Social media and consumer voices are an integral part of any marketing strategy. Brand recognition is achieved through the many social outlets available to customers today, and increasing brand awareness is directly tied to how engaged your consumers are with your social media––specifically customer reviews.
If you’ve browsed any other online stores or even popular internet spaces such as Yelp, you’ll know that consumers love having their voices heard and airing their opinions on companies and products they love (and on those that they don’t love…). Take advantage of the word-of-mouth marketing for your ecommerce.
Customer reviews are known for driving sales, and many buyers have come to expect reading product reviews as part of the online shopping process. According to a 2012 Local Consumer Review Survey, “72% of consumers surveyed said that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.” Reviews help seal the deal for browsers.
While many businesses fear bad reviews, having a few negative ones actually help an ecommerce’s legitimacy in the eyes of the customer. So as long as you’re providing good service and an honest product, you don’t need to close the door on the major opportunity to increase conversions that is customer reviews.
In this post, we’ll address the benefits of customer reviews, particularly why they’re necessary and the SEO boosts they give. We’ll also break down negative reviews and why you shouldn’t be afraid, and how to get people to write reviews for your company and products.
Why Customer Reviews are Vital for Ecommerces
Plain and simple, in the present day of online shopping consumers expect to be able to read about their potential purchases and the experiences other customers had with the products and services. An ecommerce that does not offer customer experiences with the company and its offerings can be a red flag for frequent internet shoppers much like an apartment renter would be without past references––who would trust renting to someone who can’t offer an alibi to vouch for their credibility?
Not only are reviews necessary nowadays, but as proven by numerous metrics and trends, customer reviews increase conversion rates. Positive experiences from past buyers can negate any doubts browsers may have lingering in their minds that keep them from committing to make a purchase. They can also up-sell or help consumers narrow down what it is they want.
It is also worth mention that giving your customers a space to record their thoughts is as much good customer service as it is a marketing strategy for your ecommerce. Your customers want to share their experiences shopping with your online store and they want to be heard. There’s a certain level of satisfaction a buyer gets knowing that s/he can voice any concerns, hesitations, or accolades about your company and its products. It gives way to more transparency between you and your buyers.
Customer Reviews Boost SEO
While customer reviews are an integral part of the online shopping experience, and ultimately, reviews and feedback should be used to help a company grow and better itself, there are also side perks with reviews in addition to those two main points. Namely, customer reviews boost SEO for your ecommerce.
Search Engines Love Customer Reviews
By nature, customer reviews provide your online store and its website with unique content, and search engine crawlers absolutely love new content. It’s an easy and quick way for you to increase search engine rankings on result pages without much effort on your end––customer reviews are content you’re not responsible for and not burdened with writing. They also provide alternative text from stock manufacturing descriptions and details on products that are likely going to be used by other online stores too. To read more on how to produce engaging content on your online store that both search engines and consumers will enjoy, check out our previous post, How to Write Captivating Product Descriptions.
Customers search for reviews
As we mentioned earlier, customers have come to expect to be able to riffle through online reviews to determine whether or not to purchase an item from an ecommerce store. This means that they’re literally going onto Google, Yahoo!, or other large search engines and typing in the product name plus the word “review” or “ratings”, in search of detailed accounts of other customers’ experiences with the item. By having customer reviews and the word “reviews” and “ratings” on your ecommerce’s website, you can show up on the search engine result pages and drive this traffic to your store. Not to mention the reviews themselves are probably chock-full of keywords that will no doubt boost your search engine optimization and help with your search engine rankings. A win-win, for sure.
Utilizing Negative Reviews for Good
We certainly know that it stings to get a bad write-up about your company or its merchandise. No one likes hearing that they’re not liked or receiving harsh criticism instead of praise. But as tough as it may be, bad reviews are actually good for an online store; they increase the ecommerce’s crediblity and legitimacy in the eyes of the consumer. A store that has nothing but 5-star reviews seems fishy. “Who’s writing all the reviews?” customers will wonder. But if there’s a couple of neutral or negative experiences, a balance is struck and browsers are more inclined to believe that real people are behind the reviews.
Ecommerce expert Reevoo finds that negative review can improve conversion rates by nearly 67%. And that can be because bad reviews allow buyers to weigh the negatives versus the positives. They can calculate whether they’ll accept the chances of receiving a product with so-and-so blemishes or the potential of bad service in this one aspect; many may even think “that’s not that bad” based off the negative review and decide to purchase. A blend of negative and positive reviews allow browsers to see the whole picture and help them make an informed decision, whereas only good reviews may leave people wondering if there’s something they’re missing about the item or think it’s too good to be true.
Now the caveat is, of course, that too many negative reviews doesn’t help increase conversions either! No way would anyone buy a product if the majority of the reviews list a certain problem. A few bad experiences sprinkled amongst mostly glowing and positive reviews will help your website’s believability, but a mass of negative reviews won’t win you conversions. Be mindful of the proportion of bad versus good. Use negative reviews as constructive criticism on how to improve your ecommerce and better serve your customers so that they keep coming back and to attract new buyers.
How to Get More Customer Reviews
Now comes the nitty gritty–-we’ve laid out for you why you absolutely need customer reviews, so it’s now a matter of getting them. Luckily, as we said before, people love sharing their opinions. You just have to make the process as simple as possible for them and give them the outlet they need to detail and evaluate their experiences.
Make the process as simple as possible
Many folks are not writers. Or they just don’t have the time to hash out a descriptive account of shopping or the items purchased, so make it easy for them to rate and review your store. This could be done by giving them a fast click-and-rank option: 1 for terrible, 10 for excellent and then ask for the overall likelihood that they’d recommend you website to a friend. Or if you’d like to go more in-depth and give review-readers richer material while still making it quick and easy to access your company, list categories such as “Product Quality”, “Shipping”, “Customer Service”, etc. and then have them click and rate 1 through 10.
Use a third party review platform
A surefire way of getting customers to leave reviews for your products is to employ a third party review platform such as Reevoo, whose sole focus is to garner reviews for your commerce. Handing off reviews to a third party has two main benefits: first, less work for you. You’re not doing the groundwork of contacting past customers and asking them to rate their experience, and second, most third party affiliates will guarantee and authenticate customer reviews. This assures consumers that the reviews are coming from credible places and real past buyers.
Send a follow-up email asking for reviews
A smart strategy for garnering customer reviews is to follow-up after a customer makes a purchase and ask them to leave a review of the product they bought. Though, you’ll need to give customers enough time to use it after it’s received. Don’t wait too long, however! Customers may become apathetic and be less likely to review the product if it’s been too long. Provide a direct link or form to fill in the review to increase chances of people following through.
Keep all of this in mind and really maximize the marketing and SEO benefits of customer reviews for your online store.