Customer reviews are common place today on both large multi-national and smaller e-commerce websites. They also feature prominently on directory websites and social media networks such as Facebook and Google+, but how important are they, should be we be afraid of them and how can they help your business?
The Customer Experience
Put simply consumers trust online reviews, with approximately 65% of customers reading reviews before making the decision to buy. Even negative reviews can help and influence how shoppers feel and trust a product, but we’ll address this in more detail later. 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.
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.
Whilst the customer and user experience comes first, a positive side effect of online reviews are the SEO advantages. 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. Whilst Yelp, TripAdvisor and third party review sites such as Reevoo often rank well for company and product searches.
No one is perfect and the majority of consumers understand this. Therefore, if or should we say when a business receives a negative review, this can actually increase the trustworthiness by way of giving the positive reviews more credence.
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.
A negative review can also be turned around, by dealing with the customer directly offline and resolving their problem. This can result in the customer amending or removing their negative comments.
Website online reviews most definitely influence the decision of shoppers and inevitably impact on sales, so is it time you consider adding an online review function to your website? If you’d like some further help with online reviews including how to encourage users to leave reviews or the best way to monitor reviews left, our digital experts are here for a chat.