Among the impacts of the health crisis, the closure of points of sale was a real blow to commerce internationally. As of March 2020, 64% of sectors have seen their sales decrease, compared to the month preceding the first containment ( Verified Reviews Study, 2021 ).
But since the stores reopened, the keywords are adaptation and resilience. Putting the “physical” back at the heart of customer journeys is a daily challenge. Since consumer habits have evolved, we must redouble our efforts to bring customers back to the store. And to achieve this, we have good news: customer reviews can help!
In this new article, we show you how to use them to encourage consumers to come back to the store.
1. Focus on local SEO
We specify this in the introduction: consumer habits have changed. The health crisis has accelerated the transformation of customer journeys. With the rise of the web, coupled with the fear of the spread of the virus, it is difficult to make people want to go back to the store.
However, solutions exist to re-capture the attention of consumers. They do not travel much … But when they do, they will not hesitate to use Google for information and orientation. Taking care of your local SEO is therefore an essential lever in times of crisis.
To be well-positioned in the local searches of Internet users, it is necessary to keep your Google My Business listing up to date. To attract Internet users, the latter must in particular indicate your average rating… From the various opinions collected during post-purchase!
By collecting customer reviews, you increase your visibility in local SEO. In the ranking of local results, data from the Google My Business platform (33%) and customer reviews (16%) are the two factors whose impact has increased the most since 2013 ( Whitespark study ). Without the stars to bring customers back to the store would be a shame: nearly 78% of customers inquire on the web before making a purchase in-store! ( BVA study )
2. Reassure customers with a Covid question
To welcome customers back to the store, optimizing your presence on search engines is not enough. In times of crisis, attention is mainly focused on compliance with health measures. Before taking the plunge into a store, the consumer must be in complete confidence. Is the wearing of a mask well respected or required? What is the maximum customer capacity in-store? Is purell available?
To get answers to these questions, customers won’t hesitate to rely on the most recent customer reviews. And for companies, good news: Verified Reviews is committed to collecting reviews related to health measures!
Since March 2020, Verified Reviews have implemented the “Covid Question”. This optional question, to be added to the satisfaction questionnaires, allows customers to ask: “How would you rate the in-store protection measures?”
The benefits of such solicitation are manifold. This new indicator is a real reassurance lever for potential customers. For consumers who share their experiences, this means of expression is synonymous with engagement and mutual aid between peers. For companies, the results are conversion engines: since the deployment of the Covid question, the general multisector average score is 4.54 stars out of 5, with a response rate of 71%!
3. Identify satisfied customers, to increase loyalty and word of mouth
If collecting post-purchase customer reviews is already a habit… Congratulations! In times of crisis, this strategy can allow you to re-attract customers to the field.
To get customers back to the store, probing their opinion is the first step. We then advise you to analyze the returns, to identify satisfied customers. Beyond the 4 out of 5 stars, you can consider the conquered customers as potential ambassadors. Be sure to take care of them!
Initially, customers satisfied by a first experience are likely to repeat their visit to the point of sale. A loyalty strategy can then be developed, based on the positive feedback collected. Offering a promotion or an exclusive gift the next time they come to the store can be a good idea, to encourage them to come back as soon as possible.
Secondly, satisfied customers are your first influencers. According to a study by Esteban Kolsky, 72% of customers share a positive experience with 6 or more people. And in times of crisis, relying on customer recommendations seems essential! To encourage word of mouth, consider inviting customers to join a referral program. In exchange for recommendations, you reward your loyal customers and multiply the economic benefits… A real win-win solution to set up, which begins with the collection and analysis of post-purchase opinions!
4. Use customer reviews in an omnichannel communication strategy
To once again attract crowds to the store, mastering your communication and marketing actions is a priority. Customer reviews can help you boost this sought-after visibility… Both online and offline! Because collecting post-purchase reviews and analyzing them is not enough. You have to value the Voice of your customers and make the stars shine.
To set yourself apart from the competition and motivate customers to visit you, think omnichannel. By communicating on different communication media (digital or not), you will reach different targets (local, tourist, etc.). Your average rating from the Verified Reviews solution is an argument that proves your reliability: highlight it on your storefront, on your social networks, on your website, in your catalogs… From innovative formats to traditional media, all media adapt to the power of opinions.
Along with customer satisfaction, we also recommend that you communicate about your purpose, your values, behind the scenes of your company … For many consumers, the health crisis has been the trigger for awareness. Trusting a sincere, genuine, even committed company is becoming the norm. Customer reviews are tangible proof of your reliability … But this must be reinforced by the creation of a strong emotional bond, which triggers the desire to push open the door of a store.
To (re) conquer the hearts of consumers in stores, focusing on collecting customer reviews is the first step. Then don’t forget to measure general satisfaction, to identify the prescribers who will accelerate word of mouth.
Finally, to stand out from your competitors, the dissemination of customer reviews must be done correctly. Online to boost your local SEO or in communication media to develop your notoriety, the approaches are numerous, but the objective remains the same: to use the power of the stars to serve in-store commerce!