Consumer behavior teaches us that one of the pre- and post-purchase activities customers engage in are: the search for product/service information and evaluation. Consumers look to their friends and family members for user experience and recommendations. Online purchasing provides consumers the opportunity to get even more feedback from a wider pool of users.
Consumers trust reviews as much as their friends’ recommendations
Let me demonstrate it using an example:
Let’s say that I am looking for something that replaces a lid on frying pans or pots. It protects the stove top from getting dirty, is round and has a screen and I’m not sure what it’s called but my friends have one. I search for “frying pan screen top” and get a page of images showing the item with the right name: splatter screen.
I see that Amazon and Walmart, among other merchants carry this product. What is surprising in my search is that only IKEA and Canadian Tire are showing ratings (stars). In this case, IKEA has 4.6 stars, ahead of Canadian Tire who got 4.2.
Better reviews result in higher search ranking and ratings
I am drawn to visit their online sites because they have reviews and ratings, so I visited both sites to read the comments. The image(s), price and product descriptions helped in my selection, but more importantly, I get the benefit of other customers’ experiences with the product.
Why are good reviews so important?
Through all the search results, reviews can encourage the potential client to visit your site and learn more about the product, and better reviews result in a higher click-through rate. We can see in my search that IKEA only has 8 reviews (less than the 13 from Canadian Tire) but the product reviews rating are better so my first click was directed towards IKEA.
Reviews – their real impact
In any purchase, we trade money for a product or service. All transactions inherently come with a risk – will we be satisfied? are we overspending?
Consumers want to diminish the complexity and risk of making a bad purchase; they want to feel good about their decision. Some will do so by becoming brand loyal – they rely on past good experiences and come to expect nothing else. Others will rely more and more on recommendations from people they know and from online reviews.
Reviews increase conversion rates
Here are some of the most conservative statistics supporting the use of product reviews (based on an overview of the blogs and web pages listed as references below):
- 70% of consumers consult reviews
- The majority - 32% of consumers read 4 to 6 reviews before trusting a business
- 79% of consumers trust reviews as much as their friends’ recommendations
- 63% of consumers purchase from a site that has reviews
- Reviews increase the conversion rates by 14%
Does your website allow client reviews?
Ecommerce platforms such as Shopify have a product review feature where your customers can rate the product. nopCommerce also has the review helpfulness feature that asks (“Was this review helpful to you?”) and Magento lets you add plugins such as this one (https://ecommerce.aheadworks.com/magento-extensions/advanced-reviews.html) that allows for customizable features.
How to get reviews?
Encourage customers to leave product reviews by offering them a discount or promotion, invite them to a special event or hold a contest. Reach out to them by:
- Including a buck slip or flyer with the items you ship
- Emailing your customers a few weeks after the shipping date
- Using a plugin to send automatic review request reminders (for example, here’s one for Magento: https://ecommerce.aheadworks.com/magento-2-extensions/review-reminder/)
What about negative reviews?
Respond to negative reviews without delay, be genuine, take ownership of the issue and provide resolution where possible.
What if you provide services instead of products?
- Use a survey - Get client feedback from a short survey and offer them a reward – points/discount.
- Ask for testimonials - Testimonials may require more effort from you but they carry more weight. They are not anonymous and therefore require that you comply with your local advertising laws. (In Canada, consult the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards.)
Product reviews, ratings and testimonials help potential consumers save (consulting) time and grow trust in the product or business.
What is your strategy to get reviews from your customers? Can you identify your best clients and reach them?
Share your comments and thoughts on this topic with us at webhdt.com. We’d love to hear from you!
The following were used as references: