Product Reviews — The Customer Retention Strategy Many eCommerce Merchants Ignore
Product Reviews boost sales,enhance SEO rankings, educate potential customers and customers, serve as feedback, are a form of free ads, delight social media communication and can save merchants money.
Building a solid eCommerce brand requires a sound customer retention strategy which ensures customers keep coming back to your store after each purchase.
Nothing will keep your shoppers glued to your brand than showing them a glimpse of positive testimonies other shoppers are saying about your products; in the form of product reviews.
Displaying product reviews have been found to increase conversion by 270 percent. Plus, having product reviews on your store can reduce bounce rate, increase click-through rate, while ensuring visitors spend a lot of time on your site.
Despite these enormous benefits, product reviews still remain one of the key customer retention strategies that is often glossed over.
This write-up will show you why product reviews remain one of the greatest customer retention strategies every eCommerce merchant should embrace. It will further answer the urgent need of why you need to dedicate just as much of your budget to retain existing customers as to winning new customers.
What are reviews?
Reviews are genuine testimonials, comments, articles etc written by real users of a product regarding how useful they found the product or service. Reviews can also be a star rating which serves as a social proof of how good or bad a product has served customers. It can sometimes be a verbal testimony or recommendation one buyer makes to another about a product.
According to a study, 95 percent of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase while 84 percent of people trust reviews they read online as much as personal recommendations.
The factors that influence a shopper’s rating of a product could range from satisfaction of using the product, ease of buying the product from the store, to after purchase customer service experience.
This means a negative review could possibly be an indication of vote of no confidence on a product or service. While it sucks to get a negative review, it’s also an opportunity to correct what you’re not doing right to satisfy future customers.
This is why every ecommerce merchant must be knowledgeable about ways of increasing reviews on their shop.
While reviews generally refer to comments or ratings customers leave about the totality of business which may be influenced by the attitude of customer support staff or difficulty in purchasing a product or the quality of a product; product reviews deals with solely the latter.
Simply put, product reviews are in specific reference to comments or rating a shopper gives about how good or bad a product is from the customer’s point of view.
The purpose of the product reviews is to help build trust and loyalty for the product by helping new customers know what other consumers have said about the product when making a purchase decision.
Relationship Between Product Reviews and Customer Retention
Since we have a clear understanding of what product reviews are, let’s look at the relationship between product reviews and customer retention:
- Product Reviews Boost Conversion Rates
Conversion rate is the percentage of users who take a desired action. Simply put, it’s the percentage of your website visitors who buy products from your site.
Example, if 100,000 people visited your site in a month and 2,000 out of the 100,000 purchased a product from your store, your site's conversion rate will be:2,000/100,000 = 2 percent.
Every merchant wishes to get a high conversion rate because a high conversion rate means more visitors are converted into buyers.
According to a research, the quantity of reviews alone correlates strongly with conversion rates:
In more specific terms, product reviews have been found to increase conversion rates up to 76 percent.
Reevoo also found that 50 or more reviews per product can mean a 4.6 percent increase in conversion rates.
Additionally, MarketingProfs, found out that 85 percent of customers proceed to buy only after reading online reviews.
Forbes also asserts that over 90 percent of Amazon buyers would not purchase an item with less than three stars.
From these stats, it is obvious that the buying behaviour of consumers is greatly influenced by product reviews. So for a greater ROI, merchants should endeavor to acquire the right review tools to help them increase conversion rates.
2. Product Reviews is a Form of Free Ads
Sometimes, the greatest form of advertising isn't increasing ad budget. In fact, customers are more likely to trust opinions from family, friends, and other consumers more than ads and branded content.
Product reviews ultimately give that rare opportunity for your customers to tell your story about their experiences with your product or service to would-be customers.
A 2017 Psychological Science study also pointed out that when consumers are given two products with similar ratings, they’re more likely to buy the product with more reviews.
This shows that retaining old customers and winning new customers are largely influenced by testimonies your customers give about your product in the form of reviews.
Can you imagine how many of your customers have stopped buying from your store and switched to your competitor because they couldn’t find any reviews about your product?
As an eCommerce merchant, you need to know how to use reviews your customers give to help you stay ahead of your competitors.
3. Product Reviews can Enhance your SEO Ranking
There is no argument that SEO for your store is very important in making your products more visible to shoppers who are searching for your product on the internet.
Many ecommerce merchants, therefore, dedicate a huge portion of their budget to improving SEO for their stores.
While this is a good thing, it’s worthwhile to add that product reviews are highly recommended for SEO as it improves rankings by generating fresh and unique content. This means a store that generates and displays reviews has the potential to be more visible to searchers than those that do not showcase any on their store.
According to a study by Moz, Review Signals is one of the important search engine ranking factors as shown from the chart below:
Review Signals are part of the complex process of ranking that Google uses to determine the popularity and relevance of a site to end users. These signals influence how search engines rank a site. A better signal for your store means, the better your chances of being ranked high on search engines.
As a merchant, if you haven’t added product reviews as an essential element in your SEO checklist for your store, it’s time to rethink it.
4. Product Reviews are a Form of Education to your Customers
Customer retention is about offering value to your customers and convincing them to stick to your brand. This means, merchants should offer unique services to delight customers to firmly establish their brand as a brand of choice in the minds of consumers.
There will always be other options available to your customers. They may always find a competitor of yours with a similar offering and prices that seem more exciting. Therefore, you must always give your customers a reason to stay with your brand.
One tried and tested strategy that can retain your customers is to constantly offer them useful education about your product. We are living in a customer-centric era and education is one of the most valuable things you can offer your customers.
Providing education will position your brand to be an expert in your field. This will help you gain customers’ trust and build customer loyalty.
While the education could be in the form of well-researched content that will offer value to your customers, it could also be just replies to complaints customers made. When your customer success team offers very educative replies to such reviews, it will keep others educated about the complaints of the previous customers.
Like the example above, other users who encounter a similar challenge will take a cue from the reply which will save them from getting too worried to the extent of discontinuing to patronize your product.
This will prevent high churn rate which is typically the percentage of customers who unsubscribe from their service in a given month. When there is low churn rate, it could mean you’re providing a satisfactory service leading to high customer retention.
5. Product Reviews Improve Products Based on Customer Feedback
Every customer looks for convenience and the best customer experience when shopping online. Empowering customers with convenience is, therefore, one key customer retention strategy that will keep your customers coming back after every purchase. Improving convenience includes removing all bottlenecks and ensuring customers have the uttermost ease when shopping.
Unfortunately, it takes time for a brand to fully understand all the needs of a consumer and offer a stellar service. Product reviews left on the store by a frustrated customer can be of great help in serving as useful feedback. These feedbacks can help you implement anticipatory services so as to eliminate problems before they occur. This way, you will be improving your service for future consumers. Also, you will be in a better position to offer superior services; thus, higher customer retention.
6. Product Reviews Save You Money
This may sound pretty weird on face value but investing in product reviews can actually save you from losing money.
According to stats, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70 percent whilst the probability of selling to a new customer is 5-20 percent as shown below:
In fact, it has been estimated that it costs five times more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one.
This is where product reviews become important. It possess a double-edged sword of delighting your existing customers while helping you to attract new customers to your store. So instead of investing huge portion of your budget on expensive strategies in your quest to win more new customers, redirect your energies on implementing a good product reviews strategy for your store to help you get more value. This way, you will be saving money which otherwise would be spent on only strategies aimed at attracting new customers.
7. Product Reviews Delight Social Media Communication
Building a solid customer retention strategy requires using social media in building a solid relationship with your customers through a one-on-one engagement.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc helps eCommerce merchants to connect and communicate with customers. These platforms also give customers the opportunity to share their experiences with merchants.
According to the 2019 Consumer Technology Survey, the number of consumers using social media to find out about personal technology products has increased by 119 percent.
The survey also pointed out that “for the first time, social media has surpassed word of mouth when it comes to product awareness,” adding further that the preference for video product reviews has doubled.
This further affirms that social media is an important element when it comes to building brand awareness of products.
There are a good number of product reviews software (apps) out there like the Kudobuzz Review App which assists merchants to collect reviews from their social media channels like Facebook, Google, Yelp, Amazon, Etsy etc.
After collecting these reviews from these social media platforms, the Kudobuzz Review App also allows merchants to choose the ones they want to show off on their site through beautiful widgets. Merchants can equally reshare these reviews from their social media platforms on their social media channels to attract new customers, as well as strengthen brand loyalty among existing customers.
In summary, it’s the dream of every ecommerce merchant to offer superior services that will keep customers coming back after each purchase. Merchants, therefore, try to implement strategies including intelligent customer analytics tools, optimizing checkout pages, plus a host of other strategies. These efforts should be complemented with product reviews to help keep existing customers, and attract many new customers.
So give a shot to these ideas expressed above and share your experience with us in the comment section below.
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