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Campbell

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The eCommerce Marketing Blueprint

The Importance of Reviews in eCommerce

Posted on 3rd September 2014 , by Kunle Campbell in Customer Retention, Customer Reviews & User Generated Content

Customer reviews are a common feature in online retail. It’s not just site owners looking for decoration, or feeling that since everyone else has them, so my site should too. In fact, customer reviews are one of the best-researched and supported ways to improve the credibility of your store and drive up revenue and conversions.

One statistic says it all:

Reviews produce an average 18% uplift in sales.

How?

61% of customers check reviews before they buy online.
(Some surveys put this figure as high as 77%!)

But maybe that’s just part of the browsing process. After all, if reviews are there people will read them – on its own, it doesn’t show how much customers actually care about reviews.

In 2013, BrightLocal released the findings of that year’s Local Consumer Review Survey, which showed that 73% of consumers said positive reviews made them rate a business more highly; only 12% claimed to disregard them. For more traditional forms of marketing you’d have to almost invert those figures. A 2010 survey for eMarketer found that customer reviews were 12 times more trusted than messages from manufacturers. And 79% of consumers in that survey said they trusted online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

So if you have reviews on your ecommerce site, for 8 of every 10 visitors that’s as good as someone they know recommending you.

And people don’t just love to read reviews. They love to write them too – so much so that 47% of British consumers have reviewed products.

So you can take all that engagement and conversation and word-of-mouth credibility that social marketing offers and host it right on your website, displaying the best of it to browsing prospects and encouraging a conversation between consumers who are talking about your products, on your ecommerce site.

Engagement is important here. Break down Reevoo’s 18% uplift in sales, and you get an 11% jump in conversions, and a small but significant 2% average order increase. But the visitor return rate also jumps 5%. People are coming back – in some cases, to write reviews!

User-Generated Content – SEO Benefits

When they do, it’s great for SEO. Firstly, you’re getting fresh, unique content for search engines to chew on – content you didn’t have to pay for or produce, and that your customers trust and actively want to read, yes, but fresh, constantly evolving content that bumps you up search rankings too.

User-generated content can differentiate a page: if your product pages use a standard manufacturer’s description, customer reviews can make that page stand out to search engines just as if the content on it had been rewritten. You’ll rank more highly in the SERPs, and you’ll rank higher in your customers’ eyes too as the content becomes more useful to them.

“Product Name” + “Review” Searches.

You can also hope to improve rankings for “‘product name’ + review” searches. People are already actively searching for a review of a product before they decide to buy it or not. If that search directs them to customer reviews on your site, traffic is up – and the first thing that prospect sees is content they trust telling them good things about your business.

It’s also worth thinking about the benefits of customer generated content for long tail search. People leaving reviews will ‘latent keyword’ naturally, in the process of discussing the product, its category and similar products. That’s perfect for long tail search. To get this benefit, though, you should reduce or avoid reliance on JavaScript, cookies, FlashPlayer, images, iFrames and other tech that limits accessibility. You want this content to be as easy to find and index as possible.

For search reasons, don’t duplicate reviews: make sure that the full review has a single page and a single URL.

‘Negative Reviews’ Could Increase Conversions

So far, so good. But what if people are saying bad things about your product or your business? What about bad reviews – won’t they hurt your business?

Not only do they not hurt your business; they actively improve performance. Data from Revoo suggests the presence of bad reviews increases conversions by 67%.

So how does that work? Revoo found that peole who seek out and read bad reviews are more likely to convert: they already care enough to find and read the bad review, after all. And bad reviews make you seem more trustworthy. In the same way that no-one trusts a person who always smiles, sites with only good reviews don’t strike people as very trustworthy. 66% of customers put more trust in sites that feature both good and bad reviews.

Obviously there’s a point at which bad reviews hurt your business. That tipping point is about two or three. Research from Lightspeed found that between one and three bad reviews would deter 67% of shoppers from purchasing, and about one or two negative reviews to about 12 or 13 good ones seems to be the best ratio to take advantage of that trustworthiness bump without making your business look bad.

So how should you go about getting customers to review your products?

Try using third party review providers like:

  1. Bazaarvoice
  2. Feefo
  3. Reevoo
  4. Trustpilot
  5. eKomi
  6. Yotpo
  7. Reviews.co.uk

They will offer authenticated reviews to your site, just as they do to Comet, Tesco and Argos. However, these reviews are generally syndicated, meaning the content is less unique and there’s nothing specific to the experience of buying from your site.

Emailing customers post-purchase and asking for a review is another good way to build reviews into an overall engagement and marketing strategy. You need to give your customers enough time to have received the product and to form an opinion on it, so don’t jump down their throats the minute they click ‘confirm,’ but you still want the purchase fresh in the customer’s mind – you want a review of your business, not just the product.

The simplest way to get customers to leave reviews is to build a review form into product pages and ask them to use it. This risks attracting reviews from people who haven’t really used the product. You can authenticate by giving out codes with purchases which customers then enter to show they really have bought something from you, but this is unwieldy and violates the most important rule of selling things online: make it as simple as possible. Offering customers the option to leave a quick ‘stars out of ten’ rating is an extremely quick and simple way to generate a lot of data.

Finally, it can be effective to incentivise reviews – in effect, to pay customers for them. Entry into prize draws or voucher codes are common means of doing this.

Getting customer reviews onto your ecommerce site is one of the most effective single things you can do to drive up revenue – it boosts conversion, cart value, and repeat rates. It also fits in with a  strategy of engagement that recognises that a brand isn’t what it tells its customers it is, but what they tell each other it is.

About the author:

Kunle Campbell

An ecommerce advisor to ambitious, agile online retailers and funded ecommerce startups seeking exponentially sales growth through scalable customer acquisition, retention, conversion optimisation, product/market fit optimisation and customer referrals.

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The Importance of Reviews in eCommerce

Posted on 3rd September 2014 , by Kunle Campbell in Customer Retention, Customer Reviews & User Generated Content

Customer reviews are a common feature in online retail. It’s not just site owners looking for decoration, or feeling that since everyone else has them, so my site should too. In fact, customer reviews are one of the best-researched and supported ways to improve the credibility of your store and drive up revenue and conversions.

One statistic says it all:

Reviews produce an average 18% uplift in sales.

How?

61% of customers check reviews before they buy online.
(Some surveys put this figure as high as 77%!)

But maybe that’s just part of the browsing process. After all, if reviews are there people will read them – on its own, it doesn’t show how much customers actually care about reviews.

In 2013, BrightLocal released the findings of that year’s Local Consumer Review Survey, which showed that 73% of consumers said positive reviews made them rate a business more highly; only 12% claimed to disregard them. For more traditional forms of marketing you’d have to almost invert those figures. A 2010 survey for eMarketer found that customer reviews were 12 times more trusted than messages from manufacturers. And 79% of consumers in that survey said they trusted online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

So if you have reviews on your ecommerce site, for 8 of every 10 visitors that’s as good as someone they know recommending you.

And people don’t just love to read reviews. They love to write them too – so much so that 47% of British consumers have reviewed products.

So you can take all that engagement and conversation and word-of-mouth credibility that social marketing offers and host it right on your website, displaying the best of it to browsing prospects and encouraging a conversation between consumers who are talking about your products, on your ecommerce site.

Engagement is important here. Break down Reevoo’s 18% uplift in sales, and you get an 11% jump in conversions, and a small but significant 2% average order increase. But the visitor return rate also jumps 5%. People are coming back – in some cases, to write reviews!

User-Generated Content – SEO Benefits

When they do, it’s great for SEO. Firstly, you’re getting fresh, unique content for search engines to chew on – content you didn’t have to pay for or produce, and that your customers trust and actively want to read, yes, but fresh, constantly evolving content that bumps you up search rankings too.

User-generated content can differentiate a page: if your product pages use a standard manufacturer’s description, customer reviews can make that page stand out to search engines just as if the content on it had been rewritten. You’ll rank more highly in the SERPs, and you’ll rank higher in your customers’ eyes too as the content becomes more useful to them.

“Product Name” + “Review” Searches.

You can also hope to improve rankings for “‘product name’ + review” searches. People are already actively searching for a review of a product before they decide to buy it or not. If that search directs them to customer reviews on your site, traffic is up – and the first thing that prospect sees is content they trust telling them good things about your business.

It’s also worth thinking about the benefits of customer generated content for long tail search. People leaving reviews will ‘latent keyword’ naturally, in the process of discussing the product, its category and similar products. That’s perfect for long tail search. To get this benefit, though, you should reduce or avoid reliance on JavaScript, cookies, FlashPlayer, images, iFrames and other tech that limits accessibility. You want this content to be as easy to find and index as possible.

For search reasons, don’t duplicate reviews: make sure that the full review has a single page and a single URL.

‘Negative Reviews’ Could Increase Conversions

So far, so good. But what if people are saying bad things about your product or your business? What about bad reviews – won’t they hurt your business?

Not only do they not hurt your business; they actively improve performance. Data from Revoo suggests the presence of bad reviews increases conversions by 67%.

So how does that work? Revoo found that peole who seek out and read bad reviews are more likely to convert: they already care enough to find and read the bad review, after all. And bad reviews make you seem more trustworthy. In the same way that no-one trusts a person who always smiles, sites with only good reviews don’t strike people as very trustworthy. 66% of customers put more trust in sites that feature both good and bad reviews.

Obviously there’s a point at which bad reviews hurt your business. That tipping point is about two or three. Research from Lightspeed found that between one and three bad reviews would deter 67% of shoppers from purchasing, and about one or two negative reviews to about 12 or 13 good ones seems to be the best ratio to take advantage of that trustworthiness bump without making your business look bad.

So how should you go about getting customers to review your products?

Try using third party review providers like:

  1. Bazaarvoice
  2. Feefo
  3. Reevoo
  4. Trustpilot
  5. eKomi
  6. Yotpo
  7. Reviews.co.uk

They will offer authenticated reviews to your site, just as they do to Comet, Tesco and Argos. However, these reviews are generally syndicated, meaning the content is less unique and there’s nothing specific to the experience of buying from your site.

Emailing customers post-purchase and asking for a review is another good way to build reviews into an overall engagement and marketing strategy. You need to give your customers enough time to have received the product and to form an opinion on it, so don’t jump down their throats the minute they click ‘confirm,’ but you still want the purchase fresh in the customer’s mind – you want a review of your business, not just the product.

The simplest way to get customers to leave reviews is to build a review form into product pages and ask them to use it. This risks attracting reviews from people who haven’t really used the product. You can authenticate by giving out codes with purchases which customers then enter to show they really have bought something from you, but this is unwieldy and violates the most important rule of selling things online: make it as simple as possible. Offering customers the option to leave a quick ‘stars out of ten’ rating is an extremely quick and simple way to generate a lot of data.

Finally, it can be effective to incentivise reviews – in effect, to pay customers for them. Entry into prize draws or voucher codes are common means of doing this.

Getting customer reviews onto your ecommerce site is one of the most effective single things you can do to drive up revenue – it boosts conversion, cart value, and repeat rates. It also fits in with a  strategy of engagement that recognises that a brand isn’t what it tells its customers it is, but what they tell each other it is.

About the author:

Kunle Campbell

An ecommerce advisor to ambitious, agile online retailers and funded ecommerce startups seeking exponentially sales growth through scalable customer acquisition, retention, conversion optimisation, product/market fit optimisation and customer referrals.

Did You Enjoy Reading this Article?

Get Free Email Updates by Signing Up Below:

eCommerce Marketing Growth Hacks 

UPCOMING WEBINAR:
November 21st 4:30pm GMT / 11:30am EST
with Kunle
Campbell

Facebook Funnels for Ecommerce that CONVERT

Register now

2X eCommerce Podcast

Kunle interviews Founders of Fast Growing 7-8 Figure Online Retail Business & E-commerce Marketing Experts

View podcasts

Download your free ebook

More

The eCommerce Marketing Blueprint