more profitable customer relationships - because it is trusted. Let s imagine a world of deep consumer engagement, where user-generated content develops into empowering communications, bringing brands closer to their customers. 2

3 BRANDS MAY BE DRIVING, BUT CONSUMERS HAVE THEIR FEET ON THE PEDALS Word of mouth is no new phenomenon, however the reach and impact of consumer-generated views has grown exponentially over the past 10 years. Think back to 2005; Facebook had just grown from a Harvard-only network to encompass all US high schools; YouTube had uploaded its first video; Twitter didn t exist and there was no such thing as an iphone. Fast forward to 2015 and over 2.4 million pieces of Facebook content are being posted every minute; 1 there are more than 420 million bloggers on Tumblr alone; 2 and the videos of just two top YouTube vloggers Tanya Burr and Zoella receive more than 20 million views each month There have never been more opportunities to create and share content, and the audience has never been bigger. Consumers want to share their experiences with reciprocating individuals, and trust their peers to provide honest feedback. In fact, word of mouth is still one of the most trusted forms of advertising, with 70% of consumers regarding brand recommendations from friends more highly than professionally written content. 4 As Google notes, the path to purchase has become the path to purpose, and this rise in user-generated content is disrupting traditional buying behaviour. 5 trust recommendations from peers over professionally written content. 70%consumers 4 Million pieces of Facebook content are being posted every minute in https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/the-path-to-purpose.html 3

4 WHO ARE THE CONTENT CREATORS AND WHY SHOULD YOU CARE? User-generated content should not be dismissed as simply a means of letting consumers get a point of view off their chest. It has the power to show retailers not only what their customers think, but how they feel at any given point in their journey to purchase. CONTENT CREATORS: THE FACTS 52% 48% Both genders are equally outspoken; 52% of reviews placed in 2014 came from men, 48% from women. One of the most powerful indicators of consumer sentiment is ratings and reviews. Reevoo curated nearly 1.7 million reviews in 2014 alone, the data from which reveals useful insights into the profile and behaviour of a broad spectrum of customers, not just the most vocal shoppers. On the whole, both sexes score the same the 2014 rating was 8.4/10 among males and 8.5/10 among females. Retailers who do not tune into these consumer sentiments risk customers taking control of their brand with a one-sided, user-led version of the truth. Those who read reviews convert 3.2 x more than those who don t embrace reviews. 1 in 5 shoppers are happy to publish a review on average rising to 1 in 3 when it comes to travel brands. Source: Reevoo, December

5 USER-GENERATED CONTENT IS A MESSAGE FROM THE HEART For the majority of shoppers, brand affinity is built on emotional as well as financial investment. Many will overlook cheaper prices, greater convenience or faster delivery to buy products from their brand. User-generated content provides retailers with a peek behind the curtains into these emotional connections, enabling businesses to respond to opinions, create genuine two-way conversations and increase the sense of customer value. Shoppers then know their opinions are being listened to and utilised to improve future interactions. More than that, the feedback from existing advocates becomes an incredibly effective means of nurturing new business. Potential buyers would much rather hear the experience of someone who has gone before them than a professionally written review. This is particularly true among younger generations; In today s unpredictable and rapidly changing technology landscape, user-generated content is the consistent influence that persuades shoppers to make a purchase there and then. It provides a guiding voice across the exploding number of retail touch points, traversing channels and locations to create cohesive brand identity and reliable customer insight. Millennials spend 30% of their media time digesting user-generated content and trust it 50% more than any other source

6 WANT TO BUILD BETTER CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS? THE JOURNEY STARTS HERE As the saying goes, knowing is one thing doing is quite another. Most retailers become so overwhelmed by the volume of user-generated content that they don t know how to use it constructively. Ratings and reviews are an effective place to start reclaiming control over brand conversations, provided they generate genuine, trusted customer feedback. And rather than inefficiently curating and analysing review in-house, many retailers are turning to independent third party experts to incorporate user-generated knowing is one thing doing is quite another content into their business strategy. It is crucial retailers find a third party provider that ensures reviewer authenticity. Today s smarter, media-savvy shoppers can see through contrived content, so only verified reviews will generate the credible results that build trust between brands and consumers. 36

7 THE PATH TO CONSUMER ADVOCACY Ratings and reviews are just the beginning of the customer feedback journey. In order to extract the full value of user-generated content, retailers must use shoppers thoughts and advice as an engagement point. Responding to consumer opinions both positive and negative not only improves individual customer satisfaction, but provides valuable data regarding brand sentiment. When analysed together, these can be translated into powerful insights into customers. Not only that, but retailers have the opportunity to steer the direction of customer conversations, by turning user-generated content into user-led marketing content such as website copy, s and various forms of advertising, which can be amplified through traditional marketing and PR channels. Here are some of the most popular emotive words used in customer reviews during 2014: good quality easy brilliant nice difficult efficient perfect wonderful great comfortable recommend fantastic lovely happy small quiet excellent poor cheap bad difficult problem amazing expensive friendly 37

8 HOW TO CREATE A SENSE OF COMMUNITY AROUND YOUR BRAND Happy customers make powerful brand advocates. Retailers can leverage the relationships nurtured through user reviews to create brand communities, which in turn influence potential purchasers. The simplest way to do this is incorporate user-generated content into collateral across channels. Running real reviews on websites, in stores and through marketing and advertising campaigns personalises the buying experience for potential customers. It also enables retailers to foster deeper loyalty among existing shoppers. Brands can even take this community to the next level by introducing a peer-to-peer ask an owner service such as Reevoo Conversations, which gives potential customers the opportunity to question real owners through the retailer s website. There is a balance to be struck between retailer control and equitable participation. With the right approach, user-generated content can become a powerful tool that enables brands to grow profitably around their customers needs. retailer control equitable participation 38

9 CASE STUDY If there s one fashion brand that sums up personal expression, it s Dr. Martens. For over 50 years, the footwear designer has been encouraging its customers to say what they stand for and we ve helped Dr. Martens use these brand values to drive traffic to its online store. A retailer s website is the natural go-to place for product information, so we ve integrated ratings & reviews into Dr. Martens online customer journey in the UK and US. We also introduced Reevoo Conversations our peer-to-peer ask an owner service to empower shoppers through the Dr. Martens community. We ve got tremendously useful comments from far more customers than we ever expected and the benefit that this is giving us commercially is significantly exceeding our expectations THE RESULTS SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES: OVER 5,000 REVIEWS WERE PUBLISHED WITHIN THE FIRST MONTH AVERAGE PRODUCT SCORE OF 8.8/10, WITH 15% OF THE RANGE SCORING 10/10 39% OF REVIEWERS SIGNED UP TO BECOME A REEVOO CONVERSATIONS EXPERT 261% CONVERSION UPLIFT THROUGH DR. MARTENS WEBSITE Chris Jones, Interim Global Ecommerce Director, Dr. Martens 9

10 CASE STUDY Transforming customer thoughts into the voice of your brand is a journey that Ebuyer, one of the UK s largest online consumer electronics retailer, knows first-hand. Ebuyer knew the value of user-generated content, having collected 40,000 reviews through its own feedback system, and wanted to amplify these insights as part of its business growth strategy. As review authenticity was pivotal to success, Ebuyer introduced our independent review platform. In just 72 hours, we collected 60,000 reviews, enabling 82% of Ebuyer s product pages to contain user-generated content. To truly build a brand community, Ebuyer also introduced Reevoo Conversations a tool that enables potential customers to ask loyal shoppers about products before purchase. Incorporating user-generated content into its customer journey increased trust levels among Ebuyer shoppers, and drove greater conversions. As an added benefit, the large volume of reviews boosted the retailer s SEO rankings, while Reevoo Conversations reduced query volumes to Ebuyer s customer service team. After switching to Reevoo branded reviews from our in-house system, we saw our conversion rate and average order value increase a clear indication of increased consumer trust. David Wood, Commercial Director, Ebuyer 10

11 Bring user-generated content into your business today with Reevoo Reevoo has pioneered a measurably better approach to ratings & reviews based on independent validation. We help our clients harness the voice of the customer to inject trust and buyer confidence across the entire, multichannel purchase journey. Our Amplify methodology sets us apart, providing more, richer and better-structured content to drive increased revenue and customer-driven insight. In 2014 we were featured in the Hiscox Tech Track 100 and in 2013, were awarded Gartner Cool Vendor status. Find out how we can help you bring the voice of the customer into your business by calling or visiting the Reevoo Website 10

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