The following is a guest post from our Partners at PowerReviews.
95% of consumers use reviews, and 86% consider them an essential resource when making purchase decisions. Reviews not only play a big role in a consumer’s path to purchase, they’re also a powerful tool for driving traffic and sales.
In fact, based on an analysis of more than 14,000 product reviews across more than 100 retailers in the PowerReviews Network, we’ve found that when a product gets its first review, traffic to the product page increases by 108% and the conversion rate increases by 65%, on average.
Most likely, you’ve been collecting reviews and displaying this content on your product pages for for quite a while. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Now, it’s time to start getting this great, conversion boosting content in front of more shoppers this holiday season.
Here are five ways brands and retailers can maximize the reach and impact of user-generated content:
5. Compile Review Data Into Holiday Shopping Guides
Hunting for the perfect gift for each person on your holiday shopping list can be pretty stressful. During the holidays, consumers are often shopping for products they’re not as familiar with. This requires additional research, including turning to ratings and reviews. According to the National Research Federation, in 2016, nearly three out of four holiday shoppers said they considered product reviews to be important when shopping for holiday gifts.
By analyzing your review data, you can make it easy for shoppers to find great gifts for everyone on their lists and highlight top-rated items in various guides on your homepage and category pages, including:
- Holiday Favorites
- Top [Category] Products
- Most Loved Gifts
Let’s say you’re a brand that sells toys and games for children. A visitor navigates to your site, in search of a toy for their three year old niece. He’s a single guy without children, and isn’t used to buying kids toys. It might’ve been decades since he last used one!
After landing on your homepage, he notices your website has a navigation feature that allows him to see top rated toys, which leads to various lists of top rated toys. He clicks through “Top Rated Preschool Toys,” which your team compiled by analyzing the review data for items in this category. Relieved and grateful, he notices a cool learning toy on the list, and he feels good about adding it to his shopping cart.
After he purchases this toy, send him a post-purchase email, asking him to share his feedback about the toy. Consumers appreciate having their voices heard, and soliciting feedback will help you foster an ongoing relationship with him. Then, the next time he’s in the market for a gift for his niece, he’ll be far more likely to skip the research phase and navigate right to your website.
4. Include Reviews in Cart Abandonment Emails
Shopping cart abandonment is an all too common occurrence for ecommerce brands and retailers. In fact, according to data from SaleCycle, during the third quarter of 2016, nearly three quarters (74.1%) of retail consumers added items to their online shopping cart, but left the website before completing the transaction.
One impactful way to bring these shoppers back to your site is to send cart abandonment emails to your site visitors. Including star ratings and review snippets for the items the consumer has in her cart will make these emails even more effective. While it sounds simple enough, this social validation gives her the extra boost of confidence she needs to check out. Bonus points if you include a review snippet that mentions a specific item being a great gift!
3. Add Star Ratings to Digital Holiday Advertising
Everyone is bombarded with advertisements during the busy holiday shopping season. To make yours stand out, add star ratings and review snippets to your social media, email, display and other digital marketing campaigns.
For example, you’re running a social media campaign to promote a makeup gift set. Next to the headline or copy, you can add the average star rating for the set in your social media ads, as well as an excerpt from a review that mentions the set being a great gift.
Or, you could run a display campaign that promises to take the guesswork out of holiday shopping by directing consumers to your holiday shopping guides, compiled with your ratings and reviews data.
Think about how you can leverage audience segmentation for a specific advertising channel to make these ads as targeted as possible. For example, let’s say you’re running an holiday ad campaign on Facebook. Tap into the “Parents” category in the demographic targeting, and segment parents with children of various ages. Then, serve up ads that include review content for gift items for children in each age group. This will help busy parents identify toys that other parents with children of the same age love.
2. Enhance In-Store Signage with the Voice of the Consumer
Though ecommerce continues to grow at at an exponential rate, many transactions still take place within a physical store. And according to a report from the National Retail Federation, 47% of shoppers say they browse physical stores to discover gift ideas.
If you have brick and mortar stores, catch shoppers’ attention this holiday season by including ratings and reviews on your in-store signage.
It can be as simple as including star ratings and a snippet of a review on cardboard signage alongside the products you’re featuring for the holidays, similar to what Amazon does in their bookstores. The bonus is that you can continue to use this signage, even after the holidays are over.
1. Syndicate Reviews to Retail Partners
In some cases, a consumer will purchase an item directly from a brand’s ecommerce site. But other times, a consumer will make the purchase on the website of a retailer that carries the product. Make sure you’re reaching both types of shoppers by syndicating your reviews.
There are two ways merchants commonly collect review content today. The first is through native reviews that are collected, moderated and posted directly to brand or retailer sites. The second is through review sharing -- which we call syndication. In this scenario, brands collect their own product review content which, after product matching and moderation, is then shared to a vast network of participating retailers who sell those same products on their sites. Once shared to the syndication network, this brand review content is then auto-displayed on the product pages of retailers that accept syndicated reviews.
Syndication is a win-win for brands and retailers alike. Brands that syndicate their reviews to retail websites benefit from increased reach. Retailers that accept syndicated content have the opportunity to grow their review content, without having to collect the content themselves. In fact, 58% of our retail customers’ review content comes from syndication. In other words, review syndication gets you more eyes on the product reviews you collect on your site.
Consumers have nearly limitless options when it comes to shopping for holiday gifts. At the same time, consumers trust the opinions of others like them. Make sure you’re standing out this holiday season by getting your product reviews in front of as many shoppers are possible. Best of luck this holiday season!
About the Author
At PowerReviews, Theresa O’Neil serves as senior vice president of marketing, where she is responsible for the development and execution of programs to raise awareness, generate leads, and support direct and indirect channels to grow revenue and profitability.