How To Use Customer Reviews As A Powerful Way To Boost Sales
Customer reviews are extremely important for eCommerce websites. They’re a wonderful way to build your reputation, trustworthiness and inspire conversions, driving sales efficiently. Someone else talking about how great your product is is way more authentic than you talking about how great it is. People love this authenticity and actively seek it out, with a whopping 93% of people saying that online reviews impact their buying decisions.
With this in mind, it’s clear to see why you should use customer reviews for eCommerce and start leveraging reviews on your website if you don’t already.
How to start generating customer reviews on your website
If you’re new to customer reviews or aren’t seeing an uptake in people submitting them, there are a few things you can do to help generate more. For starters, the more reviews, the better; customers have an innate trust when it comes to the amount of people buying your product and taking the time to leave a review.
If you’re wanting to generate more reviews, why not consider the following approaches?
Include a feedback request email in your post-purchase email campaign (along with thank you, and product recommendation emails). This prompt makes it easy for customers to have their say by providing a link in the email to an easy to fill out form or review submission page.
Easy to submit forms
Amazon’s feedback forms are a great example of an incredibly accessible and simple review form. To drive responses, your forms need to be as easy as possible for a customer to submit, so it doesn’t seem like an intrusion on their day.
Incentivise your review requests
Consider offering entry into a prize draw or running a competition to drive customer reviews. It’s a brilliant way to boost engagement and also delight the lucky customer who does win.
Showcase your customer reviews
Now you’ve got a steady stream of reviews coming in for your products, what do you do with them? Use them to your advantage and display them in prime locations on your website that will naturally encourage conversions.
Don’t file reviews away in some dusty corner of your website, instead, feature them on your product pages. The more accessible they are for potential buyers, the better. A lot of people are page scanners, only seeking out the standout points of information – display star ratings with complementary visuals next to product descriptions.
A recent study by Power Review reveals that 80% of shoppers search product reviews for health and beauty items while in-store, with 48% reading between 1 and 5 reviews while in-store before buying.
Cater to these customers by making reviews easy to access on your website, but also take them offline and display next to products in-store. Utilise your shelving and displays to showcase them, and try pairing with in-store special offers too.
Work customer reviews into your marketing efforts by including them in targeted campaigns. Personalise where you can using past purchases, interests or locations. Think about paid ads and social media campaigns and how you can incorporate your reviews here too.
Use reviews to gain better insights for customers
A fantastic use of customer reviews is to generate further product information through them. It’s a golden opportunity to provide shoppers in the decision-making process as much information as possible to drive the conversion.
H&M does this really well. Their ‘fit guide’ is a part of their review process, asking customers on the overall fit and quality of the product, collating this information in an overall score on the product page, helping customers make better decisions on products.
These aspects give more well-rounded review information and also helps reduce the number of customer returns due to poor fit.
As a part of the review process, it’s a great idea to enable customers to upload pictures of the product.
Pet supply retailer Zooplus are great at this and most products come with a set of pictures submitted by customers of their furry friends posing with their new products. It’s a really nice touch and allows customers to see what the product might look like in their home too.
Consider establishing a hashtag for sourcing user-generated content you can use for promoting items (just make sure you always ask for permission before using someone’s picture from their social media!)
Dealing with negative reviews
How you deal with negative customer reviews and poor feedback (especially when public-facing) can make or break you. As many as 87% of sites don’t bother responding to negative user reviews, so there is a huge service gap with this, where you can stand out amongst the competition should you come up against this. Turning a negative into a positive is an immensely attractive quality that future customers will take into consideration when in the decision process. It could well end up having more leverage on their final buying decision than the negative review itself!
Don’t shy away from negative reviews, embrace them. You can definitely use them to your advantage.
Don’t take it personally
As a business owner, you’re naturally going to be defensive of your company, service, and product. Same goes for anyone working for you in customer service roles, hopefully, they’re brand advocates and will want to spread the word of how fantastic your company is – so when a negative review pops up, it can be a hard pill to swallow (whether the comments are founded or not.) Take a step back and remain objective and professional in your response.
Learn from it
Reviews provide the opportunity to update content or fix problems with the item where necessary. This could be anything from the representations of the product on site not matching up to expectations in real life, sizing issues or fabric quality and durability.
Functionality issues are often cited in poor reviews, such as items claiming to be waterproof or leakproof but aren’t. If you’re receiving a high volume of reviews like this, use the feedback to fix the problem at product level.
Respond to these reviewers where appropriate, and let them know that action is being taken to make improvements based on their comments. People will appreciate the gesture and feel actively involved in your brand – turning a negative into something much more positive!
Monitor and engage with reviews
From time to time you may need to deal with angry or unreasonable reviews. They’re never going to be pleasant to read, but it’s important to monitor your reviews so when you do receive one like this, you can deal with it and respond accordingly. Some ways you can engage with a negative review in a positive way are:
- Thoroughly answer any questions customers may position in the review.
- Offer a resolution, they might not be using the item correctly or have misunderstood aftercare procedures that are resulting in problems.
- Offer to replace the item, or suggest an alternative where appropriate.
- Give a gift of goodwill – however, be careful with this as to not damage your bottom line! Where appropriate, this is a nice touch to resolving certain issues for customers.
Engaging with positive reviews
While responding to bad reviews is important, you should still also acknowledge positive reviews – a quick thank you can go a long way. According to Invesp, consumers are willing to spend 31% more with a business that has great reviews.
Engaging with positive reviews humanises your brand and people really appreciate small touches like this. Be careful not to over-do it though, don’t respond to every single review as that looks disingenuous!
Find a way that works for you in generating and engaging with reviews inline with your brand. Regardless of whether you’re dealing with a positive or negative review, you can leverage them to create brand awareness and drive sales.
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