Reputation, the UK-based reputation management organization, released earlier this week its annual retail industry report, which takes a look at industry trends from the past 12 months in both the UK and the US. The report emphasized the need for digital engagement, with online reviews and the Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) taking top priority in the digital sphere.
With the UK facing supply chain issues and labor shortages due to the ongoing pandemic, consumer sentiment took a hit with product availability being the biggest concern among consumers. In addition, worries about product affordability issues stemming from inflation and price increases have damaged customer sentiment within almost all UK industries.
The report also emphasized the sheer scope of digital influence on consumers in the post-COVID world, stating that 90% of customers read reviews before making a purchase, with 72% reading multiple reviews. With review volumes having dropped 22% compared to pre-pandemic times, product quality and customer satisfaction is therefore highly impactful on a brand’s revenue.
The report further showed that Google Business Profile views are up 17% compared to the previous year, with clicks to directions increasing by 15%. This shows the overall impact of lessening restrictions and confidence in the end of the pandemic as more consumers seek to visit physical stores rather than simply purchase online, however digital presence remains an important asset to any business.
“While it’s great to see that consumers are interested in visiting brick and mortar stores again, it’s no surprise that overall sentiment has been dropping. Global supply chain challenges are impacting stores of all types, and UK retail leaders must communicate clearly about this issue with customers,” says Anthony Gaskell, Managing Director of Reputation EMEA. “Brands that continue to invest in both their digital and physical presence, as well as foster open, honest communication will gain consumer trust and continue to win as we continue to return to normalcy.”