Customer reviews are commonplace today on both large multi-national and smaller ecommerce websites. They also feature prominently on directory websites and social media networks such as Facebook. You know they must be important, but how so, should you be afraid of them and how can they help your business?
Credibility = Conversions
Put simply, consumers trust online reviews, with approximately 65% of customers reading reviews before making the decision to buy.
There’s little doubt that positive reviews increase conversions by reassuring potential buyers that the product will fit their needs and is worth the money. Indeed online customer reviews are 12 times more trusted than manufacturer product descriptions alone. This undoubtedly increases sales and even encourages shoppers to spend more.
Customer product reviews work best when placed on the relevant product page so the potential buyer can see all the details without moving away from the page. Amazon cleverly use their ‘Top 3 Customers Reviews’ first before listing others, but also add the ‘Most Recent Customer Reviews’ too
Managing Negative Reviews
Heard the phrase “all publicity is good publicity”? To an extent, the same applies with product reviews. 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad scores, while 30% suspect censorship or artificial reviews when they don’t see any negative opinions among the reviews they read.
Some customers are just impossible to please, and we know that. In fact, sometimes a negative review encourages people with positive experiences of the product to retaliate and stand up for the brand. Either way, you can use these as valuable feedback for future versions of the product, or to identify gaps in the market.
The real problems come when negative reviews increase, then so does the likelihood of customers trust in your company or product being lost. To negate this happening, building a solid base of positive reviews will give some protection against any negative reviews in the future. Although if there are a number of negative reviews about the same problem, for example, complaints about delivery this could indicate an issue with your systems or delivery provider which could be rectified and improved.
One of the biggest mistakes a large number of businesses make online is to not respond to the feedback they get. Everyone gets some negative reviews both online and offline, the best way to handle the online ones is to show genuine sympathy and try to rectify the situation. This will show that you genuinely care about your customers and that any mistakes made were honest ones.
Whilst the customer and user experience comes first, a bonus of the continuous flow of online reviews is that it’ll improve the search engine rankings of your products. Customer reviews help to provide:
- Unique and fresh content
- User generated content
- Improved rankings for the brand
- Improved rankings for products
- Increased click-through rates
- Social media shares
In addition to customer reviews on your own site, Google reviews are often displayed against a brand or location search within Google. Yelp, TripAdvisor and third party review sites such as Reevoo often rank well for company and product searches.
Making the Most of Reviews & Ratings
Adding customer reviews to your website should be relatively straightforward with well-known plugins like TrustPilot or Feefo. It’s also worth taking a look at Google Customer Reviews – it’s free and lets you collect feedback from customers to calculate an overall eligibility score, which you can then display on your website, Search Ads and Shopping Ads.
When calculating ratings, Google will reference data from its own sources and other independent review sites. However, Google Customer Review extensions will only be triggered when your store reaches 150 reviews, collected within the last 12 months and with a minimum of a 3.5-star rating. Therefore, if you want to start showing review on your website straight away, you may want to consider paying for TrustPilot or a similar platform.
If you don’t already have these, adding social media icons to your website, and especially your product pages, will be a quick win for building your social fan base and encouraging customers to take conversations about your products to social. They can be your online brand ambassadors and might help you gain free social media PR.