The Rise of Webrooming and the Importance of Online Reputation
It’s projected that Millennials / Gen-Y spend approximately $600 billion annually, today. And, in just 6 years, that number will surpass $1 trillion accounting for 30 percent of all retail sales. These youth consumers are avid shoppers; however, they’re shopping much differently than their parents. They expect more – better quality, lower prices and faster experiences (in-store and online).
In this digital era, retailers are no longer competing against other stores in the area. They’re competing against other stores across the globe. Price comparisons and product reviews can be found in abundance with a few simple clicks. There’s a fundamental power shift taking place, from retailers to consumers. What we’re seeing is a rise in planned purchases vs. spontaneous purchases. Youth consumers are actively “webrooming” as they extensively research products and scour online retailers; then head to the store to make the purchase. According to the Harris Poll, 69% of young adults ‘webroom’.
The importance of product review and online reputation management has never been more important. As Millennials / Gen-Y’ers heavily rely on opinions of their peers, brands should be paying close attention to what consumers are saying about their brands online. The strategy isn’t to avoid or defuse negative comments made about your brand; it’s about encouraging online conversation amongst all users of your brand to ensure an accurate depiction of your brand exists online. As most feedback forums go, the users who are most eager to write an online review are those who “hate” or “love” your brand. Without proper online brand sentiment monitoring and management, your brand’s online reputation will be heavily skewed. Whether you like it or not, consumers are talking about your brand. Our recommendation is to engage.