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Reviews in ecommerce are as good as gold, although that may seem like a stretch of the imagination; there is some serious value there. In an industry such as ecommerce where we face unique challenges, it is important to focus on transparency to bridge the disconnect between brand and customers.
If customer reviews happen to be central to your ecommerce strategy, which can very likely be the case, knowing how to handle them is essential. This article will discuss the ins and outs of managing customer reviews, while also helping you to improve the rate and quality of the reviews you do manage to collect.
Why are positive reviews important?
It's hard to believe that as many as 95% of customers check reviews before completing a purchase. An even more staggering 94% of customers said that the quality of those reviews could make them avoid a business entirely. This demonstrates how influential positive reviews are on the purchasing process and what customers are looking for in those reviews.
Positive reviews are undeniably valuable to the ecommerce business model as they are an objective source of information and a verification method for customers. Reviews are also our most immediate tool for tackling issues with authenticity. Let’s look at the seven primary benefits of positive reviews in ecommerce.
01. Competitive Advantage
Comparing between brands is a very common practice in ecommerce since so much is unknown at a glance. It is common for shoppers to look specifically at positive reviews for guidance, which can ultimately determine what choice they make. In a competitive environment, your review profile can be a major competitive factor and ultimately decide what customers choose.
02. Trust and Credibility
The general rule is always transparency since it's essential in convincing new customers. Most businesses have a habit of creating exorbitant perceptions of their brand, which may not reflect reality. We need to honestly represent the quality of our products and the presence of independent reviews can help us build some much-needed credibility. Credibility is an important aspect of ecommerce because it’s a way of making our marketing more believable, similar to expert opinions and how they are designed to relay authenticity.
03. Enhanced SEO and Visibility
SEO is considered one of the most stable and consistent traffic sources in all of ecommerce. Reviews play a crucial role in your search engine ranking and searchability. Customer reviews can also be repurposed and used on multiple platforms besides your website. Reviews are also centered around a particular topic, suggesting that they can improve your customer targeting. And finally, positive reviews can help you cultivate your authority which can have multiple benefits.
04. Valuable Feedback
Businesses need some direction when introducing new products or tailoring their catalogs, and customer feedback is their most reliable source of insight. A major benefit of implementing customer feedback includes improving your understanding of customer demand and better fitting your brand into a particular niche.
05. Long-Term Growth
Positive reviews are amongst the best indicators of a business's long-term success as they originate from customers themselves. Positive reviews are also linked to revenue stabilizing properties which can pave a path towards a more sustainable future. Furthermore, these reviews can be a source of critical information about customer sentiment that can shape the future of a company. This combination of factors make a business more sustainable and information driven.
06. Customer Loyalty
Ecommerce success is heavily reliant on repeat purchases and customer loyalty. The better our review profile and the better we integrate customer feedback, the more resilient our customer retention. By engaging and representing customers' feedback, we can improve our relationship with customers and cultivate loyalty. Loyal customers are known as one of the strongest advocates of a brand, but their advocacy is reliant on how well you align your values to their needs.
07. Higher Sales
Positive reviews are linked to stable increase in sales revenue. The ability for customer reviews to creat trust leads to higher rates of customer engagement and conversions. We can see examples of startup businesses often prioritizing reviews for much-needed early social proof. Even a few positive reviews can make a major difference when compared to brands with no reviews. A well-executed social proof strategy is a necessary component to an optimal growth strategy.
What makes five star reviews?
There are numerous ways we can better utilize positive reviews to learn from shoppers or in our marketing strategy. How do we find those high value reviews and how can we better use them for our ecommerce business.
01. Specific and Constructive Feedback
On the rare occasion, customers can leave highly detailed reviews that can have some major benefit for your business. These golden nuggets of information, if implemented, are enough to produce a major impact on your operations. The more detailed the review, the more vivid the picture that they paint. The customer experience can reveal countless lessons on their experience with your brand.
02. Highlight Key Benefits and Features
Key features are where customers attach the most value, as a result, they can help us establish our brand. By bettter understanding key benefits or features, we can focus on what customers like most about our product or services. In the long-term, this could help us cement our competitive advantage and focus our energy towards the “right” goals. Information that customers provide on their favorite elements of our brand can shape our business goals.
03. Address Potential Concerns
There are countless cases of customers disappearing without lodging a complaint, which can leave us clueless. Needless to say, when a customer does express a concern we need to address it immediately and learn as much as we can from them. While going case by case resolving issues can be effective, finding and resolving the root of the issue is a more effective course of action.
04. Reviews with User-Generated Content
Some of the most valuable reviews come from user-generated content such as photos or videos. It's hard to deny the authenticity of a positive review if they come coupled with content like personal photos. UGC enriches product information and gives a vivid idea for future customers to reference. UGC is especially effective for building credibility and whenever customer leave UGC we consider that a win.
05. Signs of Continued Interest
Customers that allude to future purchases or express a hint of loyalty are an exceptional source of information. Understanding the reasons why a particular customer feels attached to your brand and finding ways to improve that emotional connection can yield substantial long-term benefit. These sort of reviews also serve as a strong indicator on your future prospects and communicate high confidence to other customers.
06. Details about customer experience
The customers experience naturally implies the experience “all” visitors have at your store. Since this can impact all shoppers, finding appropriate solutions to these functional issues is critical. While these reviews may not always be positive, their contents can have wide ranging implications, making them an excellent types of reviews.
07. Authentic and Personal
Authenticity is the hallmark of a great review. Whenever a customer demonstrates a genuine personal perspective they are more believable and their input more detailed. Keep a look out for reviews that convey a persons emotions, or describes how your product or services impact their lives.
08. Balanced Perspectives
Balanced reviews are uniquely advantages since they give you a realistic perspective on your product or service. These comments generally have arguments for and against a particular product or service and are objective. These highly constructive individuals can have reliable insights, since their perspective of your brand is more measured.
09. Relevance to Customer Needs
Positive reviews that talk about how your product resolved a problem or fulfilled a need are an outstanding demonstration of their utility. Specificity is essential for these types of reviews as they are intended to describe how a product resolves a problem. It is also worth looking for information about how your product or services can change to better fit those needs.
How to respond to positive reviews:
It is generally very easy to respond to positive reviews since the tone is already positive and there is minimal damage that can be down. What we want to focus on here to maintaining the status quo and deriving the most possible value from customers.
- Express Gratitude: A simple gesture such as thanking customers for leaving a positive review could be a start to a long and fruitful relationship. It's important to keep things on a positive note for constructive progress.
- Personalize your Response: Try being as detailed as possible and avoid sounding too generic in response. When customers get the impression that you are avoiding the issue or responding like a machine, they can be discouraged.
- Highlight Key Features: Respond to positive reviews by highlighting the things that customers mention. Reiterate their opinions on high-volume pages and make key features more noticeable.
- Encourage Loyalty: Take notice of repeat purchases and express your gratitude for their loyalty. Simply mentioning loyalty in plain view of all observers can help you towards your goals. Also, study the reasons and types of customers most loyal to your brand.
- Invite Further Engagement: Use the positivity to encourage future engagement and funnel customers to your other marketing channels like; social media, newsletters, and other products or services.
- Keep it Short and Sweet: There is a perfect combination of length and content when it comes to reviews. Keep it as short as possible while maintaining the right tone and attitude. When things are positive, maintain that positivity.
Example response to a positive review:
“Hi [Customer’s Name],
Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a positive review! We’re thrilled to hear that you enjoyed our [product/service] and that it met your expectations. Your feedback means a lot to us, and we look forward to serving you again in the future. If you have questions or need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
How to respond to negative reviews:
When approaching negative reviews we need to be more careful. We need to focus on being as delicate as possible with customers as these reviews can damage our reputation. We also want to be as direct and constructive as possible, focusing mainly on resolving any issues customers may have had.
- Stay Calm and Professional: Since negativity can be a sensitive topic, its important to remain calm and professional. Avoid defensive or confrontational responses no matter how seemingly unjustified the review may seem.
- Acknowledge the Issue: Start by acknowledging the customer’s concern or issue as directly as possible. Indicate that their concerns are understood and taken seriously.
- Apologize and Take Responsibility: If the customer has a negative experience, offer a sincere apology and take responsibility for any mistakes or shortcomings on your end.
- Provide a Solution: if possible, offer a solution to address the customer’s concerns. Whether it’s a refund, a replacement product, or another form of resolution, demonstrating a willingness to make things right can often turn a negative experience into a positive one.
- Transfer the conversion: To avoid a prolonged public discussion it may be wise to engage customers with more complex situations on alternative channels. By encouraging a phone call or email, you can also provide more in-depth service.
- Maintain Privacy: An important aspect to always keep in mind is the privacy of your customers. This means being mindful of the details you share about your customers.
Example response to a negative review:
“Hi [Customer’s Name],
I’m sorry to hear about the issue you encountered with our [product/service]. We take your feedback seriously and apologize for any inconvenience you’ve experienced. Our team would like to investigate this further and find a solution to address your concerns. Please reach out to us at [customer support email/phone number] so that we can assist you promptly. Your satisfaction is our top priority.
Ways to increase the number of reviews collected
Encouraging customers to leave more reviews has clear advantages. Here are some effective strategies to persuade customers to leave more reviews.
01. Provide Exceptional Service
Customer service is one of the first and best recommendations we can for gathering positive reviews. All things boil down to how well you cater to customers and fulfill their needs. Satisfied customers are far more likely to leave positive reviews voluntarily. Shoppers are also far more receptive to human interactions and grow attached to sincerity.
02. Timing is Key
There is an optimal time for everything in ecommerce. When following up with customers, it wouldn’t make sense to send a review request to those who haven’t received their order yet. It's possible to automate review requests and also anticipate delays and delivery times. A well-timed review request program can improve the quality and quantity of reviews you manage to collect.
03. Make it Easy
Simplicity is a rule of thumb in ecommerce which just means making processes as easy as possible. The more drawn out the process for leaving reviews, the less likely customers are to complete the process. There is no real value in a process that makes it difficult for customers to leave reviews. If you want to enrich customer profiles, you can add registration criteria with additional fields to deepen your customer profiles.
04. Loyalty and Rewards
By incentivizing reviews, you can make it attractive and highly engaging for customers to leave reviews. While this may be a great way to speed up review collection, remember that transparency is important especially when there is a financial value attached. Loyalty apps often have options that grant points for reviews.
05. Review Request Emails
Make it a standard practice to request customer feedback after every purchase. Email marketing is a very common tool for communicating with customers and they are ideal for asking for reviews. These emails integrate perfectly into your email marketing strategy and these emails are considered non-intrusive.
06. Visual Cues and Nudges
As a key feature of your ecommerce strategy, reviews need to be given an opportunity to be noticed. Placing visual cues across your marketing channels and highlighting reasons why customers should leave reviews can help you accelerate their collection. This approach can be used in your follow-ups and included in product packaging as cards or fliers.
07. Follow Through
On occasion, customers make suggestions of their own, and showing that their input is valued can lead to optimism toward your brand. This is a sure way of making customers feel more connected to a brand. Customer-centric brands often have the highest engagement rates.
Real-Life Examples of Businesses Affected by Reviews
Let's take a look at some real-life examples of businesses that have been impacted by customer reviews.
Casper: The Power of Positive Reviews
One example of a business that has benefited from positive reviews is Casper, a mattress company. Casper has over 50,000 five-star reviews on its website and has been featured in numerous publications, including The New York Times and TIME Magazine.
Casper's success is partially due to its commitment to customer satisfaction. The company offers a 100-night trial period and free returns, which has helped build trust with its customers. By encouraging customers to leave reviews and showcasing them on its website, Casper has been able to attract new customers and build a loyal following.
United Airlines: The Impact of Negative Reviews
In 2017, United Airlines faced a public relations nightmare after a video of a passenger being forcibly removed from a flight went viral. The incident led to a flood of negative reviews and a significant drop in stock prices.
United Airlines' response to the incident was criticized for being slow and inadequate. The company's CEO initially apologized for "re-accommodating" the passenger, which only fueled the anger of customers and the public. The incident highlights the importance of responding quickly and effectively to negative reviews and PR crises.
Union Street Guest House and their Yelp page
The impact was so severe that the incident received coverage in major news outlets like CNN, CBS, and The New York Times. Union Street Guest House was suddenly in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. The negative reviews had a profound effect on their reputation, brand, and media appearance, even though they claimed it to be a ’joke’.
The story doesn't end there. Union Street Guest House eventually removed the policy and issued an apology. It was a clear demonstration of the power of customer reviews. They can make or break a business. One bad policy and some negative reviews can turn a business's reputation upside down.
Customer reviews are an essential part of any business's success. They can make or break your reputation, brand, and media appearance. In today's digital age, customers rely on reviews to make informed purchasing decisions. And, with the rise of social media, negative reviews can spread like wildfire.
Reviews are especially important in ecommerce, where most of the issues involve trust and transparency. Reviews are a direct solution to some of the most pressing issues faced by small and medium-sized businesses. This article gives you a complete picture of how reviews can help you expand your business and how to properly manage them.
Frequently asked questions
Why use Reviews in your Ecommerce store?
Reviews give an authentic glance at your company through external voices. They create positive impressions and build trust with shoppers. Reviews are widely considered amongst the most important ecommerce tools.
Can you edit/unpublish user Reviews?
Measures to protect your business from malicious reviews is an important feature. Growave allows shop owners to publish, edit, and unpublish reviews. Additional features include verification badges, controls over who can leave reviews and the ability to highlight reviews.
Do Reviews impact SEO?
Reviews are excellent for SEO and make your shop stand out. They can be used to build your website's profile and can featured across your marketing channels.
Can you combine Reviews with Rewards?
Rewards compliment Reviews very well. They make it more worthwhile for the customer to leave a review and improve your company profile at the same time. Stores with hundreds or thousands of reviews have excellent track records and greatly benefit from them.
Can you create custom review forms and email requests?
If the templates do not fit your criteria, you can create your own review forms and incorporate them into your email notifications.