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How to make online reviews work in your favour

The importance of customer online reviews cannot be underestimated. Vital for every business, in every sector, online reviews are particularly important for ecommerce businesses as they rely heavily on feedback from past customers in order to sell to prospective ones. So why are so many businesses forgetting or rebuffing the importance of online reviews? If you’re not sure how online reviews – whether good or bad – can work for you, keep reading.

Why do you need good online customer reviews?

The rise of internet shopping has led to the increased importance of positive recommendations for ecommerce. According to research undertaken last year by econsultancy, 61% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision. So essentially, positive user reviews can help to increase conversions. Eradicating any seeds of doubt that your offering won’t live up to expectations, positive reviews help in product selection – and can even help to entice additional purchases. Still need convincing? According to the review website, Reevoo, 50 or more reviews per product can increase conversions by an impressive 4.6%, while iPerceptions noted that 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews.

61% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision - econsultancy survey

50 or more reviews per product can increase conversions by an impressive 4.6% - Reevoo survey

63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews - iPerceptions survey

Not only can reviews help to generate leads and sales, but they can also help your SEO

Many ecommerce sites rely on SEO in order to stay above their competitors, so it’s important that they do everything within their power to improve their organic optimisation. As many ecommerce sites stick to using the same manufacture descriptions that may be present on multiple rival sites, this can in fact cause websites to rank poorly. However unique user-generated content – in the form of reviews, for example – can help to a differentiate product pages in search results. Because, as we all know, search engines love fresh, unique content.

As we’ve already established, reviews are an important part of the purchase process. And that is only likely to grow as more people turn to the internet to supply them with goods. As a result of this, people are searching more and more for the name of a product, followed by ‘review’, in order to find out more about it. By including reviews on your website, you’ll rank higher, and as a result, could actually secure purchases from your site.


Should you include bad online reviews too?

No business wants to advertise bad customer experiences, however bad reviews can actually work in your favour. After all, would you trust a site that had nothing but five star reviews? We’re not suggesting you highlight your bad reviews if there are an abundance, however a couple out of 50 for example could actually help you to look trustworthy.


How do you get reviews?

Hopefully all of the above has helped you to realise the positive benefits of customer reviews. If this is the case, but you don’t know where to start, follow these pointers to make sure you get good, honest and unique reviews from real customers:

Use a review provider

Feefo, Reevo and Bazaarvoice are all good places to start. Many retailers utilise these to make sure they get reliable reviews for use on their site. This user generated content can be really valuable to get prospects to engage with your brand more deeply. Many of these providers also offer widgets you can publish on your site to show off your objective customer review score.

Send a courtesy email post purchase

One of the simplest ways to collect feedback is to email your customers after they have made a purchase. Simple, quick and easy, these can be automated so you don’t even have to think about them. And if you want to get really smart you can segment these emails based on what people have bought and how much they spent or their overall value to your business (if it's their 4th purchase, acknowledge that rather than sending the same review message they would have received after the 1st, 2nd or 3rd!)

Offer incentives

If your customers are stubborn, then offer an incentive – such as 10% off their next purchase. Proving to be wildly popular, this trick can also help you to make a further sale.

Social Media reviews

In the absence of a reviews provider, turn to social media to source review content. One of our clients, Chia Charge has some amazing comments on their products from their highly engaged Facebook community. This content gets shared on emails to customers through screenshots from Facebook that show the reviews have not been made up. Don't forget to respond to positive and negative comments on Facebook though. It's a sin to see companies who never respond, especially to complaints, which actually offer a great way to demonstrate your commitment to making customers happy and turning their complaint into a positive story.

Have you tried any of the above? Let us know!