We all know they’re important, but with a recent study showing that 90% of consumer purchasing behaviour is influenced by online reviews, it seems their presence is vital to eCommerce sales. For years, site owners have been wary of making review sections too prominent, for fear of opening a can of worms and inviting criticism. They need to take that risk, in order to turn interested consumers into buyers. Consumers are guided massively by social proof. They seek reassurance from their social groups before they act on anything. Even the most independent of thinkers is not immune to the opinions of his or her peers. Reviews allow consumers to have their purchasing intentions validated by their peers. By taking note of others positive opinions on a product, consumers are given that little nudge towards the checkout that they were otherwise lacking. Consumers also like to gather all the information they can about a product before deciding whether or not to buy it. Consumer reviews allow shoppers to get more insight into what a product is really like and how it looks, feels and performs. By having this information to hand, risk is mitigated and consumers no longer feel like they are taking a leap in the dark with their purchases.
The question is not if you should allow reviews on your site, the question is how do you encourage those views in the first place.
One way you can get more reviews is by making it simpler and easier for consumers to leave them. Amazon has set the bar for reviews sections and many eCommerce sites now try and copy their blueprint. With a layout that includes the option to leave star ratings out of five and a bold and easy to find “leave review” button next to products, the Amazon review section is incredibly user-friendly. Remember, always make it easy to leave reviews for specific products and make the page where customers can do so easy to find. Another way of encouraging reviews is through creating an automated email system which sends a message out to customers that not only thanks them for their purchase, but invites them to leave feedback.
Remember that it’s not only your website where consumers can leave reviews, this can be done on third party websites also. The likes of Google, Yelp, and Facebook all allow for product reviews. Set your company up on these sites and remember to monitor them closely, thanking customers for their feedback and addressing the concerns of those who did not find your products satisfying. It is important to give consumers as many options as possible when it comes to avenues for leaving reviews if you really want to get a higher amount of them. There are also industry specific directories that might encourage users to give you feedback- depending on the sector you are operating in.
If all else fails you can always resort to rewarding your customers for their reviews. Consider offering coupons or discount codes to encourage buyers to share their feedback. It does take considerable effort to write a review and while people aren’t shy about letting you know when they are dissatisfied with your offerings, they don’t always let you know when they are pleased with your products, often they feel no need to do so; they’ve got what they wanted and don’t see any incentive to act further. The offer of a reward can soon change their minds though.
To encourage reviews, be sure to make it easy for customers to leave ratings via smartphones. Smartphone users are more likely to be on the move and under time constraints, so it is vital you make it easy for them to review on their phones. Offer a more succinct way of reviewing, perhaps only ask that customers leave a star or a numerical rating, these are easier tasks to perform on phones. Short Yes or No surveys are good solutions too.
Consumers will go from casual browsers to purchasers with ease if they read a positive review about your products. Your job is to encourage your previous customers to leave such reviews. Just make it clear and easy for them to do so and witness a much-needed rise in reviews.