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The Connected Economy: Continental drift

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European shoppers are quickly climbing the digital maturity curve, but they’re on separate tracks. While both social and online shopping are increasingly popular across the continent, the related …

European shoppers are quickly climbing the digital maturity curve, but they’re on separate tracks. While both social and online shopping are increasingly popular across the continent, the related habits, beliefs, and motivations of European consumers are as distinct as their national cuisines.

We performed deep qualitative research with groups of consumers from France, Germany, and the UK. Our researchers combined shopper observation with in-depth interview sessions to reveal some of the hidden motivators and attitudes behind the online behaviors of these three cohorts.

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  • 1. TheConnectedEconomyContinental drift
  • 2. Table of ContentsContinental drift: Deep distinctions among European shoppers 2Priorities and trust factors yielded divergent early steps 5French consumers sought high review volume;Germans were more trusting when reviews were objective 6Germans fully embraced mobile commerce;UK shoppers used mobile for research 9French consumers felt a responsibility to contributefeedback, unlike Germans 10Definitions 12About Bazaarvoice 13Sources 15
  • 3. Continental drift: Deep distinctions among “If [reviews] are honest, European shoppers a simple critique of the machine… then European shoppers are quickly climbing the digital maturity curve, but they’re on separate tracks. While both social and online shopping are increasingly popular across the continent, the related habits, beliefs, and motivations of European I’m more persuaded consumers are as distinct as their national cuisines. We performed deep qualitative research with groups of consumers from France, by that than the glossy Germany, and the UK. Our researchers combined shopper observation with in-depth interview sessions to reveal some of the hidden motivators and attitudes behind the online behaviors of these three cohorts. [marketing] message.” UK respondent2 3
  • 4. Priorities and trust factors yielded divergent early steps “ I tend to go to All three groups began product research on search engines by performing product category searches (searches not specific to a brand or retailer, such as searching “televisions” or “refrigerators”), but their paths split at the results pages. the store, check The UK shoppers tended to click through to the official shopping site of a “High Street” (i.e., large, commonly known) retailer they recognized and trusted. “I tend to go with one store,” explained one respondent. “Checking others is a pain.” out [feedback], The French shoppers, in contrast, chose to focus on the manufacturers they trusted, giving less weight to the retailer selling it. Recognized brands are “more reliable,” said one respondent, “I trust them more.” Buying based on brand was then buy online.” “very important,” according to the majority of French respondents. One French shopper explained that brands convey more confidence in post-purchase support — if there is a problem, the consumer knows they can reach brand representatives. External research found that 83% of French online consumers put “looking for a German respondent particular brand” in their top five reasons for visiting a particular retailer website.1 Meanwhile, German shoppers de-emphasized brand and retailer to focus instead on price, and headed to price comparison sites. One respondent remarked that brands aren’t as important if the product “looks good and the price is acceptable.” “Price first, brand secondary,” agreed another.4 5
  • 5. French consumers sought high review volume; Germans were more trusting when reviews were objective French shoppers were much more likely to check multiple sites for consumer feedback, looking for a higher volume of reviews containing consistently positive average ratings. One French respondent detailed how, upon finding a product she likes, she checks reviews on the manufacturer’s product page, then the retailer’s product page, and finally an independent third-party site before she’s satisfied. Feedback was especially important when French respondents hadn’t yet established loyalty to a brand in an unfamiliar category; they looked to reviews to uncover which brands other consumers trust. They also looked for both positive and negative comments, saying that seeing a few bad comments mixed in with the good helps assure them that the good ones are genuine. German consumers, on the other hand, indicated their complete confidence in, and heavy reliance on, reviews. “I want to know how satisfied people are with those products,” said one respondent, adding, “I trust comments from anywhere.” “I try to buy from a place with at least some reviews,” said another. “Some sites don’t offer enough useful comments,” remarked a third. He and others agreed: When reviews included detailed, systematic analysis rather than just subjective opinion, there is no need to check other sites for feedback. The UK consumers, meanwhile, indicated that reviews go hand in hand with price. They looked for an item with a relatively strong average rating for the price, along with a high number of reviews. This, they posited, mitigates the risk of buying low-quality items. On the flipside, some indicated that reviews are especially important when buying big- ticket items. “I’d check reviews for a TV, but not a USB stick,” commented one shopper.6 9
  • 6. Germans fully embraced mobile commerce; UK shoppers used mobile for research German respondents were enthusiastic about using mobile in stores for price checking and research. “I have a barcode scanner. Then you can see prices right away at other stores,” said one respondent. “I found a cheaper deal online, then I bought it online.” And price isn’t the only thing they looked for via mobile. “I always look at the internet [via mobile] and check customer comments,” explained another respondent. The German consumers shared numerous stories of researching products on their phones while in stores, and were perfectly comfortable with ordering the product straight from their phone when a lower price was available. While UK consumers also used their phones in stores for research, they were more hesitant to buy. “I check everything on my phone,” remarked one respondent, adding that he doesn’t buy via mobile. “I wouldn’t put my bank details onto my phone,” said another. “I’ve lost my phone, so if my bank details were in there, that would be bad.” A third agreed. “I don’t think that’s secure.” Instead, UK consumers were prone to make online purchases later, at home, or from the store they were in if they’d rather not wait. “I definitely do look at reviews” in stores, reported one shopper, relating how she’d recently pulled out her phone to check feedback on a discounted skin cream during a visit to Boots. Seeing the glowing reviews, she “bought every box on the shelf.”8 9
  • 7. French consumers felt a responsibility to contribute “I feel a moral feedback, unlike Germans The French group told us that they feel a strong obligation to contribute feedback, and feel badly when they do not. responsibility “I’m not a good consumer,” admitted one French respondent upon confessing that he doesn’t contribute reviews. Another feels a “moral obligation” to contribute feedback and help others make the right decision. to contribute German respondents didn’t mirror this sense of responsibility, despite the fact that they were more reliant on reviews than their British and French counterparts. When asked if she writes her own feedback, one consumer replied, “No. Funny right, since I use them?” “I forget,” laughed another. “But I appreciate all these comments when customers [who do leave feedback].” The UK respondents who didn’t write reviews showed mixed feelings about whether or not they ought to. Some remarked that it “isn’t my job,” but others I use them.” confessed to the same guilty feelings as their French peers. “I always look through customer reviews,” said one. “I feel a bit naughty that I use them and should contribute.” French respondent10
  • 8. Definitions Revenue Per Visit % Lift What it is: Total revenue divided by About Bazaarvoice total visits, measured in percentage lift Conversion Rate % Lift Bazaarvoice, a leading social software company, assists clients in bringing the for visitors who have interacted with What it is: The percentage of visits voice of the customer to the center of business strategy. With over 2,000 clients user-generated content over visitors that end in a transaction, measured in who have not. globally, including over half of the Internet Retailer 500, over 20 percent of the percentage lift for visitors who have Fortune 500 and over one-third of the Fortune 100, Bazaarvoice helps clients to Why it’s important: Use this to interacted with user-generated content determine the impact of user-generated leverage social data derived from online word of mouth content to increase sales, over visitors who have not. content on the average revenue earned acquire new customers, improve marketing effectiveness, enhance consumer Why it’s important: Use this to per visit. engagement across channels, increase success of new product launches, improve determine the impact of user-generated existing products and services, effectively scale customer support, decrease Net Promoter Score (NPS) content on closing the sale. product returns and enable retailers to launch and manage on-site advertising What it is: Consumers’ likeliness Average Order Value % Lift to recommend your company. solutions and site monetization strategies. This online word of mouth content can What it is: Total revenue generated be syndicated across Bazaarvoice’s global network of client websites, shopper Why it’s important: Use this to divided by total number of orders, determine customer satisfaction — media sites and mobile devices, making the user-generated content that digital measured in percentage lift for visitors how your company is performing in consumers trust accessible at multiple points of purchase. Headquartered in who have interacted with user- the eyes of your customers. Austin, Texas, Bazaarvoice has offices in Amsterdam, London, Munich, New York, generated content over visitors Paris, San Francisco, Stockholm, and Sydney. For more information, visit www. who have not. Repeat Reviewers % bazaarvoice.com, read the blog at www.bazaarvoice.com/blog, and follow What it is: The percentage of total Why it’s important: Use this to on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bazaarvoice. reviews written by those who have determine the impact of user-generated contributed two or more reviews Column Five Media created the visualizations for The Connected Economy, content on the dollar amount of the over a specified period of time. based on data from the Conversation Benchmarking Tool (bv-url.com/ average transaction. Why it’s important: Use this to benchmarking) measure customer engagement and identify brand advocates.12 15 13
  • 9. Sources “Continental Drift” 1. “In the New Economy, ‘Access is More Powerful Than Ownership,’” DLD, January 2012 http://dld.tumblr.com/post/16349836711/in-the-new-economy-access-is-more- powerful-than16 15 17

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