The Wall Street Journal reports that more than half the population (approximately 190 million US residents) will shop online this year. And according to a survey by Fortune.com, which polled more than 5,000 online shoppers, more than 51% of all purchases made are online.
Trillions of dollars now change hands through online merchants.Estimates vary, but the number of e-commerce stores is in the tens of millions.How then do consumers decide which e-commerce site to use?
Eighty-eight percent of all respondents to a recent poll said that online reviews “greatly influenced” their decision as to what to purchase and from whom. According to the Consumerist website, 70% of consumers rely on online reviews before making a purchase. Some experts estimate the percentage is much higher, closer to 90-95%.
E-commerce reviews are now more important than ever.
If you want to remain ahead of the competition and build a loyal client base, you must pay attention to your product or service reviews. Online reviews are an essential feature of a website. Without strong online reviews, you cannot hope to succeed.
Website reviews provide consumers with a snapshot of your company as seen through the eyes of fellow shoppers. Good, believable reviews inspire trust and confidence in your product or service. Independent and unbiased reviews will make a potential client much more likely to buy from your site rather than a competitor’s online store.
Remember also that online reviews generate conversions that enhance your search engine rankings. Google can index product reviews, so an increase in reviews will increase your keyword ranking. You just want to make sure that those reviews are positive!
Here are some online review strategies to help you boost your e-commerce reputation.
If you want reviews of your products, you should ask for them. Reach out to your existing loyal customer base. Ask them to supply you with an honest appraisal of your product or service.
You can offer them a discount coupon or some other incentive to write the review, as that offering an incentive also encourages repeat sales. Once you do so, part of your strategy going forward should be to include a note or link to a review site with every sale to encourage your customers to write reviews.
Solicit Reviews from other Websites
It is easier to find people, even those who may not be current clients, to review your product than you think.
Find a similar product on Amazon or elsewhere online. Look at the poor reviews.
Sometimes reviews provide email addresses. Contact the reviewers and offer them a free product or a deep discount for your product in return for an honest review.
Chances are there are plenty of bloggers who write about products like yours. Use Google and search for appropriate bloggers, then reach out to them and ask them to review your item. Offer them a sample, so they can review your product honestly.
Third Party Reviewers
There are lots of third-party review sites that have reputations for generating reliable and authentic reviews. They use actual customers who have purchased and used the products.
Contact one of these websites to help boost your reviews. This will help build credibility for your online store.Be careful, however, as many sites offer fake reviews, which will ultimately hurt your reputation.
Contact Amazon Top Reviewers
Some people love to review products and many consider it a hobby. On Amazon, it is very easy to find and contact them. They would provide an excellent, in-depth review of your product.
Facebook and Twitter are great places to find people willing to review your product. Use your company’s Facebook page to solicit reviews.
On Twitter, the advanced search function will let you find people reviewing products like yours. Simply search for your product name with a hashtag “productreviews” or “amazonreview.”
Email Marketing Software
Research and contact a good email marketing company, or purchase an email marketing software product. Compile a list of verified email addresses and target them with offers of some sort of incentive in return for a product review.
You can find potential product reviewers through LinkedIn. You can search for people, or companies, whoreview products. Use InMail on the site and get in touch with them, offering the same incentives you would to others for providing a review.
As with the third-party review sites, do your research and avoid the fake reviewers.
Engage Your Customers
The more you engage your customers, the more you increase their interaction. Maintain an active blog on your website. Post articles related to your product.
Make you and your site industry experts. Offer tips and advice related to your niche. Doing so will encourage your readers to comment and review your products.
All Reviews Don’t Need to be Positive
Due to the rise of fake online reviews, it is now harder than ever to gain a customer’s trust. Amazon does an excellent job of combating this problem by issuing a verified purchaser badge beside the reviewers who have purchased the merchandise.
Extremely positive and highly detailed reviews raise red flags, because no satisfied customer will take the time to gush so much about a product they bought online unless they were paid to do so. For every five-star review, you are bound to get some unsatisfied customers or four-star reviews for your merchandise. In fact, it is desirable to have these types of slightly negative reviews as they show your reviewers are real people.
You can use the negative review to your advantage. Some online retailers have even taken to displaying a “most helpful positive review” as well as a “most helpful negative review” side-by-side to prove their reviews are genuine.
Focus on and implement a product review strategy to garner the most you can out of your online reviews. Make your reviews work for you. If you’re unsure about how your online review strategy will work with your website, contact your ecommerce web design agency. The right e-commerce review strategy is a powerful tool that can boost sales and enhance your online reputation.