In a modern world that prioritizes the accessibility of information through the Internet, it is undoubtedly important for businesses to have a strong online presence and virtual dialogue with their customers. Nearly 97% of people say that they look to the Internet to help select a product or business. Retail brands that juggle anywhere from tens to hundreds to thousands of brick-and-mortar stores will run into a unique challenge when it comes to creating a strong online presence and connecting personally with their customers. How can a multi-location retail enterprise keep up with and manage the online chatter of countless customers visiting multiple brick-and-mortar locations? The answer can be found in hyper-local, AI-powered brand intelligence.
Brand Intelligence (BI) combines structured and unstructured data to provide actionable insights into a company's reputation, customer perceptions, competitive landscape, and industry trends and developments. Tapping into and using this valuable data is the key to multi-location success.
With the help of AI-powered reputation and brand intelligence platforms, businesses can efficiently access and manage their unstructured data to help multi-location brands optimize online visibility, reputation, and CX strategy at scale.
The Role of Online Reviews as a Tool to Improve CX
In early 2023, Chatmeter surveyed nearly 1,400 people, and found that 89% of those surveyed rely on online reviews to judge a business and over 67% see reviews as a necessary first step in making purchasing decisions. The survey, in summary, validated that customers strongly desire a two-way conversation with brands through online reviews, finding that 60% of respondents view company responses to reviews as valuable.
Online reviews are important to consumers. Consumers today want businesses to engage with them in meaningful conversations about their concerns. They want brands to hear their complaints and/or praises and respond accordingly. Businesses that recognize this importance and commit to providing thoughtful, specific responses, paired with correlating actions will be rewarded with improved customer experience, loyalty, and trust.
To remain relevant and competitive, multi-location retail enterprises must gain full visibility of their customer’s thoughts, expectations, and opinions – and that requires integrating AI and machine learning technologies into your BI tech stack to access l real-time, straight-from-the -voice-of-the-customer insights.
Implementing reputation and brand intelligence platforms can yield measurable results for retailers. A great example of this is Brookshire Brothers. Once a single general store in Texas, the retail chain now includes over 200 employee-owned locations encompassing seven brands with grocery stores, gas stations, coffee shops, pharmacies, and more. As it grew, the organization wanted to promote positive customer experiences and ensure the data about their locations was accurate. In 2019 it implemented an AI-powered solution and saw positive results quickly. After one year, the company achieved more than a 25% increase in five-star reviews, a 38% increase in page one rankings on Google, and an 81% rise in Yelp reviews.
Brookshire’s BI tech helped the brand:
- Boost visibility on local search channels
- Optimize listings across online directories like Yelp, Google, and Apple Maps
- Increase the efficiency of responding to reviews and feedback
- Enhance the customer experience online and off
Creating Personal Relationships with Customers Using AI Tech
AI-powered solutions using Natural Language Processing (NLP) have revolutionized the way businesses can collect and analyze customer feedback, enabling businesses to gather insights from a wide range of online review platforms across all of a brand’s brick-and-mortar locations.
With sentiment analysis, businesses can quickly determine whether the feedback is positive, negative, or neutral and identify common issues and concerns to adjust operations and marketing strategies accordingly. By using AI-powered solutions, multi-location businesses can gain insights into the unique preferences of local customers and tailor their offerings to meet evolving customer expectations and needs, while maintaining a positive online reputation.
When the voice of the customer is heard and prioritized, retailers can begin to fully understand the vital aspects of their business that influence customer experience. Leveraging the power of AI and NLP can allow businesses to make data-driven decisions that drive business success and growth. AI-powered deep listening technology is an essential tool to manage a retailer’s online reputation and encourage brand loyalty, increasing profit and creating a competitive advantage.
Cynthia Sener, MBA, is President, Go-to-Market, of Chatmeter, the only reputation management and brand intelligence company to combine AI-powered deep listening with real-time CX agility. In 2023, Chatmeter released a new consumer survey report that highlights the impact of online reviews. The report looked at consumer behavior and perceptions across four vertical industries: retail, restaurant, healthcare, and financial services.