E-commerce development results in increased competition and thus more options for the consumers, who are harder to convince to choose our store. Therefore, the company must stand out from the competition preferably at the first contact with a potential customers. What can convince them? Reviews about the product they are interested in.
However, reviews are not only important in the world of e-commerce. Many consumers still seek knowledge on the Internet, read reviews, compare offers, and then go to a stationary store and purchase the products they are interested in there. Thus, reviews have an important role for both online and stationary stores, so I will suggest what to do to get the most out of them for your business.
Consumers who decide to buy a product online must first trust your brand. They need confirmation that they are making the right decision, because then they feel less risk in making the transaction. This decision is made on the basis of product descriptions, photos, price comparisons, to be finally confirmed as the right choice based on the reviews of customers who have already checked the product and assessed its quality.
Customer reviews are considered social proof of legitimacy, which means that customer reviews are perceived as more reliable than the descriptions presented on the store’s website. Therefore, your goal should be to get as many positive reviews of your products and the company itself as possible in order to stand out from the competition, outrank them in Google search results, and validate the choice of your offer.
User-generated content is highly desirable for any business, which is why it’s a good idea to include sourcing it in your company’s marketing strategy. This content, of course, can be reviews, which you will use on your website, as well as on social media.
On your homepage, you can include a widget with customer reviews, which will show how many consumers have already trusted your company and are satisfied with your products.
On social media and your newsletter, you can occasionally show off a review or message from a customer (if he or she agrees), thus building a positive brand image. You don’t need to prepare special layouts, you can add a screenshot of it on Instagram, and then save it in featured instastories.
Product reviews in the store displayed on the product sub-page positively affect the visibility of your site in the search engine. How does this work? Well, product reviews can show up in the search results in the form of stars, which attract attention. Thus, even ranking outside the top 3 of search results, you can get a good portion of visits to your site.
If you have stationary sales in addition to your online store, it’s worth looking into local positioning through your Google business profile. Pay attention to how potential customers search for local businesses. Most often, they type phrases like “furniture store Wrocław” into the search engine and as a result, they get results in which just below the ads there is a section of the map with three company proposals. Of course, geolocation plays a big role in the local results. However, a well-filled business profile with many positive feedbacks has a very good chance of being among these three matched companies.
You should know: With a business profile optimized for a local key phrase, you can get 25% more traffic to your website.
Displaying evaluations and reviews on the store’s site arouses interest and, above all, trust among customers, which translates into purchasing decisions. What’s more, the possibility to add reviews using the evaluation form for a given product shows, in turn, that the company is open to dialogue with customers and is not afraid of possible negative comments, because it wants to constantly improve its offer to meet the expectations of regular and new customers.
If, for example, a customer receives a discount from you for future purchases after a review, you will create an opportunity not only to increase profits, but also to gain another loyal customer. At this point I will cite an interesting relationship referred to as the service recovery paradox: if you solve your customer’s problem, they will become more loyal than those who went through the purchasing process unscathed.
It is a good idea to get reviews on external sites (e.g. Google, Facebook), i.e. where consumers are looking for them. The number of reviews on company profiles is important in building reputation – the more there are, the better. However, the quality of reviews plays an even greater role in the purchase decision. Of course, this does not mean that only positive product reviews are important. Negative comments properly taken care of by a company can do a lot of good, because consumers want to know how you respond in crisis situations.
One element of online reputation management is gathering reviews. However, it is also worth ensuring that every review (regardless of content) receives a response from the company. This way you show that your customers’ opinions really do matter (if that’s the tone of your response). The response should come as soon as possible, should include gratitude and, in the case of a negative review, also an apology. Remember to remain professional when responding to each review.
Collecting feedback from your customers is not a simple task. Especially with satisfied customers, the motivation to give feedback is very often not high enough. Therefore, you should invite the customer to write a few words of review. If you want to conduct a satisfaction survey, try not to make it long, preferably let the customer know the number of questions right away in the message.
Above all, the invitation to give a review must be personalized. Your customers certainly get a lot of requests for feedback, satisfaction surveys, so most simply they may not have time. In addition, consumers are tired of the same messages. That is why your feedback request message must stand out from other similar ones with a human factor. How to do that?
Do not write “Dear customers,” but “Agnes” or “Mr. Paul.” Pay attention to the subject line of the message, which should be catchy and encourage people to open an e-mail. Use elements of your brand’s visual identity (logo, colors, etc.), as this increases brand recognition. Send short evaluation forms. Don’t forget to emphasize the importance of feedback (explain why you are asking for it). The timing of sending the invitation is also important. Preferably a few days after the customer receives the order so they have time to test it. Don’t be afraid to send a review request again.
Many store owners, wanting to have as many positive reviews as possible, outsource their writing to employees or third-party companies. The European Union has responded to such unfair business practices in the Omnibus Directive, and the government is currently working on a law that will respond to the EU document. Of course, there will be fines for violations of the act, which is why buying reviews is a really bad idea that can cause you a lot of problems. You can read more about the EU directive here.