Report finds that retailers must prioritize online and in-store experiences, as well as employee experience this holiday season, and beyond. - IMAGE: Reputation

Report finds that retailers must prioritize online and in-store experiences, as well as employee experience this holiday season, and beyond.

IMAGE: Reputation

SAN RAMON, Calif. – Reputation, a leader in reputation experience management (RXM), today unveiled findings from its 2021 Retail Reputation Report, which looks at key industry trends from the past year and ranks the top retailers. This comes in the midst of the ongoing pandemic, which is contributing to challenging supply chains and a labor shortage.

Examining 3.7 million shopper reviews, Reputation’s report ranked the top retailers in 2021 and uncovered key trends to look out for:

  • Review volume is up 12% from 2020. This is important because 90% of consumers read reviews before making a purchase, and 72% read multiple reviews. But review volume is down 22% from pre-pandemic days.
  • Google Business Profile views and actions are up 17% in 2021. Clicks to directions are up 15%. This data is good news for brick-and-mortar retailers because it signals that people are more interested in visiting physical stores.
  • Consumer sentiment about retailers has been dropping throughout 2021. Product availability showed the biggest drop in sentiment, which reflects a growing concern about the supply chain crisis. Product affordability was also a major factor hurting consumer sentiment; inflation and higher prices stemming from limited inventory took their toll.
  • While retailers are faced with staff shortages, customer experience is the only major category that showed an increase in sentiment in 2021 compared to before the pandemic. In particular, more reviews include employee names proving that the personal human connection is crucial to bringing shoppers back to stores and improving sentiment.
  • “We were not surprised to find that consumer behaviors have changed drastically since the onset of the pandemic. While responding to these new habits can be a challenge, we think this is a great opportunity for retail brands to innovate and find new ways to get found and get chosen,” says Rebecca Biestman, Reputation Chief Marketing Officer. “Not only will retailers need to reinvent themselves with consumers, but they must also rethink their employee experience. Investing in more agile tools to collect feedback and act on it will separate the brands who succeed, versus the ones who perish.”

The Importance of Google

Not only are shoppers doing product research on Google, but they’re also using a retailer’s Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) to learn about retailers before doing business with them. In fact, research shows that a Google Business Profile has more impact on a location’s findability than any other factor. Reputation took a close look at the aggregate volume of Google Business Profile views and actions for retailers in 2021.

For context: Reputation defines an action as someone clicking on a Google Business Profile to visit the retailer’s website, call them, or look for directions. Views are important because they reflect a retailer’s visibility. Actions are important because they signal someone’s purchase intent. Reputation found:

  • Both views and actions are up 17 percent in 2021.
  • Clicks to directions are up 15 percent. This data is especially good news for brick-and-mortar retailers because it signals that people are more interested in visiting physical stores.
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