How Today’s Consumer Conversation Predicts Tomorrow’s Sales

consumer-conversation-predict-sales

There are new rules of the game in the retail world, and it’s time to start playing by them or risk being demoted to the little leagues. Brands not playing by these rules may not think they’re feeling the effects, but the scales are tipping. Brands and retailers who don’t gain a better understanding of how the consumer conversation is affecting their bottom line risk being ejected from the game.

unpaid internshipNew Rule: Stop Leaving All of the Review Monitoring to the Interns

Let’s say you’re the CEO or CMO of a major outdoor brand. You’ve tacked an additional $1 million onto the quarterly marketing budget to promote your latest product launch, but sales are flat. It’s time for the quarterly board meeting, and you have to break this news to a table of suits staring at you over their glasses, sipping their coffee as they take turns asking you what went wrong.

What’s more, you want to ask for an additional $1 million for this quarter. What do you have to back up your request when you haven’t shown any ROI on last quarter’s additional spend? One way to determine future traction for sales is by monitoring consumer sentiment around your product. Especially if you have a longer sales cycle, consumer conversation today will predict sales tomorrow.

New Rule: Include Consumers in Senior Management Reports

Financials, retail numbers, and inventory are all important to senior management, but including the online consumer conversation seems to get overlooked. We can’t understand why, when monitoring consumer conversations can be a precursor to future sales, thus should be included in senior management reports.

We suggest including the quantity of consumer conversations, top influencers, aggregating and analyzing the data for trends, and showing the general sentiment of those trends. It’s the simplest, most cost-effective predictive analytics tool you can find.

New Rule: Monitor Your Consumer Reviews Like it’s Your Job

Because it is. It is your job.

We frequently quote a survey by Price Waterhouse Cooper which states that 80% of consumer buying decisions are heavily influenced by consumer reviews.

This is the point-of-the-spear in the path-to-purchase. It is the critical entry point for your brand and your products.

Google reports that consumers check 10.4 different sources before making a buying decision. If you’re only paying attention to the reviews placed on your own retail site, you’re missing out on 9.4 of the sources consumers are using.

Point is, once a review gets written and read, it affects your sell through. You should be monitoring your online reviews because they’re the equivalent of a person on a loudspeaker selling or bashing your products for you. And everyone’s listening. If you have any stake in your company’s success, you should make sure measuring reviews is someone’s job, because measurement is the first step to influence.

To repeat: Interns can’t deliver the insight. Senior Management Reports have no predictive quality without consumer comments, and customer reviews are critical in the consumer path-to-purchase.

CEO Paul Kirwin on the Importance of Measuring Reviews

 

Image Credit: Garry Knight | Comic Credit: StarTribune.com

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