Below is an excerpt from the book How to Sell More Online: 40 Tips for the Small Online Entrepreneur:
When selling online, you need to convince visitors that your products work. Potential buyers want real-life proof that your products are what you say they are. And the best way to show that is to let happy customers do the talking through customer reviews!
Reviews and ratings have become a must-have tool for online stores. Most shoppers today look for customer-generated reviews – from 5-star ratings to the most elaborate questions and answers — to help guide their buying decisions. In fact, a study conducted by BrightLocal found that 88% read reviews to determine the quality of the business.
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Comments from other users give customers information beyond what is presented by the merchant. Customers want feedback and guidance from other buyers, including whether the product works, if the presentation on the site is accurate, whether the product is worth its price, and other factors they need to consider when they buy the product. Is the color indeed red or is it more rust brown? Is the sizing of the blouse on the small size or a little large? Is the ride-on fire truck something that a 3-year old will enjoy, or is it more suitable for a 6-year-old? Through the reviews, customers learn what to expect from the product, which is invaluable for many buyers.
There are many ways you can use reviews to help improve your sales. Customer reviews can be key to developing a merchandising strategy for your business. You can help improve your merchandising and product selection to ensure that you have adequate inventory of highly reviewed products. You can remove poorly reviewed products, especially those that get the most negative reviews and complaints. The reviews will also allow you to understand what your customers’ value in your products. This knowledge can help you better fine-tune your overall strategies and provide what your customers really want.
For big businesses like Amazon, customer reviews are key in their overall ecommerce strategy:
The reviews can also prompt you to assess your copy; product description and presentation (including photos) to more accurately present the product. The key is to ensure that the product will align with customer’s expectations.
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You can also highlight products that get the best reviews, and there are several ways to do this:
- Highlight the products that received the most number of positive reviews in your homepage.
- Provide top 10 lists of the products that received the best reviews accessible from your product category pages.
- Include your top 10 list in your email campaigns.
- If your search system can allow it, include an option to search your products based on customer ranking or feedback.
- Launch a marketing campaign based on your top rated products.
- If you do paid search marketing, include your list of top rated products on the landing pages.
However, there are sellers who are hesitant to use ratings or review system in their online stores. Even if they know that their products are excellent, getting negative reviews from customers can sting. Worse, seeing the not-so-good reviews may drive away other customers and reduce sales of the product. Some competitors might also use the review system to jeopardize the sales by posting bogus and fake reviews. Plus, there’s the added cost of investing in technologies to integrate a review system in the online store, which your business may not be able to afford.
For more tips on increasing your online sales, get the book How to Sell More Online: 40 Tips for the Small Online Entrepreneur