When you look at the most successful ecommerce companies in your industry, can you zero in on the things that set them apart? In your pursuit of their differentiating factors, you’ll most likely discover that they’ve done an effective job of collecting and using customer reviews. Are you doing the same?
What the Numbers Say
Word of mouth is something that small businesses and startups with fractional budgets have always relied on in order to drive foot traffic and sales. In the world of ecommerce, the viral nature of web content and social media has made it an even more integral component of success.
Just how important are reviews in terms of ecommerce sales? Well, since 2010, BrightLocal has been conducting studies on the efficacy of online consumer reviews and the numbers seem to indicate that people are becoming increasingly dependent on this valuable form of social proof. Here are some of the takeaways from the 2016 study:
- 84 percent of shoppers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- 9 out of 10 consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business.
- More than half of people will visit a company’s website after reading positive reviews.
- 74 percent of people say that positive reviews make them trust local businesses more.
- 58 percent of shoppers believe the star rating of a business is one of the most important factors.
As the data clearly shows, consumers connect with review and ratings. It’s the equivalent of online word of mouth and goes a long way towards helping brands establish trust within their target demographics.
A separate study in the UK shows similar findings to those of the BrightLocal study. Specifically, it shows that 50 or more reviews per product can drive a 4.6 percent increase in conversions. Furthermore, 63 percent of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a website with user reviews.
Four Things to Know
According to this infographic by Invesp, 90 percent of consumers read online reviews and those that read excellent reviews are likely to spend 31 percent more when checking out. This is just another one of many pertinent statistics that point to the need for ecommerce businesses to invest in customer reviews. With that being said, let’s take a look at a few of the things you really need to know.
- Onsite Reviews Rule
Onsite reviews are super important if you want to connect with your customers and influence them when they’re at the bottom of the conversion funnel and ready to make a purchase decision. Onsite reviews should go on the homepage, landing pages, and individual product pages for maximum benefit.
- Third-Party Reviews Are Also Valuable
While you need onsite reviews, you should also be on the lookout for opportunities to connect with third-party websites that review products in your niche. Here’s an example of a website, Mattress Clarity, which reviews mattresses and analyzes individual products compared to other brands. This is an example of a site, Warable, which reviews wearable devices. There should be similar sites that apply to your products. If you’re confident in your product and are able to build relationships with independent review sites, this can be a great way to grow your reach.
- Sometimes You Just Need to Ask
According to the BrightLocal data, 7 out of 10 customers will leave a review for a business if they’re asked. Do you have a strategy for asking customers? If not, you’re leaving reviews on the table.
It’s important that you create a plan for asking customers for reviews. A lot of times, it can help to include some sort of incentive for providing a review, such as a coupon code, discount, or future perk. Either way, you’ll be surprised to learn that many people are willing to provide feedback if you simply ask for their opinions.
- Leverage Social Influencers
Reviews don’t always have to come in a standard website format. A positive mention from a social media influencer can have just as much – if not more – impact. Send free product samples to influencers and build relationships with them. If your product is high-quality and relevant to their followers, they’ll most likely provide some positive feedback. Not bad for simply sending a free product or two!
Putting It All Together
At the end of the day, few digital marketing elements can come close to matching the return on investment that genuine customer reviews provide. They’re organic, influential, and highly effective, regardless of the industry or niche.
Once you spend some time studying the numbers and reviewing the data, you’ll reach the conclusion that many other ecommerce business owners and marketers have already arrived at: Developing a plan for collecting and using customer reviews is paramount to success. Where will you start?