Make it Large Podcast: Developments and Predictions for an Unprecedented Vacation Season with Trustpilot
Welcome to The Make-it-Big-Podcast, a bi-weekly audio series on e-commerce by BigCommerce.
In its 2021 Holiday Report, Trustpilot revealed key consumer insights leading to yet another unprecedented holiday season. Brian Merritt, VP of Revenue at Trustpilot, is on the Make It Big podcast to examine the report’s vacation predictions for the retail landscape, customer experience and consumer buying behavior.
Retailers can learn how consumers shop, what they are buying, and how best to prepare to meet customers wherever they are this year. As consumer expectations are higher than ever, we’ll also look at the role of “signals of trust” in delivering a seamless overall customer experience.
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The podcast “Make it Big”: Episode 9
Melissa Dixon: Now that many brick and mortar stores are reopening, what can we expect in terms of this hybrid retail experience this year?
Brian Merritt: “When I think of this year’s holiday experience, the word springs to mind. We’ve talked a lot about omnichannel in the past. But now omnichannel is more than just where you sell. This is how they do the pick-up as they do the return. Is it curb? Is it in stores? Is it buy online, pick it up in store [or] Buy online, delivery? There are so many different options at either end of the buying process, from the consumer starting point – mobile, desktop, possibly even voice – to the end, and that is the curb or buying online, home shipping or delivery. Or enjoy the experience because it’s not just about physical goods, it’s also about experience.
“As I look forward to another unpredictable year, we across the retail spectrum will have a better understanding of the risk mitigation tools we need to use. So since customers are coming back to the stores – and they want to come back to the stores, unlike last year when we all found out – we kind of figured it out this year.
“We understand what it means for customers to come to our stores during these difficult and interesting times, and that’s why the in-store experience is more important than ever. Your customers want to see it as added value. “Why do I go to your shop? What am I getting there? Do I pick it up? Do I touch it? ‘ The customer service is huge, of course, and we’ll get to that a little later. But here too the key word for this Christmas season is seamless. “
MD: I would like to know how customer service fits into the smooth shopping experience and what retailers really need to consider when it comes to customer service during the holidays?
BM: “We all see customer service as a reactive thing. It’s something that happens after the transaction. Customer service actually starts during the buying process – the bots that appear on the website and how we help buyers make that buying decision and move forward through our funnels.
“So customer service is at all points of contact. It is not a question of subsequent purchases and subsequent deliveries. It starts with, “Are you that size? do you have this color? Where can I find this on your page? Where can I find that? I have heard of that?’ So the bot aspect becomes important there.
“When we think of the analysis we did, over 30 million reviews recorded while on vacation, customer service comes to mind. When it comes to positive reviews, excellent service and fast delivery have been the most common two-word phrases used in positive reviews. ‘Customer service’ is one of the two or three most frequently mentioned terms, even in positive reviews. Interestingly enough, it has also been mentioned in negative reviews. Twenty percent of the negative reviews were about customer service.
“So we may all think that people leave reviews of our products; They leave reviews about our people and our tools and how we help them and how we support them as well. So good customer service can create or destroy a customer experience. And if you have poor customer service, what is the chance you will buy from that company again? Quite low.”
“We might all think that people leave reviews of our products; They leave reviews of our people and our tools and how we help them and how we support them as well. ”- Brian Merritt, Trustpilot
MD: Where will customers shop more this holiday season, and how can merchants best prepare to meet these shoppers where they are?
BM: “There is definitely an increasing use of mobile devices and the journey to purchase really starts on mobile devices. I think it’s important to remember that mobile doesn’t necessarily mean app. Mobile can also mean a great mobile-friendly website. You might want to get this app working, and that’s important, but having a great mobile experience is just as important.
“And that goes hand in hand with the social. In our vacation report, around 55% – 54.8% I think the exact number – of respondents said they used social media to discover new products and new purchases. Since we all spent last year modernizing our homes and doing more and more things around the house and the like, it becomes more interesting to share, and it becomes more interesting where to buy.
“This has made the marketplace more interesting. These places to go and buy a variety of products at once become a place for people to think about how to sell their products or engage with their consumers.
“The final part of targeting your consumers is that you have to think about reviews across all of your channels as people look for social evidence. Whether it’s Facebook reviews, Google reviews, Trustpilot reviews, all of these are considered part of this social proof. Hence, it is really important that you think about the channels that your customers are operating on. It’s not just Instagram. Yes, Instagram is a big part of it, but it’s not just Instagram.
“It’s important to look at the full spectrum across all of your channels and ensure that your reviews look good everywhere and authentically represent your company and your products.”
MD: In your opinion, when is the main shopping and main meeting time, so to speak, during the holidays?
BM: “I think retailers will pick up earlier. Consumers experienced many delivery delays and product delays in 2020. Hence, they are likely to buy sooner. Cyber Monday will still be a big day, but it will be days before that. They are getting bigger now.
“I think that will actually lead to other problems. If we all say we buy sooner, we will create the same backlog. I think that’s a big element there.
“I think retailers suffer from advertising fatigue. I think last year was about how we keep the lights on and what kind of offers do we need to make people spend more money? I think this year will be about, ‘Hey, I have to actually make a profit here again and get some margin and be able to grow my business.’ So how can I reduce all of my promotions, all of my offers, and get a bigger cart out of the event?
“This is where the review collection, the increase in reviews, will take place. Usually, the service reviews take place the following day. So you want to make sure you keep track of things. However, product reviews usually take place 7 to 14 days later. You want to give consumers the opportunity not only to have received the product, but also to have enjoyed it.
“So it’s pretty important to understand where in your cycle you should ask for ratings. But there will definitely be that tip and you need to prepare for it. I think the key is that everyone is planning their promotional offers, shipping schedules, and product offerings right now. You also need to plan your review collection and response strategy. “
MD: Do you have any best practices or strategies for success that you saw with the results of the vacation recaps and the transition into the new year?
BM: “The company’s product page is huge because you do your product development. You’ve probably started now for 2022, but definitely January or February for 2022. So get feedback on which elements of your products worked well, which elements of your service worked well.
“What does it mean to offer overnight delivery? What will it cost us? It will take time to carry out this cost-benefit analysis. So if you do this verification analysis during your January post mortem, it is an important reminder that we need to think about alternative shipping options. We need to think about additional colors and sizes when offering other products.
“What are these intangibles that you can do when you combine the review data with the results of your customer experience team is very helpful. They have some on-site understanding of the issues people are addressing. But where was that increased then?
“The effort involved in getting people to leave good or bad reviews is considerable. I think we all see it. We’re getting increasingly asked to leave a review, whether it’s a quick star rating on the app based on something, whether it’s a customer service call or text message you receive, or whether it’s an E. -Mail is about delivery.
“The review ecosystem is pretty broad if you think about it, and that’s where independent platforms like Trustpilot come in. It is one thing to ask for a review of your business with your own tools. It’s a different matter if you have a third party verify this with the tools we offer for consumer content, integrity and the like. “
For even more insights, Discover Trustpilot’s 2021 Holiday Report and stream full episodes of The Make it Big Podcast Spotify, Apple and Google.