Word of Mouth Still Top of Mind for Consumers at Retail


For nearly half of consumers (45 percent), the first time they hear about a retailer they’ve never purchased from is through friends and family, according to a new study by Yes Marketing.


In The Retail Shopper’s Journey to Loyalty, Yes Marketing surveyed more than 1,000 retail shoppers and found that word-of-mouth recommendations significantly outweighed other sources, including product review sites (8 percent), influencer recommendations (4 percent) and news sites (2 percent) when it comes to driving brand awareness. Moreover, 69 percent of consumers have avoided shopping with a retailer they’ve never purchased from before because of negative feedback from family or friends. The findings indicate that building trust and goodwill with customers early on is crucial for marketers.


The report found that comprehensive product information and message relevance are among the top factors that build trust with a new retailer. More than a third of consumers (36 percent) reported that having enough product information is the number one driver of trust in retailers they’ve never shopped with before.


“Building trust is key at the acquisition and retention stages of the shopper’s journey,” said Jim Sturm, CEO of Yes Marketing. “To win over skeptical customers, retailers must convince consumers that their products are valuable and that their brand is trustworthy, especially in industries like luxury goods, home furnishings and electronics where the price tag is higher and consumers purchase less frequently.”


In terms of the products themselves, almost half (47 percent) of consumers ranked price as the most influential factor in their decision to purchase from a new retailer, followed closely by quality (39 percent), indicating an opportunity for marketers to emphasize these elements in communications with new prospective customers. Additionally, when it comes to convenience, 40 percent of consumers rank shipping as the No. 1 factor in their decision to purchase from a new retailer.


“The number of retail options consumers can choose from has sky rocketed in recent years, and in order to survive in today’s competitive landscape retailers must implement effective lifecycle strategies at every stage of the consumer journey – from acquisition and retention to long-term loyalty,” said Michael Iaccarino, CEO and chairman of Infogroup, parent company of Yes Marketing. “Successful lifecycle programs that identify and engage consumers require a partner with a wealth of strategic, analytics and creative experience, access to reliable consumer data and proven technical expertise.”


Additional findings from the report include:

  • A third of consumers say relevant brand messaging is the most influential marketing factor when choosing to purchase from a retailer for the first time.
  • Nearly a quarter of consumers (24 percent) say proximity to a store is the most influential convenience factor when choosing to purchase from a retailer for the first time.
  • Across channels, 32 percent of consumers say they receive marketing messages too frequently from retailers they’ve purchased with, and more than a third (36 percent) say they receive too many emails.
  • Conversely, 7 percent of consumers say they receive marketing messages too infrequently from retailers they’ve purchased with.

To learn more about what motivates consumers’ decisions to purchase from a new retailer, download the full report here.