These days, buyers have a wealth of options when shopping for products online, making it that much more challenging for your brand to stand out. As a valuable component of your marketing strategy, product reviews have incredible sway in influencing buyer behavior. According to a Bizrate Insights survey, consumers said a product review score or rating influences their decision to make a purchase more than any other factor. Moreover, Millennials and Generation Z, which make up an increasingly large share of shoppers, especially value product reviews as social proof of a product’s value.
In this post, you’ll learn the many benefits of product reviews in your eCommerce marketing strategy. You’ll also get valuable tips for using online reviews to strengthen the positioning of your brand and products among shoppers.
The Benefits of eCommerce Product Reviews
You’re already confident in the quality and effectiveness of your products, but today’s shoppers may need some convincing. Because they don’t always have the chance to touch, test, and inspect products as they would in an in-store experience, online shoppers rely on product reviews to guide their purchasing decision-making. In fact, PowerReviews research found that 70 percent of consumers won’t purchase products online without reading reviews first.
Product reviews educate consumers about your products and also give shoppers the extra confidence they may need to add to their cart and make a purchase. Here are some benefits eCommerce product reviews bring to your brand:
Higher Purchase Likelihood
Product reviews can encourage shoppers to make a purchase when they might have otherwise been hesitant. According to Northwestern University’s Spiegel Research Center, the purchase likelihood for a product with five reviews is 270 percent greater than a product with no reviews.
Product reviews help consumers understand whether a product’s quality and specifications will meet their expectations. Reviews can also give consumers a clearer picture of what to expect when their product arrives, thereby helping to reduce the rate of returns.
eCommerce product reviews allow shoppers to build confidence in a brand and its products. In a BrightLocal survey, 79 percent of consumers said they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family.
Insights to Support Product Enhancements
Though not every review will be a glowing one, less-than-positive reviews can help you identify product improvements and other enhancements that will align with consumer expectations.
Higher Search Result Positioning
The more consumers use relevant terms about your brand and products in their reviews, the more your product ads and reviews are likely to appear in keyword search results.
How to Generate and Make the Most of Online Reviews
Given the positive impact of product reviews on your eCommerce marketing strategy, you should be deliberate in generating them across your entire product line. Take the following actions to leverage the full power of eCommerce product reviews:
1. Ask Consumers for Reviews
One of the best ways to generate reviews is to ask. Create an automated process for sending review requests following shopper purchases. A 2020 BrightLocal survey found that 72 percent of consumers will provide a review when asked. When requesting reviews, you can also give shoppers options for leaving reviews on the platform of your choice.
2. Make It Easy to Leave Product Reviews
Leaving a product review shouldn’t be cumbersome or require too many steps. Design mobile-optimized review request forms, and make it easy for consumers to provide a rating and leave optional comments, photos, or videos.
3. Offer Incentives for Consumers to Leave Reviews
Offering product giveaways, discounts, or free shipping in exchange for a product review can be a great way to obtain consumer feedback.
4. Pay Attention to Negative Reviews
Use negative reviews as an opportunity to drive product enhancements, improve packaging, and make other improvements. Where possible, it’s also a good idea to have a mechanism for addressing negative reviews through review replies.
5. Incorporate Product Reviews into Other Marketing Areas
You can maximize the impact of product reviews by including them in other areas of your marketing strategy. For example, you can use content from product reviews in social media marketing, online ads, and influencer campaigns.
6. Leverage eCommerce Analytics
At the same time you are generating product reviews, you can also use them to boost your social listening capability and gain new insights into shopper preferences. In fact, eCommerce analytics can help you understand common themes in product reviews, average product ratings across retailers, and shifts in customer needs and expectations over time.
Even when buying from trusted retailer sites, shoppers rely on product reviews to refine their decision-making before a purchase. By taking steps to encourage more product reviews and leveraging reviews across your marketing portfolio, you can build credibility with consumers and influence shopper intent.
For more insights, read our guide covering the additional ways you can accelerate the growth and positioning of your brand.