If a mobile device is the modern shopper’s constant companion, what advice does it offer? Can it determine if a person looks good in an outfit? Can it tell a browser whether an impulse-buy is a good value? Can it help pull the trigger on that big-screen TV purchase?
Likely all of the above, as consumers are increasingly turning to their smartphones to research products, read customer reviews and make actual purchases. For example, recent analysis by Bazaarvoice, whose software helps brands host and analyze user-generated content (UGC) such as product reviews, consumer Q&A and shared experiences, found mobile users were far more active during the 2011 holiday season than they had been the year before.
According to its January 2012 Conversation Index, the percentage of users accessing user-generated content more than doubled on Black Friday 2011 to 12 percent of total visitors, compared to 5 percent in 2010. Moreover, mobile users have been generating content at a higher rate than ever before, underscoring the need for brands to optimize content submission for smartphones and tablets.
The reasons for this are clear: Consumers trust the online opinions of fellow consumers, often more than they do information from any other source. And the more digital the consumer, the more these online opinions matter, and the more likely they may be to access that information on a mobile device. In a January 2012 study from Bazaarvoice, The Center for Generational Kinetics and Kelton, 84 percent of Millennials indicated that UGC on company websites has at least some influence on what they buy. For Boomers, that figure was 70 percent. In fact, there are some purchase decisions—big and small—that Millennials won’t make without UGC.
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