Word of mouth has always been the most powerful form of marketing. It is human nature to trust the recommendation of a friend or family member over any other type of advertising: It’s honest, it’s personal, and it’s reliable.
But what if you could get that same level of personal recommendation from a complete stranger? That’s the power of online customer reviews.
In the article you’re about to read, we’ll discuss why online customer reviews are the ultimate salesperson for eCommerce businesses and how you can make the most of them.
What Are Online Customer Reviews?
At its simplest, a customer’s online review is a written testimonial about a product or service purchased and used by an actual customer. These reviews can be left on the website of the business in question, on a third-party review site, or even on social media platforms.
There are two main types of online customer reviews that businesses should be aware of:
1. Ratings and Reviews
These are the most common eCommerce product reviews, and they usually take the form of a star rating (from one to five stars, for example) along with a written comment. Customers will often be asked to rate their overall experience and specific aspects of the product or service they purchased.
Testimonials are similar to ratings and reviews but tend to be more extensive. They also usually include the customer’s full name, location, and headshot. Many businesses will showcase testimonials prominently on their websites.
We can also differentiate between private and public reviews.
Clients review a product or service and share their reviews directly with the business through email, phone calls, or direct messages.
Public reviews are those that anyone can see; they are left on a website or third-party review platform.
Public reviews are more important for businesses because they are more likely to be seen by potential customers and impact their purchase decisions.
How Customer Reviews Affect Businesses
Both positive and negative reviews customers post online can have a major impact on your business. If you’re still wondering why online customer reviews are the ultimate salesperson for eCommerce, note that statistics show that 89% of B2B buyers search online for product or service reviews and photos before making a purchase decision.
The impact of customer reviews is evident in both the short and long term.
In the short term, they can help (or hurt) your business by influencing the purchase decisions of potential customers looking actively for information about your products or services.
In the long term, customer reviews can also help you improve your business by giving you insights into the areas where you need to make changes or improvements.
Of course, the effect of online seller reviews is not always positive. Businesses have been known to crumble due to negative reviews, especially when such reviews go viral. This is why it’s so crucial for companies to manage their online reputation.
What Can Positive Customer Reviews Do For Your Business?
Positive and authentic customer reviews can have many benefits for your business. Here are just a few examples:
1. They Can Increase Sales and Conversions
This is probably the most obvious benefit of positive customer reviews. If potential customers see that others have had a good experience with your product or service, they’re more likely to purchase it themselves. Higher conversion rates mean more sales and more revenue for your business.
2. They Can Help You Attract New Customers
In addition to increasing sales and conversions, positive eCommerce reviews can also help you attract new customers. After all, potential customers are more likely to trust a business recommended by someone they know and trust. This powerful marketing tool is called “social proof.”
With real customers’ words and sentiments about your product or service, your marketing campaigns will be more effective, and your advertising budget will go further.
3. They Can Improve Your Search Engine Ranking
In recent years, Google has increasingly used customer reviews as a ranking factor in its search algorithms. Businesses with positive reviews of their online stores are more likely to appear higher up in search results, which can lead to even more sales and conversions. The SEO factor is becoming increasingly important for most top-rated e-commerce platforms.
4. They Can Build Trust and Credibility
Positive online reviews can help build trust and credibility for your business. After all, if customers are willing to leave positive reviews, they must be pretty happy with your product or service.
This can encourage potential customers who are on the fence about your business to give you a try. Finally, potential customers are more likely to trust a business recommended by someone they know and trust.
5. They Can Improve Customer Retention
Positive online business reviews can also help to improve customer retention. If customers are happy with your product or service, they’re more likely to stick around and continue doing business with you. This is especially important for businesses that rely on repeat customers or subscriptions.
How To Get Authentic Positive Reviews - Our Tips
There’s a common misconception that happy customers will automatically leave positive reviews and unhappy customers will bad-mouth your business to anyone who will listen.
This is not always the case.
In fact, getting positive customer reviews requires an active effort. You need to reach out to your customers and ask them for feedback. Luckily, there are a few ways you can do this and improve your online reviews section:
1. Send a Follow-Up Email
After a customer has made a purchase, send them a follow-up email and ask them to leave a review of their experience. This is a great way to get honest feedback about your product or service. You can include a link to the comment box or a star-rating system in your email, attach a short survey, or even ask for video testimonials.
2. Use a Pop-Up or Sidebar Widget
Another way to encourage customers to leave reviews is to use a pop-up or sidebar widget on your website. These widgets can be triggered after a customer has made a purchase or spent a certain amount of time on your site. This makes leaving a comment more convenient for customers, encouraging them to do so.
3. Get Social Media Reviews
Online businesses’ reviews can be solicited via social media platforms. You can post about your product or service on your company’s social media page and ask customers to leave their thoughts in the comments. You can also run social media ads that link to review pages or use hashtags to encourage customers to post about their experiences.
4. Leverage User-Generated Content
Another way to get positive customer reviews is to leverage user-generated content to resonate with your target audience. UGC is any content created by customers, such as product photos, videos, or reviews. Once you create your eCommerce website and add UGC, you can use it for your social media pages or marketing campaigns.
5. Incentivize Customers To Leave Reviews
One of the best ways to get online reviews for your business is to offer an incentive. This could be a discount code, a free product, or entry into a contest. Customers are more likely to take the time to leave a review if they know they’ll get something in return.
How To Deal with Bad Reviews
No company is perfect, and even the best businesses will get the occasional negative review. The important thing is how you deal with those bad reviews. Companies need to consult online reviews daily and take the good with the bad.
When you see a negative eCommerce review, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and remember that not every customer will be happy 100% of the time. Here are a few tips for dealing with negative reviews:
Respond to All Reviews, Good and Bad
It’s important to respond to all customer reviews, both positive and negative. This shows that you pay attention and care about your customers’ experience. A simple “Thank you” is usually sufficient for a positive review. For a negative review, you’ll want to take the time to address the customer’s concerns and offer a solution.
Thank them for their feedback: This will show that you take shoppers and their reviews and concerns seriously.
Apologize for the inconvenience: Even if it wasn’t your fault, an apology goes a long way.
Offer a solution: Let the customer know what you’re going to do to fix the situation.
Follow up: Make sure to follow up with the customer after you’ve implemented your solution.
Don’t Take it Personally
It's important to remember that negative reviews are not a reflection of you as a person. They’re simply feedback about your business. Try not to take it personally and stay focused on finding a solution.
Use Negative Reviews as an Opportunity To Improve
Your online store reviews, even negative ones, can be a great opportunity to improve your business. Use the feedback to identify areas where you can make changes. Maybe there’s a problem with your product, or your customer service could be better. Whatever the case may be, use negative reviews as an opportunity to make your business even better.
Monitor Your Online Reputation
Finally, it’s important to monitor your online reputation. This means regularly checking review sites, social media pages, and other online platforms for mentions of your business. If you see a negative review, reach out to the customer and try to resolve the issue. If you see a positive review, share it on your social media pages or website.
Even though it might be tempting to buy positive reviews, it’s not a good idea. Not only is it unethical, but it can also lead to long-term damage to your business. It’s much better to focus on earning positive reviews through excellent customer service and offering incentives.
You can turn online customer reviews into a powerful marketing tool for attracting new customers. Just remember to be professional, respond to all reviews, and use negative reviews as a growth opportunity.
By Danica Djokic ·
The eCommerce landscape is constantly evolving. What was popular last year may not be so hot this year, and what’s trending now may be totally different a year from now. In the aftermath of the pandemic, we’re seeing even more changes in the way people shop online.
To stay ahead of the curve and nail your strategy, you need to stay up to date with the latest eCommerce trends. We've put together a list of factors that will shape eCommerce in the next few years so that you can make the necessary changes to your online store and outdo the competition.
B2C ECommerce Will Overtake B2B
Traditional in-person shopping may never be the same again. The pandemic has pushed people to shop online out of necessity, and many have found that they actually prefer it. Convenience, safety, and a wider selection are all big selling points for eCommerce. It’s no wonder that 52% of people who switched to online shopping for groceries said they wouldn’t switch back.
As a result, we expect to see a continued increase in online shopping even after the pandemic is over. This shift will have a big impact on the types of products that are being sold online.
We can already see new trends in eCommerce - a move away from heavy, bulky items that are difficult to transport and an increase in sales of smaller items that can be easily shipped. This trend is likely to continue as people become more accustomed to shopping online for items that they would traditionally have bought in-store.
Another big trend that we’re seeing is a shift from business-to-business eCommerce to business-to-consumer eCommerce. The rise of B2C over B2B is being driven by the fact that many small businesses have had to move their operations online in order to make it through the pandemic.
Even traditional businesses that relied on in-person sales are now turning to eCommerce to reach their customers. Manufacturing, healthcare, automotive, and insurance are just some of the industries that are starting to sell directly to consumers online. This new approach and innovative trends in the eCommerce industry might bring some new challenges. However, the benefits are likely to outweigh the drawbacks in the long run.
ECommerce Companies Lean More on Augmented Reality
The rise of augmented reality has been a game changer in the eCommerce industry, especially in fashion and home furnishing. This technology is being used by some of the biggest names in retail, including IKEA, Dulux, Lego, Sephora, and Nike.
AR allows shoppers to see how products would look in their homes before they buy them. This is particularly useful for items like furniture and home décor, where it can be difficult to visualize exactly how something would look in your home space.
Following the new eCommerce trends, AR has recently been used to create virtual showrooms and allow customers to try on products before they buy them. This can benefit the clothing and makeup industries, where you need to see how something looks on you before you make a purchase.
We expect to see even more retailers using AR in the next few years as the technology becomes more widespread and available to everyone.
AI Will Further Personalize the Shopping Experience
Artificial intelligence is already being used by many top-rated eCommerce platforms to personalize their customers’ shopping experiences. This is one of the latest eCommerce trends, and it helps businesses learn about customers’ individual preferences and use that information to recommend products based on a customer’s past purchases, browsing history, and search queries.
This technology is also being used to create dynamic pricing models that automatically adjust prices based on demand, competitor prices, and other factors. AI can also be used to help businesses manage their inventory and fulfill orders more efficiently.
In the future, AI is likely to become even more involved in the eCommerce experience. It will be used to provide customer support, process orders, and handle returns. We may even see robots being used to pick and pack orders in warehouses.
The use of AI will enable eCommerce shoppers to have a more personalized and convenient experience. It will also allow businesses to save money on labor costs.
Chatbots Will Become More Common
Today, customers expect their online shopping experience to be streamlined, so when they encounter a bottleneck or poor customer service, it’s very easy for a potential customer to abandon their cart. This means that eCommerce businesses need to find ways to speed up their fulfillment process. One way to do this is by using chatbots to automate customer service tasks.
A chatbot is a computer program that simulates human conversation. Ever since the first chatbot, ELIZA, was created in 1966, the service has been used to provide customer support, answer questions, and make recommendations. Many eCommerce businesses are already using chatbots, and we expect future trends in eCommerce to make them even more common.
For example, a chatbot can be used to answer common customer questions, provide order status updates, and take care of returns. This frees up customer service representatives to handle more complex issues.
In the future, we expect chatbots to become even more involved in the eCommerce experience. They will likely be used to handle a wider range of tasks, including processing orders and payments.
As AI becomes more sophisticated, chatbots will become more realistic and able to hold natural conversations with customers more easily.
Voice Search Will Become a Big Deal
As voice-activated assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home become more common, we expect voice search to become more prominent in global eCommerce trends.
Voice search allows for voice input, which is faster and often more convenient than typing.
As statistics indicate, about 75% of US households will own at least one smart speaker by 2025, making voice search an important factor in eCommerce.
As the use of voice-activated assistants grows and as they become an integral part of eCommerce’s future, we expect businesses will optimize their eCommerce sites for voice search. This means using natural language instead of keywords, including long-tail keywords that are more likely to be spoken than typed, and making sure that product pages are listed when someone searches for relevant keywords.
It will also become more critical for businesses to provide concise and accurate information on their product pages. This is because people are more likely to get frustrated with a voice-activated assistant if they have to keep asking for clarification on product descriptions.
Conventional Payment Options Will Take a Back Seat
As the world becomes more digital, we expect to see a shift from traditional payment methods to newer, more secure methods such as mobile payments and cryptocurrencies. Unlike recent B2B eCommerce trends, this one will have a more profound and lasting impact on the way businesses interact with customers.
With a variety of ways to pay for goods and services online, customers will have more choice and flexibility when it comes to how they make purchases.
We expect mobile payments to become more popular as people become more comfortable using their smartphones to make transactions. Contactless payments have become common during the pandemic, and established players such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay are likely to benefit from this trend.
Cryptocurrency is another payment method that is gaining popularity, particularly among younger generations. Bitcoin payments, one of the major new trends in eCommerce shopping, have been on the rise lately. As more people become aware of cryptocurrency and how to use it, eCommerce customers will have more options when it comes to how they make payments.
Headless and API-Driven Commerce is Gaining Momentum
Headless commerce is an architecture that decouples the back-end systems from the front-end. This allows businesses to build their eCommerce store using any programming language and framework they want.
API-driven commerce is a similar concept, but it takes things one step further by allowing businesses to connect their eCommerce store to any third-party service using APIs, a type of software that allows two applications to communicate with each other.
This eCommerce industry trend is gaining momentum because it gives businesses more flexibility and control over their stores. Companies can also get the advantage of the incorporated SEO, content marketing tools, and digital experience features. Finally, back-end developers and front-end developers can work independently of each other, which speeds up the development process.
Product Videos Will Become More Popular
As broadband speeds continue to increase and more people watch videos on their smartphones, customer engagement through product videos will continue to grow.
Short video content is a great way to show off your products in a way that is more engaging than traditional product photos. They are also a great way to showcase how your products can be used in real-world scenarios directly from your eCommerce store.
Unlike photos or descriptions, video content can quickly grab a viewer’s attention and give them an idea of what your product is all about. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, you need to start thinking about how you can use video content to showcase your products or services effectively.
Conversion Strategies Will Focus on Building Trust
In order to convert leads into customers, businesses need to focus on building trust. Multi-channel selling, Facebook advertising, and Instagram marketing are great ways to convert leads into customers, provided you focus on building trust with your target audience.
As recent online sales trends indicate, consumers are more and more skeptical of advertising and are looking for brands they can have confidence in.
This can be achieved in a number of ways, such as by displaying customer testimonials and reviews, social proof, and security seals. Another way to build trust is to offer a money-back guarantee or free shipping. This shows that you are confident in your product and that you are willing to stand behind it.
Finally, focusing on transparency (e.g., disclosing your business practices, the manufacturing process, etc.) and building a strong social media presence can also help any business in the eCommerce industry build trust with potential customers.
Big Data is a Game Changer
Big data is a term used to describe the large volume of data that businesses now have access to. This data can come from a variety of sources, such as social media, website analytics, CRM systems, and more.
Big data can be used to improve the customer experience in a number of ways, such as by personalizing the experience, identifying customer pain points, and improving customer service.
We've all experienced seeing suggestions on shopping platforms or search engines, and most of us have found them to be pretty accurate. The more data a company has, the better it can cater to its customer's needs, and this will become increasingly important in future eCommerce trends.
However, big data carries big challenges as customers are more and more concerned about data privacy. So, businesses need to make sure they are handling customer data responsibly and transparently if they want to keep using it to boost profits.
Mobile Commerce Will Continue To Grow
Mobile commerce is expected to continue growing in the coming years. According to statistics, mobile devices are used for over 40% of online transactions, their rising popularity indicates that this is one of the trends in online shopping that’s here to stay.
Mobile commerce offers a number of advantages for businesses, such as increased reach, shorter buying cycles, and improved conversion rates. It also offers many advantages for customers, including the ability to shop anywhere at any time.
If you want to stay ahead of the competition, it’s important to make sure your eCommerce platform is mobile-friendly. This means having a responsive design that looks good on all devices, as well as providing a smooth and easy-to-use mobile shopping experience.
Omnichannel Selling Will Become the Norm
Omnichannel selling is a term used to describe the practice of selling products through multiple channels, such as brick-and-mortar stores, online stores, mobile apps, and more. This eCommerce trend and approach allows businesses to reach more potential customers and provides a more seamless shopping experience.
In the past, businesses have often treated each selling channel as a separate entity. However, this is changing as more and more businesses are adopting an omnichannel approach. This shift is driven by the increasing popularity of online shopping and the need for businesses to provide a more cohesive customer experience.
As omnichannel selling becomes more common, it’s important for businesses to make sure they’re building eCommerce websites that can support it. This means having a platform that is integrated with all of your other selling channels and that provides a consistent experience for customers regardless of how they shop.
Environmental Sustainability Will Play a Big Role
As we become more and more aware of the impact our consumption has on the environment, sustainability is becoming an important factor in purchasing decisions. Customers that follow new online shopping trends want to know if the products they’re buying have been ethically sourced and if the company they are buying from is taking steps to reduce its carbon footprint.
In order to stay ahead of the competition, businesses need to make sure they’re considering environmental sustainability in all aspects of their operations. This includes everything from the sourcing of materials to the packaging and shipping of products. Customers are now more willing to pay extra for sustainable products, so there is a big opportunity for businesses that are able to meet this demand.
How To Make the Best Use of ECommerce Trends
ECommerce is constantly evolving, and it can be difficult to keep up. However, by staying informed and making sure your eCommerce platform is up to date, you can ensure that your business is able to stay ahead of the competition. To make the most of the latest eCommerce developments, consider the following:
1. Keep Up With the Latest Trends
To stay on top of your game, you must be proactive and regularly seek out new information. There is a number of ways to do this, such as reading industry news, following relevant blogs and industry influencers, and attending eCommerce conferences. You can get to know what’s going on in the industry and find inspiration for your own business.
Read up on the research data and statistics that are available on eCommerce growth trends. This can help you understand the current landscape and make informed decisions about where to focus your efforts.
2. Take Advantage of Digital Tools
There are a number of digital tools that can help you improve your eCommerce business. From marketing automation software to customer relationship management systems, there’s a variety of features that can make it easier to run your business and provide a better experience for your customers. Check the data and sales figures, and invest in analytical tools so you can understand where your customers are coming from and what they are looking for.
3. Learn From Your Competitors
It’s important to keep an eye on your competitors to see what they are doing and how they are reacting to the latest eCommerce retail trends. You can learn a lot from observing their strategies and understanding their strengths and weaknesses. Should they fail, you can learn from their mistakes. If they succeed, you can try to replicate their success.
As the global eCommerce ecosystem continues to grow and evolve, it's important to stay on top of the latest trends. Instead of leaning on traditional shopping methods, more and more consumers are turning to the internet to purchase items. Mobile phones play a big role here, as they provide a convenient way to shop on the go.
What's more, consumers are getting more comfortable with new technologies such as AI, AR, chatbots, and voice search. These eCommerce trends in technology are changing the way we interact with eCommerce platforms and retailers.
With all that said, we're confident that you now have a solid understanding of the current eCommerce landscape. Just remember to keep your eyes peeled for new trends so you can stay ahead of the curve.
By Danica Djokic ·
As a business owner, you are likely responsible for overseeing all aspects of your company’s operations. This includes setting your own salary. This decision can be difficult to make, especially if you’re not sure what’s standard or how to determine what’s appropriate for your situation.
In this article, we’ll discuss some factors you should consider when deciding how much to pay yourself as a small business owner.
What To Consider When Setting Your Salary
Setting your own salary can be daunting, especially if you’re a freelancer or small-business owner. After all, you need to make enough money to cover your expenses and earn a profit, but you don’t want to price yourself out of the market. So, what factors should you consider when paying yourself from your business?
One of the first things you should consider is your company’s business structure. Are you a sole proprietor? Do you have a business partner? Are you an S corp? Your company’s business structure will affect how much money you take home and how much in taxes you need to pay.
For example, if you’re a sole proprietor, you’ll likely take home less money than if you’re running a corporation because you’ll be paying taxes on both your business income and personal income.
On the other hand, if you’re running a corporation, you’ll only be taxed for your corporate income. This means that more of your business profits will stay within the company, which can be reinvested or distributed to shareholders.
Another factor to consider when paying yourself as a small business owner is your business expenses. How much does it cost to run your small business? You should consider expenses like rent, utilities, payroll, and marketing. You’ll need to make enough money to cover these costs, plus your personal living expenses.
One common mistake small business owners make is not accounting for all of their business-related expenses. Make sure you have a clear understanding of all the costs associated with running your business before you start setting your salary.
Personal Living Expenses
In addition to business-related expenses, you also need to account for your personal expenses, such as housing, food, transportation, and health care. Again, one common mistake people make is not accounting for all their personal expenses when calculating the business owner’s salary.
Another factor to consider is industry standards. What do other businesses in your industry pay their employees? This will help you determine a reasonable salary for yourself as the business owner. Of course, you don’t want to undervalue your services.
Ultimately, setting your salary comes down to determining what you need to earn to cover your costs and make a profit and then finding the right balance between pricing yourself too high and too low. By taking the time to consider all the relevant factors, you can ensure that you set a fair and competitive price for your services.
How to Calculate Your Owner’s Pay
You should consider a few balance sheet items when calculating your salary as a small-business owner. These include your monthly net income, all business-related taxes and fees, and business expenses.
According to some small business revenue statistics, 86.3% of small business owners earn less than $100,000 a year. However, this does not mean you must stay within this bracket. Below are some steps you can take to get a clear picture of a small business owner’s salary and how to calculate it yourself.
Calculate Your Monthly Net Income
Your monthly net income is the total revenue your business brings in minus any taxes or fees. This number can fluctuate from month to month, so it’s important to take an average over a period of time to get an accurate number.
Next, you’ll need to subtract all business-related taxes and fees. This includes income taxes, self-employment tax, and any other business-related expenses. Once you have your monthly net income minus taxes and fees, you’ll be left with your profit.
Calculate Your Tax Savings
The next step in calculating owner pay is determining your tax savings. This includes any deductions you can take for business expenses, home office expenses, and health insurance premiums.
You can consult with a tax professional or use a tax calculator to get an accurate number. Once you have your tax savings figured out, you can add this amount to your monthly net income to get your total monthly compensation.
Calculate Your Business Expenses
The final thing you’ll need to consider when setting your salary is your business expenses, including office rent, utilities, supplies, and employee salaries. Once you know how much it costs to run your business each month, it will be easier to calculate how much to pay yourself as a small business owner.
One mistake many small business owners make is not accounting for their salary when calculating their business expenses. This can lead to severe financial problems down the road, so be sure to include yourself in the equation.
By following these steps, you should be able to come up with fair and reasonable compensation for yourself as a small business owner. Remember to avoid common mistakes, and you’ll be on your way to success.
Ways To Pay Yourself
As a business owner, you have two options: Either pay yourself a salary or take distributions from your small business. Here are the pros and cons of an owner’s draw vs. a salary.
Paying Yourself a Regular Salary
To pay yourself a regular wage, just like you would an employee, you’ll need to set up payroll for your business and withhold taxes from your paycheck. One advantage of this method is that it can help you separate your personal and business expenses and make it easier to track your business expenses come tax time.
The downside of drawing a salary is that it’s subject to payroll taxes, which can eat into your earnings. Additionally, if you have a slow month or two, you may find yourself struggling to cover your personal expenses if you’re relying solely on your business income.
An Owner’s Draw
If you are self-employed and paying yourself a salary, an owner’s draw is another method you can use. This method is often used by small business owners with irregular or variable income. With an owner’s draw, you simply draw money out of your business bank account as needed to cover your personal expenses.
One advantage of this method is that you don’t have to worry about payroll taxes. Additionally, it can give you more flexibility regarding how much money you take out of your business each month. However, one downside is that it can be challenging to track your small business expenses come tax time.
So, which method is right for you? How to pay yourself as a sole proprietor? Ultimately, it depends on your circumstances and the needs of your business. If you have a stable and predictable income, having a regular salary may be the best option. However, if your income is variable or unpredictable, an owner’s draw may be a better option.
Paying yourself as a business owner can be a tricky task. And there’s no universal rule on how much business owners should pay themselves. However, by following some simple guidelines, you can ensure that you are fairly compensated for your work without putting your business finances at risk.
What’s most important is to find a method that works for you and your business. And, of course, to avoid any common pitfalls.
By Nikolina Cveticanin ·