What are customer reviews and ratings?
The customer reviews and ratings we will be talking about in this article refer to those that appear directly on a product page. For example, the average stars a product receives on marketplaces such as Amazon is determined by these ratings and reviews that can be read by scrolling down on the product page.
The importance of this seemingly simple form of customer feedback can’t be understated:
- 88% of people trust online customer reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- One bad review can equate to roughly 30 lost customers.
- 90% of potential customers look at reviews before even considering your business.
- 63% of customers say they rather buy from a site that has customer reviews than one that doesn’t.
With those figures in mind, let’s look at the importance of customer reviews in more detail and how you can drive higher numbers of them on your site.
Why are customer reviews and ratings so important?
Win the “Buy Box”
The “Buy Box” is an Amazon-specific term but applies to most online marketplaces. Multiple sellers can list the same product on Amazon. The Buy Box itself is the little box at the top right corner from where you can add a product you found to your cart. The seller that’s product features in the Buy Box has “won” the Buy Box by meeting certain performance requirements.
The most important factor in determining the winner is the overall customer reviews and ratings of the product. It’s therefore imperative that you make sure customers are happy with the product and the service they receive if you want to hold this trump card in your deck.
In case you don’t know what this is yet, SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the practice of implementing techniques to get your site ranked higher in search engine results. As by far the most widely used search engine worldwide, this generally means focusing on Google’s metrics for page ranking.
It’s imperative for online businesses to be competitive and aggressive in implementing SEO strategies. If not, you will simply be drowned out by all the other noise, brands, and content on the internet. For a full explanation of all the ways in which reviews and ratings affect your SEO performance read this article by FORWARD marketing.
No one knows exactly what these metrics are but it’s well-known by now that customer reviews and ratings play a significant role. As a matter of fact, Brighton SEO reckons it makes up around 9.8% of your ranking.
Customer perception and persuasion
"85% of consumers trust online reviews like personal recommendations" - BrightLocal
Just let that sink in for a moment… Think about it, how many times have you asked a friend, family member or colleague about a product and then based your buying decision on their first hand experience? For most of us, it would be quite often. Everyone takes the word of a business with a pinch of salt but as fellow consumers trust the experience and opinions of our peers.
If a business just flat out has no kind of review or rating system on their product pages or site, how are you to know what the customer experience is like? Wouldn’t you rather go somewhere where you can find comfort in others past experiences? Of course, you could also get negative reviews but you should rather focus on getting positive reviews than not having them at all.
How to get more customer reviews and ratings?
We have all been guilty of this: We buy a product and we are very happy with both it and our buying experience. However, when the time comes to review it we either flatout ignore it or say “Meh, I’ll do it later.” only to postpone it indefinitely.
So, how do you drive more customer reviews? Let’s look at some ways you can achieve this.
Solicit ratings and reviews
All you have to do is ask, as they say. As simple as it sounds, soliciting customer reviews and ratings is still the most effective way to encourage customer reviews for your product. One of the most common ways to solicit reviews is via email. However, do this with restraint as it can quickly become very annoying to your customers.
It’s good advice to ask for a review as part of the purchase confirmation email that can be followed up a few days later with another request reminder if the buyer hasn’t provided a review and rating yet. You should compensate for delivery times if it factors in.
The best results are achieved if the emails have a personal touch to it. Send them from individuals email accounts as opposed to a nameless company email and address them personally. Incentives should also be used very carefully as they can easily be misconstrued as bribes.
There is a plethora of customer review tools and widgets available at Wiremo that make it really easy to set up a review solicitation system on your account. These can be set up to either automatically prompt buyers for reviews or can be used to manually send out requests.
Provide a good service
It’s an unfortunate part of human nature that we are much more likely to go complain online about something negative than applaud something positive. If you go on Amazon or other review sites you will also see users giving companies a one-star rating even though there was only a very small fault and where a 3 or 4 star would’ve been more appropriate.
With such small margins for error, you can see how important it is to provide a flawless service, especially when it comes down to customer support. Many customers will still appreciate it and give a good rating (or change their previous negative one) if you take care of their concerns. At the very least, you might stop them from giving a bad rating in the first place.
Use analytics and identify reviewers
This is easy enough to do using your own online store’s analytics tools. You can easily filter and view users who also bought and reviewed products similar to yours. You can then contact them directly to ask for a review of your product as well.
Another way is to identify frequent buyers that also seem to have a good relationship with your brand. Build a relationship with them. Having advocates such as these that loyally buy your products and now having them review each one they buy does immeasurable good for your reputation and trustworthiness.