ISSUE NO. 67 07/12/12
The holy grail of shopper marketing is to engage shoppers with compelling, relevant offers that increase loyalty and boost sales. Yet a new survey by Empathica shows that most shoppers believe that retailers ignore their input. In a survey of 6,500 U.S. consumers, 85% of shoppers say they are willing to provide customer feedback to stores when asked, but a whopping 71% of them believe their comments don't do any good.
Fewer than half of the participants (46%) believe that brands take into account their feedback in order to make constructive changes and only about 1 in 2 consumers think retailers bother to make sure their feedback is shared with the individual locations. In fact, only 40% think retailers care about what they have to say. Ironically, shoppers could be a robust source of information. Most don't mind sharing their opinions, even without incentives, with two-thirds preferring to do so online. Finally, the study underscored the importance of retailers taking shopper input seriously: 8 in 10 say they would be more loyal to a store if they could be sure their comments were listened to.
"Our research proves that consumers really do want to provide feedback and engage in conversations with brands," noted Empathica in a press release. "Feedback remains a one-way street and what consumers are yearning for is two-way dialogue. They want to know that their feedback is being acted upon in ways that will drive meaningful changes to the customer experience at the locations they frequent."

It couldn't be clearer: shoppers want retailers to listen to them and retailers are letting them down. Given shoppers' unambiguous directive that they would be more loyal to stores that listen to them, it seems a no-brainer that retailers should improve responses to shopper input. The same goes for brands. Solicit shopper feedback about your brand and then find a way to let those who comment know they've been heard, whether it comes in the form of a simple acknowledgement of having received feedback or actual changes in policy and practices, shoppers will appreciate being heard and will reward you with increased loyalty. You've heard "the customer is always right," but that statement should also say, "so listen to your customer and act on what you hear."

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"Shoppers Talk, But Doubt Stores Listen," Media Post, 6/14/12

brands, feedback, retailers, shopper research

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