AUSTIN, Texas (7/17/15)--Consumers continue to rely on word of mouth--now distributed through online ratings, reviews, photos, videos and social posts--before going to a brick-and-mortar store to make purchases.
The same holds true for service-oriented industries such as credit unions, the Bazaarvoice network found in a recent survey regarding the effect of consumer-generated content (CGC) on consumer decision making.
When customer service is a business’ essential component, consumers will research CGC online about interactions between customers and employees.
The latest edition of Bazaarvoice’s Conversation Indexalso found that 54% percent of respondents age 25-34 look to CGC online before making offline purchases. Nearly half of consumers in the 35-44 and 45-54 age brackets also reported that online CGC influences their in-store purchases.
Consumers use CGC to research low- and high-dollar purchases. For food and beverage items, site visitors who used CGC buy those items 73% more often. High-value purchases such as autos and certain brands have seen as much as an 86% and 97% lift in offline sales conversion, respectively, among consumers who used CGC compared with those who didn't, Bazaarvoice noted.
"The information that guides purchase decisions is no longer contained in a single channel, yet brands still struggle to link the online and offline experiences for their consumers,” said Sara Spivey, Bazaarvoice chief marketing officer. “CGC provides the bridge between the in-store and online experiences and the means to pivot from a shopping environment based on company branding to one informed by consumer experience.”