Product reviews have been a part of the online shopping experience for almost as long as the internet has been “interneting”. The in-store shopping experience in retail outlets hasn’t really changed all that much either when you really think about it.
Nonetheless I’m just a little surprised that retailers like Best Buy or Bed, Bath & Beyond (that have amassed hundreds of thousands of product reviews) only make their product reviews visible online and ignoring a placement that may just be equally convenient and informative for customers.
Here’s the thing; if information adds value to customers online does it not also add value offline?
I’m not saying it makes sense in every store, or for every product category. But, just think about having that information right there in front of you. No more do you have to browse your phone while you browse through stores. There’s surely a clear benefit for the customer that helps reassure them of their purchase.
Admittedly, integrating technology that ties online reviews to in-store products is not a simple challenge. That said, I pictured installing small low-energy e-ink displays to a network that brings key product information to the consumer.
This isn’t limited to displaying reviews with star ratings. Price point, reviews, savings, and all manner of product data could then be controlled via the same system. This provides a data rich and dynamic platform from which to control product data in-store and online. No more printed labels, less room for pricing errors… there are a lot of possibilities there.
In thinking on the idea, I kind of get excited by the potential even though it’s quite a simple thing. I do however realise that the same problems with online product reviews would trickle down into store data. Fraudulent reviews are a common problem online, however, retailers should be tackling this as Amazon does with verified purchases.
I haven’t read much about the internet of things, but from my limited knowledge on the concept, there’s a relationship between this idea and the intent of IoT… and who knows, maybe this is already a thing. Anyone out there seen any evidence of such an idea being executed in a retail environment?
Photo credit: Bill Branson (Photographer)