Online reviews are an important factor in a customer’s decision to purchase. ReviewTrackers reported last month that 92.4% of customers use them to guide the majority of their ordinary purchasing decisions, 40% of online customers use social networks to research new products and brands, and 94% of people avoided a business due to a negative review.
These statistics demonstrate how important it is to have a strategy to generate and interact with online reviews.
Reviews generally appear on your own website, usually an integrated platform, on social media or on a dedicated review platform like Google or Product Review.
There are two major reasons reviews from your customers are so crucial to the success of your business. Firstly, neutral or negative reviews give you an understanding and the possibility to develop a better understanding of your service and products. You can have that real feedback from your customers where you may be failing to meet customer needs and create a better path, with fewer roadblocks, for your customer journey like we discussed in a recent blog on common roadblocks in Checkout.
The second reason is the opportunity to reach out to potential customers, but using positive reviews and feedback as customer testimonials. It is much more likely – over 90% – that a customer will purchase after reading a positive review.
Getting Customers to Write Reviews
Retailers can be reluctant to ask their customers to take the time to write a review, knowing that asking too much of them can spoil their experience with the brand and hinder repeat business. But reviews are a special case. People love to share their opinions, and with an average length of just 200 characters, it doesn’t have to be an imposition.
If you are using a quality review platform integrated with your website (see list below), make sure it is mobile-friendly. As we have reviewed previously in the power of mobile experience, the ability for the customer to use your mobile-friendly site allows for reviews to be posted at more convenient times.
Depending on your business there are a variety of methods for gathering reviews. These range from the best-case scenario, where you receive unsolicited praise and immediately ask the customer if they would mind putting that in a review, to emails to existing customers, to requesting a review as part of the post-purchase checkout procedure. For B2B, your partners will understand the value of reviews and you can review each other.
Make it easy for your customers by providing links to where they can write their reviews, most importantly including Google and Facebook, which now account for 76% of all online reviews. Yelp and Amazon may also be important depending on the nature of your store.
Whichever way you get your customers to provide a review, get them to focus the feedback they provide. The top three things people look for in a review are product performance, purchaser satisfaction, and product quality. It’s also worth noting that 28% of customers are likely to leave a review after a positive experience, while 34% will after a negative experience.
Once a customer has left a review, especially if it is negative, do not ignore it. Only 36.7% of consumers receive a response to their review, yet 53.3% of customers expect a response within a week. Replying to reviews can turn positives into repeat business, and negatives into positives.
Dealing with Positive Reviews
Don’t let a positive review go to waste. Share them on your social media channels to help build positive momentum amongst your customers, and encouraging them to also contribute positive reviews. For example, this could mean posting to your Facebook page, or formatting as a quote and putting it up on Instagram.
On sites such as Google, Yelp and TripAdvisor, you can also mark positive reviews as helpful, which has the effect of moving them further up the pecking order so that they are more frequently read.
Crucially, respond to every review. Thank the customer for taking time to offer feedback, and invite them to return to your site to check out whatever is your latest marketing priority. If you’ve got a promotion happening, let them know. Not only is responding the polite thing to do, but it can also help your SEO ranking, so ensuring you use your business name and keywords in your response is a must.
Dealing with Negative Reviews
Responding to negative reviews is more difficult than positive ones, but you must do it! If you respond to a one or two-star review within 24 hours, there’s a 33% likelihood that the reviewer will update their review and increase their rating.
This is not an opportunity to establish that you were right and the reviewer was wrong. This is a time to check your ego, thank the reviewer for their feedback, and to provide an avenue to address their concerns.
Responding to negative reviews isn’t just about addressing the concerns of the writer, but is also your opportunity to demonstrate the character of your business to anyone reading the review. Potential customers are 44.6% more likely to visit a local business if it responds to negative reviews.
In your response acknowledge and apologise for their negative experience, tell them that you take pride in having an excellent reputation for the specific goods and services you provide, give details so that you can take the conversation offline, and keep it short and simple. It is best not to use your business name or keywords in your response to negative reviews. Remember SEO?
Here at The Playhouse Group, we are now helping retailers and businesses integrate and educate on platforms like Livechat. Part of the best practice of reviews and feedback is making it as real-time as possible. We will talk about these types of options at a later time.
In short, all reviews are important and generating and responding to them must be part of any eCommerce strategy.
A leading review platform, Trustpilot, states, “that behind every review is an experience that matters.”
Here are some common review sites and platforms: Bazaarvoice, Turnto, Livechat, Trustpilot, Trustspot, Amazon Customer Reviews, Choice, TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google My Business, Yahoo! Local Listings, Facebook Ratings and Reviews, Twitter…
And of course, Your Own Website.
Need help finding a Ratings and Review platform to integrate with your store? We have worked with the likes of Smile.io, BazaarVoice and TrustPilot and can help you make an informed decision in regards to your next platform purchase. Why not book a free 30min consultation with specialist Peter Krideras now.
Get in touch with our team and we can talk to you about this or any eCommerce questions you may have.