Half of online customer feedback comes from those that bought products instore, according to Bazaarvoice’s Conversation Index.

The report, which is based on more than 11m pieces of user-generated content created over the past three to six months, also found that these shoppers prove to be less satisfied with the products they purchased than those who buy online.

Bazaarvoice speculates that online customer satisfaction could be higher as shoppers have more access to research, feedback from other consumers and more product options.

Research has shown that as many as 50% of smartphone owners use their device to research product information instore, suggesting that shops aren’t giving people valuable enough product details.

Bazaarvoice’s report recommends using consumer-focused mobile apps, product labels infused with user generated content and instore kiosks to bridge the information gap to potentially offer greater customer satisfaction.

Value of Facebook reviews

While Facebook can be a valuable tool for engaging with consumers and getting product feedback, the report found that reviews left on a brand’s site are on average 48% longer than those left on Facebook.

More content means more unique, search-friendly keywords for a brand’s site – onsite contributors add 12 times as many unique keywords as those who review products via Facebook.”

Furthermore, traffic to brand sites directly from Facebook still makes up less than 1% of total site traffic – although the proportion has increased over the past 12 months.

The Conversation Index report found that these social visitors are up to 60% less likely to buy, however those who come to a site from social networks and make a purchase actually spend more money than shoppers who come to a site via Google. 

Shoppers from Twitter have the highest average order value – $121.33 – compared to Facebook and Google. 

This tallies with data from e-Dialog which found that conversions that occur after exposure to a brand on social media deliver more than $280 per order – compared to less than $100 for those that are driven by natural search.

Bazaarvoice stats suggest that social users enjoy social features, so merchants should design them into their site instead of trying to maintain different shopping and social experiences. 

Feature external social content on your site through social curation. Make it easy for visitors to post and share without leaving your site, and to log in to site features with their social credentials.”

An infographic produced by Monetate echoes this advice – it shows that 40% of US consumers prefer social logins to creating a new or guest account on e-commerce sites.

Use of reviews for product improvement

The report suggests that brands should be aware that 12% of reviews include product suggestions, and these can be used for improving your range of products.

One way of identifying reviews that include product suggestions is to run searches based on ‘pivot’ words such as; however, wish, only problem, although and if only.

These phrases often indicate that a consumer is about to move from a product review into giving a suggestion for improvement.

Mine for pivot language routinely, and distribute the results to product teams regularly to improve development and decrease time to market. Most important, use pivot language and average ratings to quickly uncover potential issues with new products upon launch.”

Shopping on mobile at night

Bazaarvoice’s research adds further weight to the growing body of evidence that shows it is increasingly important for sites to be optimised for tablets.

Analysis shows that consumers shop via mobile in the evening, with mobile visits matching non-mobile visits almost one to one. 

And iPad rules the night – from midnight to 5am the majoirty of shoppers are using iPads, surpassing non-mobile, other tablet, and mobile usage during these hours.

iPad users also spend more time on sites than other visitors, averaging five minutes overall. 

This is 3% more time than computer users (4 minutes 50 seconds onsite) and nearly 16% more time than other tablet and mobile users (4 minutes 19 seconds onsite).

If you don’t have an easy-to-use, robust mobile and tablet experience – including optimisation for the iPad – you’re missing out on half of your after-hours sales.”

Suggesting that you lose half your late night sales as a result of not have mobile optimisation may be overstating the point slightly, but it does highlight that some sort of mobile offering is essential for major e-commerce sites.