Consumer Behavior and Expectations: The 2017 Holiday Shopping Report
Announcing Trustpilot’s first research report, the Consumer Behavior and Expectations: The 2017 Holiday Shopping Report. This report analyzes over 1 million global reviews and 13,000 consumer responses to help retailers understand and exceed consumer expectations this upcoming holiday season (November and December). By looking at past consumer activity from the 2015 and 2016 holiday season, we’re able to explore how consumers feel during this active shopping season and help retailers react and adapt to this behavior.
But why are the holidays so important?
The holiday season represents a massive opportunity for retailers, especially online retailers. Last year’s Adobe Digital Index Report showed that $91.7B was spent online in the US, an 11% growth from the year before. In Canada, the UK, and France, this rate of growth was 14%, 11%, and 14%, respectively, showing that this boost in sales isn’t limited to the US or to North America.
However, it’s not all good news for every retailer. Not every retailer can expect to increase their revenue so significantly at the end of the season. Major retailers usually see above average growth but last year, over 60% of retailers actually experienced a decline in revenue growth on the two biggest sales days, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
The 2017 Holiday Shopping Report will help retailers capitalize on key expectations and behaviors by identifying specific trends, behaviors, biases, and preferences. If retailers don’t prepare and have a plan for the holiday season, they’ll end up falling short of their competitors. Here are some of our major findings. To learn more and delve into exact numbers, check out the report here!
Review activity increases globally throughout the holiday shopping season
An analysis of millions of reviews in 2015 and 2016 showed that many more reviews were left during the months of November and December, suggesting how reviews are part of the post-purchase customer journey throughout the holiday season. However, there was a surge in review searches during the same time. Users on Trustpilot looked for reviews the most in November 2015 and November 2016, showing how reviews played a large role of the pre-purchase journey as well.
Consumers are more critical during the holiday shopping period
A look at the rate of 1-star reviews shows that negative reviews rise from November through January, reaching a peak appearance rate of 12% when the average is 10%. Whether this increase in negative reviews is due to a higher expectation on the consumer side or because retailers aren’t matching an increase in demand is unclear. Whatever the reason, retailers should focus on their reputation year-round and ensure their departments have the resources they need in order to avoid negative reviews.
Negative and Positive reviews focus on the same topics - Customer Service and Delivery
We measured how often one and two-word phrases appeared in 1- and 5-star reviews across the months of Oct-Dec 2016 and Jan-March 2017, to see if there were differences during between the holiday shopping period and the period afterwards. Overwhelmingly, ‘customer service’ and variations on ‘delivery’ (whether ‘quick delivery’, ‘fast delivery’ or other variations) made up the most common phrases and words in both negative and positive reviews, highlighting the importance of those throughout the holiday shopping season.
Consumers value price prior to purchase, but heavily consider reviews throughout the customer journey
A poll gathering over 13,000 responses showed that consumers valued pricing the most, followed by customer service, and shipping/delivery. However, when asked what tools consumers would use during this upcoming holiday season, the top choice was review sites like Trustpilot and Yelp, followed by price comparison tools and sites. These top choices beat out recommendations from friends or family, social media, and reviews on business’s sites.
To see the full report with additional stats, metrics, and takeaways, just click the image below or click here!
The comprehensive guide on how to build a customer feedback strategy
Your company is smart. It studies its playbook and goes over past marketing plays to be prepared for its upcoming moves. It knows that brand reputation based on customer feedback is a critical step in growing as a healthy company.
Better decisions are made for the sake of your company not only through open discussions and internal feedback, but through the feedback from surveys you send out.
Your customers aren’t ashamed to tell you just how well or poorly their interaction with you went, and by leveraging the feedback from them, you gain valuable insights that will shape your current efforts at acquisition and retention, as well as shaping the way you prospect and build your sales.
Bad reviews: why people write them, and what they expect
If you’ve ever ordered your morning coffee and felt uninspired by the request to participate in an online survey or leave a social review regarding your experience, you probably didn’t have a particularly noteworthy experience. If you’re willing to take time out of your day to leave online feedback, it’s usually because you want to warn people about a bad encounter, or to help them make a better buying decision.
In a world of viral marketing and social influence, online reviews have the power to make or break small businesses, but they aren’t the only companies paying attention. Reviews have become such a pivotal part of the buying experience for so many customers, that even tech goliaths like Apple can’t help but play an active role in responding to more critical responses.
So what compels us to leave reviews online, and what are we really hoping to achieve by contributing to the public discussion of a brand, experience, or product? To find out, we surveyed over 1,000 European and North-American consumers about why they leave bad reviews, how good experiences inspire them to give feedback, and the kinds of reactions and rewards they sometimes expect to receive as a result of their critiques.
Think the online review phenomena might sometimes have ulterior motives? Read on to see what we uncovered.
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