Consumers today are privileged. We can buy from any company in the world and at any location we’re at. Our buying is also not limited to a single device, we leverage several devices and channels – from smart speakers to smart phones. Once we buy, we can also quickly share the news, the love or frustration we feel about our purchase with the rest of the world. 

These 2 mega trends are driving Consumer Experiences (CX) like never before – eCommerce and User Generated Content (UGC) fuel each other. UGC helps buyers make purchase decisions by reading or watching or hearing success stories from other buyers which drives eCommerce forward. On the other end once you purchase something you love (or hate) – why not share the news with friends or the whole world?

To provide some example metrics, recent research shows that 71% of consumers agree that customer reviews make them more comfortable buying a product, and 82% of consumers consider user generated reviews extremely valuable. 70% of all consumers will look to reviews or ratings before making a purchasing decision, and at least 41% of consumers will read 4 to 7 reviews when looking for product information.

What is the importance of user-generated content?

In one word – Speed! eCommerce and UGC share one thing and that’s how fast decisions are made. 

On the eCommerce side, consumers can decide on the spot to buy something right there and then, and if it’s not your product or service there’s no room for discussion…in addition eCommerce lowers the entry bar for new, disruptive brands (we all know the Dollar Shave Club story) as it’s easier for them to set up shop online vs in brick and mortar. 

On the UGC side, once consumers buy something they like (or hate) they will be immediately vocal about it online – in reviews or forums or social media. 

This creates a speed of events that you need to be aware of, as if you blink, you’ll wake up with less market share or a new competitive challenge. 

Now that you care, what can you do about this?

There are really 3 things you need to do to stay on top of these mega trends:

  1. Really know your customers
  2. Really know your competition
  3. Know these things in (near) real time

Know your customers

Your customers are out there, online, all the time. They write, share and tell their friends and followers what they like or don’t like every day. Are you listening? Social listening as well as ratings and reviews tracking can help you know what your customers (or target audience) is thinking, every day!

If you’d like to learn more about this matter, check out our recent blog post where we discussed how brands implement predictive analytics and social listening to improve their customer experience. 

The data about your customers doesn’t have to be public. Disney as an example uses Magic Bands at its theme parks. The bands offer Disney visitors lots of conveniences, such as no longer needing to carry a wallet, room key etc, but Disney also gets a lot of data in return that helps them really understand park visitors. The bands help Disney know where you spend time in the park, what attractions you visit, and more. Any business can use artificial intelligence (AI) to extract meaning from all the data they gather to understand their customers at a completely new level.

But according to research, business are not doing that. The most recent ”Future of Market Research Report” from Fuel Cycle reports that over 70% of MRs believe that automation, artificial intelligence, and video analysis technology will be very important over the next five years. However, only 11% of respondents report using AI for their current research objectives. Without automation and advanced technologies like AI, how can you know your audience?

know your competitors

Similar to tracking your customers or audience online you can collect and analyze opinions and mentions of every brand in your industry. This way you can know if there’s a new product or brand picking up traction in your space. These early warning signs can be your chance to respond while you can make an impact. Again…Dollar Shave Club story…

Know the voice of the customer in real time

Whether you wish to understand the VOC of your customers or your competitor’s customers, speed is the most important here. We’ve gotten accustomed to market research taking months at best, but eCommerce and UGC move at a much faster pace. You should really be able to track your customers change of taste and heart on a daily or weekly basis. Months is too long of a timeframe to be able to respond. Not to mention that until you know if your response works a few more months passed…this war on the consumer heart is done in real time, on a daily basis, and brands that will not adopt methods that will help them respond immediately will eventually parish. 

Conclusion 

These two mega trends – eCommerce and UGC, are here to stay. We all love the freedom of shopping that comes with eCommerce, and we all love to track what others are saying in general or before we buy an item. Coupled together these mega trends accelerate the pace of things for brands and consumers alike and require brands to be more knowledgeable in (near) real time in order to respond and survive. After all, a consumer product (or a service) can fail even if just one specific aspect does not meet expectations. (One well documented example, the Samsung Note 7). 

Luckily advanced technologies like Revuze is offering deliver automated consumer insight analysis. The Revuze solution can analyze any written opinion of consumer goods or services and does so without the need for human interaction. This eliminates the need for IT or Data Science experts and accelerates the speed of insights. This way you can gain granular insights and stay on top of things without any effort or time invested. 

If you’d like to know more about your customers and products, click here to schedule a free demo.

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