Have you ever bought a product because someone you trust shared their good experience with that product or the brand in general? Not only that – think of all the times you were about to make a big purchase. How did you come to your final decision? If one of the things you’ve done was reading online reviews, you belong to 88% of customers who rely on online reviews to make purchasing decisions.
This makes customer reviews a powerful tool for your marketing strategy. In this article, you'll find out how customer reviews can benefit your business, illustrating by some real examples.
We are social creatures who have been learning from each other and sharing our experiences for ages. Yes, it might have started by using gestures to “talk” about the best forests to hunt and the best place to pick the juiciest berries, yet nothing has changed. In this modern age, we still rely on each other’s positive (or not so much) discoveries and more often than not, let them influence our decisions.
That leads to the concept of social proof. Social proof is the idea that most of us make our decisions based on the opinions and actions of others, especially those whom we trust. Whether consciously or not, we depend on previous buyers’ experiences when considering buying something. You are reluctant to buy from a company after reading negative reviews on its website, aren't you? Neither are 94% of consumers, according to a ReviewTrackers’ report.
Customer reviews are a form of social proof, but they have more weight than any other type of it. What distinguishes customer reviews from, for instance, endorsements provided by celebrities (or influencers) is that they are much more genuine, relatable, and trustworthy. They don’t carry that “advertisement vibe,” and that is exactly what makes them so important for any business.
To be successful in the ever-growing e-commerce industry, you need to be transparent about anything your business is providing. Since your customers can't physically touch the products before paying the money, you need to assure them that they are choosing the right one. By collecting and showcasing genuine customer reviews, you, as the shop owner, indicate that you are confident in the quality you provide. As a result, shoppers also feel more confident when buying your products.
As trust is one of the driving factors for better conversion rates, happy customer reviews help to get your buyers off the fence and make a positive impact on your sales. Those who still have doubts or can’t choose among several options can be gently nudged in the right direction by just a few positive product reviews.
You might have not looked at customer reviews from the SEO perspective, but here's why you should. Google "thinks" of good customer reviews as meaningful content, which means that you get the chance to rank better in organic search results. Moreover, customer reviews are "content" that comes with the right keywords, which helps potential customers discover your business easier.
Last but not least, customer reviews, whether positive or negative, point out what’s right or wrong about your business. As an owner, you may not see your products and services the same way as your customers do, which makes feedback a useful source of learning. You may find out what to improve about the product itself, how to make your delivery process more efficient, etc. This gives you a better overview of the way your business is operating and how you can make it better.
The impact of happy customer reviews on your business growth can be significant. That’s why some businesses try to gain as many reviews as possible, and not always in an honest manner. By hiring people to write good things about them or doing it themselves, businesses blur the line between real and fake. The result? Lost customers’ trust.
One way to prevent the doubt and appear more trustworthy is to collect verified reviews only, and that’s easy with a review app. After your customers’ orders are fulfilled or delivered, they’ll get an email asking about their experience with your products and can click on a unique link to provide their feedback. Their reviews will be marked as verified reviews when you display them in your store.
That’s a win-win situation. For customers, it’s a guarantee that the reviews they’re reading are from people who purchased at your store. As a result, authentic reviews might encourage them to proceed to the checkout, which turns out great for your business.
Customer reviews that tell stories and provide some additional context have a higher chance of building an emotional connection with your potential customers. Many people go through the same things in life. Those who are already looking for a solution to fulfill their needs may find a story-telling review relatable to their situation. This can make them feel that the product they’re reading about is exactly what they need, thus inspiring them to get it.
Although reading stories is great, customer reviews that cut right to the chase are sometimes even better. Customer reviews that specify the results give your potential customers an impression of what they'll obtain if they make the purchase. They don’t usually form any emotional bonds – instead, they’re telling the direct impact the product has made on the previous buyer's everyday life, and that's what makes it powerful.
Deciding to buy something when you know it’ll bring you positive results is so much easier than questioning it blindly. If it worked for somebody else, there's a chance it'll also work for you, right?
The more information customers have, the easier they can make a decision. When good customer reviews have already described most of the features and functionalities of your products, store visitors won’t have the wrong assumption or bombard your inbox with basic questions. That's right – think of such reviews as a kind of user-generated content that helps you deliver a better shopping experience.
Although such reviews can help customers learn a lot about your business, they do not always provide enough information for you – the owner. There might be some hidden information you'd like to know beyond the star ratings or the review itself, for instance, how the customers found you, whether or not they are willing to recommend your business to their friends, or what they’d like you to improve.
That’s where custom forms can come in handy. By adding custom questions in your review requests, you can learn more about your customer behavior, their experience with your brand, evaluate your customer service skills, or find out about any other concerns. Even if you get some negative feedback, think positively – it’s a great opportunity to improve.
Whether you have received a positive or negative review, responding to it shows your prospects and customers that you take it seriously and are willing to improve their experience. By doing this, you are telling your customers that they won't be left alone if anything else goes wrong, and can be confident in shopping at your store.
Furthermore, by responding to a negative comment and trying your best to solve their issues, you can regain your trust from a disappointed customer. Responding to a 1 or 2-star review within 24 hours has 33% higher chances that a customer will come back and upgrade it by as much as 3 stars.
We all know that visuals have a special role in marketing. Hence, customer reviews that come with pictures can have a much stronger impact on your store visitor's decision to do (or not to do) business with you.
When shopping online, there's no better way to know how a product looks like in real life than seeing someone using it. By providing that authentic feeling, review photos help potential customers determine whether they likes a product or not, and whether that item would look nice in their surroundings.
This is the user-generated content that impacts purchasing decisions of almost 80% of people, according to Stackla. On the flip side, the similar content generated by the brand itself can impact only around 13% of customers. Makes sense, though – we already established that people rely on other customers' decisions, so enabling shoppers to add visual content to their reviews can greatly benefit your business.
Nearly 90% of customers who do not speak or can’t read English admit that they won’t even consider shopping on an English website. Speaking the same language is one of those things that create the tightest bonds between people. If you’re running your businesses in different markets, multilingual reviews are essential. Not only for overcoming language barriers, though. Collecting and showcasing reviews in your customers’ languages help you avoid miscommunication and give a more personal feeling to your customers.
Letting your customers speak for your brand is one of the best ways to drive business success, and in today’s highly competitive environment, this can’t be overlooked. The good news is – customer reviews are entirely in your hands. Everything you do – from the first interaction with the customer to the post-purchase experience – shapes shoppers' opinions about your brand. Take advantage of the right tools to ask your customers for reviews, and use these reviews as your social proof to build trust with your customers and feedback to improve your business. Showing what you do best is a great way to increase conversion rates and boost your business growth.
This article is contributed by Renata. Renata has been working with content for more than 5 years now. Started as an editor at a popular online entertainment magazine that mostly covers light, heartwarming topics, she then switched to writing copies for e-commerce. Currently, she writes content for Shopify apps - Senderium and HelpCenter app, aimed at making e-commerce merchants’ lives easier.