According to SOCi’s analysis on local visibility, merchants’ tacit disregard for brands harms their discoverability, revenue growth, and brand equity.
Data from SOCi Inc.‘s 2023 Local Visibility Index (LVI), the industry-leading comarketing cloud for multi-location businesses, was released today. It shows how merchants are “ghosting” more than half of all online customers who provide feedback, ask questions, or post reviews. The U.S. retail sector loses $2.4 billion annually as a result of this startling discovery.
SOCi found that the typical company disregards 54% of online feedback, reviews, and queries across platforms including Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Yelp in its audit of 588 stores across 39 industry categories, spanning 106,000 total locations. In fact, 92% of consumer questions placed on retailer Google accounts, for instance, go ignored. These questions include ones like “Are you open late on Christmas Eve?” and “Do you sell golf equipment?”
“Retailer ‘ghosting’ is an alarming phenomenon with serious implications for brand reputation, customer loyalty, and online visibility,” claimed Monica Ho, CMO of SOCi. “Retailers who overlook their online clients unintentionally convey the idea that the customer experience isn’t important. Similar to when store staff ignore customers, this kind of conduct significantly lowers revenue and sales.
SOCi found that disregarding customer concerns or inquiries, or neglecting to express gratitude for their input, causes consumers to become “invisible” online to search engines. When prioritizing online listings, search engines like Google take engagement factors like query, feedback, and review responses into account. Retailers may improve their search engine results, promoting brand awareness and in-store sales, by actively connecting with customers and responding to their needs.
Retailers miss out on these advantages by ghosting customers and disregarding their evaluations, which lowers their online discoverability and harms their overall performance in the digital market. SOCi’s data shows that this disregard costs multi-location retailers $58,000 in lost sales per site.
“A retailer’s overall omnichannel digital marketing strategy should include responding to online customer feedback, which can range from questions to reviews,” continued Ho. “Thankfully, AI and automation provide merchants and marketers a revolutionary opportunity to address the problem of online ghosting customers. By utilizing these technologies, they may increase customer happiness and encourage a more positive online experience while delivering prompt and personalized responses to feedback, reviews, or inquiries at scale.”
Respondent, visible retailers, according to SOCi, create over two times as much revenue year over year, four times as many consumer activities through online channels, and an amazing 149% greater interaction on social media.
According to Chris Rowland, CEO of Pet Supplies Plus, “We manage thousands of online channels to support our stores and locations.” Pet Supplies Plus, which improved their Local Visibility score by 25% in the previous year, was identified by SOCi’s analysis as a top performer in engaging customers online. “SOCi’s report highlights our dedication to putting customer engagement and communication at the top of our priority list, ensuring that we recognize and address all forms of feedback or questions promptly and thoughtfully.”
Explore the interactive LVI dashboard or download “The High Cost of Invisibility for Multi-Location Enterprises” to learn what digital strategies the most visible brands are employing to reduce ghosting and encourage consumer actions and engagements, as well as the significance of an omnichannel approach to online customer feedback and localized marketing.