Have you ever made the decision to buy a product online because there were plenty of good reviews for it? If you have, you definitely aren’t alone. In fact, research shows that close to 70% of customers’ purchasing decisions are impacted by customer reviews. Product reviews can make or break a company, especially brands that are totally located online. Because customers cannot go into your store to look at your products before buying, they heavily rely on other sources of information, particularly customer reviews, to determine if they should make a purchase or not.
A prime example of the power of reviews is Amazon. Products with lots of reviews simply sell more, and often for a higher price. Products that don’t have reviews are hard to even find on the site, and likely won’t sell even if someone does come across them.
In this example, a simple (and typically cheap) item is a best seller in its category with a price tag close to $20. What makes people buy this item? The reviews. With over 2,100 of them, most being 5-star, people are happy to spend more money to get what they believe will be a high-quality product.
While reviews may pour in for items on Amazon, it is not always so easy for smaller ecommerce brands, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Product reviews will be just as (if not more) important for establishing your brand as it is for big name companies. If you are struggling to get your customers to provide feedback on your items, take a look at these tips and see what improvements you can make.
Make sure the process is easy
Your customers are busy people, so be sure to respect their time. Always remember that reviews help you and your brand, so don’t make the process frustrating. The form should be easy to fill out and not involve inputting a lot of personal information (you really don’t need more than their name and state where they live).
As for the review itself, be sure to have an open section for people to type their opinions. Short survey type questions are also okay, but don’t ask too many. The longer the process takes, the less likely you will have customers actually completing the task.
Reach out to the customer, not the other way around
Once a customer has purchased an item, be sure to follow up and email them requesting a review. Even if a customer wants to write a review, they might forget, or not know where to go to submit one. Include a link in the email that will lead them directly to where they need to go.
While you might be tempted to email your customers immediately after they make a purchase, be sure to wait a long enough amount of time so that they actually have time to receive the product first.
Offer an incentive
If you still are struggling to get people to review your products, consider offering some sort of incentive. For example, if you have some type of reward program, let customers earn rewards for reviews that they provide. Birchbox runs their Points Program that awards 5 points for each review a customer provides on products they try out. Those points can then be put towards the purchase of products from the website. The incentive doesn’t have to be large (and in fact shouldn’t be in this situation), but is instead something nice that you can offer to your customers as a thank you for their time.
Involve social media
Having reviews on your website is great, but don’t be limited to just that! Any opportunity you have to get people sharing your brand on social media is one that you should take. Create a hashtag that your customers can use to share their products via social media. Alert your customers of the hashtag in confirmation emails, review requests, and on your website and social media pages. The point here is to create a virtual community of people that are excited about your products and enjoy showing them off. Make sure to monitor these posts and interact with them as much as you can- people love that!
While it will take some time and effort to get a solid amount of reviews, the work will most definitely pay off. Good reviews function as free marketing for your products, and it is marketing that you know your customers will trust, as surveys show that 88% of consumers trust online reviews.
If you still need more convincing, a different study from Dimensional Research shows that the percentage of people influenced by reviews is closer to 90%. Depending on the research the numbers may vary, but the bottom line is that the majority of consumers will be greatly impacted by customer reviews.
Beyond the impact that reviews will have on your customers, they will also influence your SEO. Companies that have customer reviews tend to rank higher on search results, likely because Google is thought to use reviews as a ranking signal.
With all of this in mind you should fully understand now the importance of customer reviews. No matter how big or small your brand is, take some time to set up a system for collecting and displaying reviews. Your future customers thank you!