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.
- Private Reviews
Clients review a product or service and share their reviews directly with the business through email, phone calls, or direct messages.
- Public Reviews
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.