How online retailers can use customer reviews to increase sales

In our work we frequently see the cases when online stores, especially new ones, get decent traffic to the site, but don’t observe many conversions.  One of the reasons of such problem is that visitors don’t receive enough information to make a decision about the purchase.  In this post we will talk about how customers reviews can help you easily override this problem and enjoy the sales volume your store deserves.

Customer reviews do great job.  They help soothe the fear of your potential customers and provide as much information about the product or service as they need.  Unlike shopping at brick-and-mortal stores, buying online don’t give a possibility to instantly talk to a sales assistant or ask a friend for advice. However, your online store visitors may read reviews left by people who have already bought from your store. Such reviews can provide a trustworthy feedback on your product or service.

Customer reviews make essential contribution to ecommerce sales and statistical data proves this fact. According to survey made by BrightLocal.com in 2013, 8 in 10 customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.  85% of respondents said they read online reviews to determine whether a local business is a good business, while 73% of people replied that positive customer reviews make them trust a business more.

The Emarketer report refers to Bazaarvoice study, which found out that people who read customers reviews are 81% more likely to make a purchase and 27% more likely to make a return visit. Moreover, such visitors spent more than twice as much time on the site than those who do not interact with user-generated content. Furniture retailer Room & Board research showed that products with three or more reviews make up 68% of the company’s online sales, while an average order value is 21% higher for users who have read an online review. Quite impressive.

So where to get customers reviews from?

Email follow-up

A nice way to ask a buyer to leave a feedback is to send an email after a purchase has been made.  Just like Amazon does it. The key point here is to determine the time correctly. On one hand, impressions from shopping should be still fresh in customer’s memory. On other hand, customer needs some time to test it and form the opinion.

Product pages

A good way to push the sales of a newly released product is to ask user for a feedback right on the product pages. Best conversion optimization practices stress the importance of customer reviews on product pages and their impact on user’s decision. Moreover, customer reviews on product pages are welcome in terms of SEO. Usually, product page’s content is slim and duplicated throughout the store.  Peoples’ feedback creates lots of user generated content that enriches product pages and improves their rankings on the search engines.

Offer small gifts

Sometimes you may need to add some incentive to encourage your customer to leave a feedback. Offering a bonus in exchange for a review is a widespread tactic among online retailers.  It could be discount on the next order, little nice present, opportunity to enter a contest, etc.  You may tell your customers about this opportunity right on the site or in the post purchase email.

Integration with social media

Social networks is a place, where it is easy for people to share their thoughts and opinions. A big benefit is that in social media a person is surrounded by a network of friends and relatives – people whose opinion matters the most. Thus, product review left on social media has broader reach and greater impact. Give your customers a possibility to leave a feedback without leaving a social media account or enable reviews integration with Facebook, Twitter, or Google +, for example.

 Customer reviews providers

One of the best ways to simplify the process of getting customer reviews is to use a third party reviews provider. Yotpo has been known to be a convenient plug and play solution that helps ecommerce owners get more reviews from customers and generate more sales. Its application available on the most popular ecommerce platforms such as Magento, Shopify, Prestashop, Bigcommerce, and can be installed in minutes.

This free-to-use app not only offers your clients a fun way to read and write the comments. After the purchase is made, a follow-up email asking to leave a review is automatically sent. In order for your customers to feel this email is a natural part of buying process, there are tools to customize the look and message of the letter. 38% of emails sent by Yotpo are viewed by customers.

Using people’s love for social to the fullest, the app allows to share the review on Facebook, Twitter,LinkedIn or Foursquare instantly. Fans who click the image on the message they see will be taken to your product page right away. What is more, with special Social Q&A built-in feature there is a sort of community where store visitors can start a conversation with past customers any time.

Yotpo reviews are submitted in the form of html which makes it easy for search engines to crawl them and use their content during evaluation of the page rank. Lots of unique, user-generated content increases your chances to appear in the search results for long-tail keywords, which can attract a substantial volume of quality traffic to your store.

So let’s sum up. From  SEO side, customers reviews is good because they differentiate product page and help achieve better rankings in the search results. In terms of conversion optimization, customers reviews improve user experience as they help visitors evaluate their potential purchase and find what best fit their needs. An opportunity to hear the opinion of real people and start a conversation with them on social networks creates a good ground for quality future purchases at your store.

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