How much do customer reviews really matter
In case you’re still wondering what holds flout over a shopper’s decision making process, then you’re clearly missing out on the big picture here, which is customer review. Allow me to enlighten you on the impact that these reviews really make on an ecommerce company’s business.
If market statistics are anything to go by, a staggering 93% of shoppers prefer to read up customer reviews online before deciding to buy a product. Huge revelation, isn’t it?
But wait, there’s more and it just keeps getting interesting from hereon. Out of these readers, 72% admit that positive customer reviews prompt them to trust a business. Which actually kind of makes sense, right?
But that doesn’t mean positive reviews are all that can help you in conversion, because, surprisingly for some, negative reviews are equally important too. How come, you ask? Well, because 100% positive reviews for a business can very well be an indicator that most or all of them are potentially fake reviews.
And just so you might still be thinking that it doesn’t make any sense, here’s a little readup telling you why negative reviews are necessary. There’s also that little, but significant, detail about COVID-19 affecting the numbers game here.
For instance, it was revealed in a survey that 67% consumers preferred not to buy from a local business if online reviews mentioned missing COVID-19 safety measures onsite. While you will come across several reports, this customer reviews statistics from 2020 should help you prepare better for the future of your business.
How to use customer reviews to your advantage
Now that we’ve learnt customer reviews are an undeniably vital strategic tool that can help you convert a potential customer into a paying buyer, let’s show you how it can be used.
To begin with, you need to understand one simple but important fact - you WON’T possess this tool because it’s actually a platform for the customers. You can merely use it as a measuring indicator of your business performance and take necessary steps to improve your products or services.
Start by providing a dedicated space for your customers to leave their feedback on your products. Urge them, if you must, to leave their valuable feedback based on their experience.
You would be surprised how a big percentage of satisfied customers won’t leave any reviews simply because they “don’t have time” or they find the task cumbersome. And that’s where I’d like to draw your attention to ways through which you can convince customers to review your product, service or even brand.
Appreciating your customers for providing their reviews, positive or negative, is actually quite an effective method to keep them coming back with more. Here are some more easy steps that you can follow to boost some positive reviews for your products and services.
- Turn reviews somehow into an incentivized or rewarding task by awarding badges for completing successive levels - ‘Expert’ for 10 reviews, ‘Helpful Reviewer’ for getting 10 helpful votes, etc.
- Respond to customer reviews as much as you can, especially to the negative ones, promising to serve them better. This'll show that you care about their opinion and will ensure future reviews
- Provide a link on your homepage that will direct visitors to a dedicated reviews page. This'll convince them that you’re serious and dedicated
- Keep reminding them how much you appreciate their valued feedback, which, by the way, you shouldn’t forget to mention will take up less than five minutes of their time
- Other than offering virtual badges as incentives, you could seriously consider sending a gift or even ecash to few lucky winners
Using reviews to convert buyers & generate leads
Now that you know a little bit more about the art of generating customer reviews, let’s show you how to generate leads and convert buyers using these reviews.
1. The social proof technique
The social proof technique is a highly effective strategy to receive customer validation for your product, service and/or brand. With the expansive reach of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, sharing positive reviews left by your customers can set the wheels of online social influence into motion and generate better sales.
Another way you can instrumentalize social proof is by implementing a view meter on your product pages so visitors can see how many people are viewing the same product in real time. Nothing influences people better than social conformity. So, higher the viewer count on a particular product, greater the chances of a visitor conforming to that product’s value.
2. Visual content as approval
Sometimes buyers just need a little bit more than just readable content as reviews. That’s why, urging your happy customers to upload pictures of them with your product after a purchase can work as a stamp of approval and rest the concerns of unsusceptible buyers.
You can even go a step further and upload explanatory videos for your products on your YouTube channel. Some companies, in fact, send complimentary products to social influencers who in turn upload their video reviews on their website, YouTube channel or Instagram profiles.
3. Highlight the best reviews you received everywhere you can
Whether it’s a testimonial on your homepage or praise-filled product reviews, make it a point to spread and feature them on as many platforms as you can, including your brand’s social media profiles and even blogs. You could even go to the length of adding links or thumbnails of the reviews to the monthly newsletters that you send out to your customers.
4. Customize your testimonials
If you’re targeting a specific customer profile, or user persona as is popularly known, it would be a good idea to create testimonials by satisfied customers bearing the same persona, even if they are fictitious at times. And while we’re on that topic, if the testimonials are by genuine customers, then don’t forget to backlink them to the contributors' website or professional profile for authenticity.
5. Feature customers who are public figures
If you have a customer who turns out to be a public figure, a social influencer or a celebrity, let your modesty take a hike and feature them and/or their testimonials loudly to get more mileage for your brand. The youth are more susceptible to celebrity endorsement, although consumer buying behavior is generally influenced when a popular figure is roped in to be the ambassador for a product.
Spread the word around locally
While social media profiles do deliver quick and expansive results, if your business is more local in nature, you can fix up your business profile on popular platforms like Yelp and Google local business. Of course, there are several more industry specific platforms to advertise and promote your business.
For instance, if you are into restaurant and catering business, you can create a tripadvisor profile, which could even be the best way to attract more customers through the power of positive reviews.
Some industry leaders that did it right
What builds credibility for an eCommerce business, or any business for that matter, is the attitude of the company. If they set high importance to the experience that their customers had after using their products, it automatically builds trust in the minds of prospective buyers.
Let us look at how some of the leading online brands of the world have turned the customer reviews game to their advantage by playing it like a pro.
Being a global leader in the eCommerce industry, Amazon has covered the length and breadth of experience and the number plus variety of customers to keep improving their customer review section. They have an effective customer question and answer section in addition to reviews so buyers feel more comfortable and involved.
What’s more, Amazon also goes to the length of retaining and displaying negative customer reviews on their products pages. That is the sign of someone that doesn’t shy away from criticism and is willing to keep things transparent, even though it’s just a platform for Amazon sellers to sell their products.
Market research agencies like Nielsen charge top dollars to sell consumer behavior data to companies and here Amazon is offering precious consumer data for free.
American comfort (mattress) technology company Purple sure does know how to present their customer reviews on their website. Classy, organized and informative, they have a dedicated review section filled with reviews from verified customers to help prospective buyers make the right choice.
Their review section is an impressive mix of product images and videos posted by buyers, tags to help readers find specific reviews containing information they might be looking for and even the option to ask questions about their products.
In addition, to build credibility, the site offers a 100-day trial, 10 years warranty, and free returns. Talk about customer service.
When it comes to looking for travel reviews, nothing can beat Tripadvisor as the ultimate platform to find information on literally any city, restaurant, museum or activity in the world. In the travel category, customer reviews come pretty close to becoming literature that readers can dive into before deciding where they would travel to next.
The rate of reviews that users leave behind on Tripadvisor is actually mind-blowing and that’s one reason why travelers love to consult the platform - for extensive information and feedback. And Tripadvisor does everything to indulge its users for enhanced participation in the most user-friendly manner.
American audio equipment manufacturing company Bose is a well known brand in the global market. With high-end audio equipment designed for audiophiles quite like the late founder himself, the company has given a series of products that provide impeccable sound quality for a small fortune.
But, even with all the reputation that the company has garnered, they are not without criticism and they take it like a sport. Just like Amazon, being a leader in credibility, Bose also chose to put up every review that it deemed to be helpful for the buyers, positive and negative alike.
All service companies will necessarily need reviews. Service received is an experience passed through and can be vouched for only by the customer that ultimately reviews it for reference. In the case of a carsharing service, reviews are all the more essential because it’s not some product that you can return and be refunded for.
There are passengers who might use the car sharing for drives as long as 10-20 hours. So, sharing customer reviews of their rideshare experience will be the only thing that will induce newer customers to try it out.
Popular P2P carsharing company Turo takes customer review philosophy seriously and puts up reviews plus information on all their available vehicles as clearly as possible to help users make the right and preferred choice.
Customer reviews on an online business are akin to word-of-mouth in the brick-and-mortar world. To win the battle of the wallet, business owners need to respect and encourage their customers to write reviews, which they can display with all transparency to convert prospective consumers to loyal consumers.
If you’re a business owner looking for some help in attracting customers to your products or services, we have the most seasoned marketing experts who’d be happy to show you how it’s done. For a more detailed and personal conversation with us, get in touch with our marketing experts.