According to Nielsen’s “Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages” report, which surveyed more than 28,000 Internet respondents in 56 countries, 92 percent of consumers said they trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising.
From an ecommerce perspective, there are a number of benefits to using consumer-driven ratings and reviews. They provide reassurance to the customer during the decision-making process, relieving them of insecurities they may otherwise have. They also help customers find products that best fit their needs and help guarantee a more satisfying shopping experience.
Social Media Impacts Customer Ratings and Reviews
Social media provides consumers with a voice to express opinions, critique products, and offer recommendations.
The use of social media can help overcome a consumer’s reluctance to purchase products. This applies not only to peer-to-peer sharing of product reviews and recommendations but through interactions that take place between retailers and customers, as well. Such interaction with social network fans and followers can foster trust and increase loyalty, which can lead to more positive customer reviews, higher feedback ratings, and repeat sales.
10 Ways to Encourage Customer Ratings and Reviews
Considering the benefits offered by ratings and reviews, how can merchants convince their customers to write them? Here is a list of 10 ideas.
- Mimic Amazon. Look into how Amazon integrates customer feedback into site copy and product pages, and then make a list of ways you could do likewise.
- Use Facebook. Incorporate Facebook’s Open Graph to provide customers with the ability to share reviews on the social network after posting them on your ecommerce website.
- Use a credible platform. Make it easy to leave reviews on your website by employing the use of product review solutions such as those provided by Bazaarvoice, Reevoo, Turnto, Rating System, or Review Script. Many ecommerce platforms also include rating and review features.
- Publish good and bad reviews. Don’t filter or edit out negative reviews, as having both positive and negative reviews builds trust and credibility.
- Encourage customers to write reviews. But don’t offer free merchandise or money to customers in exchange for reviews. You don’t want to compensate customers in exchange for a positive review. Instead, use contests such as the chance to enter a drawing.
- Ask. Personally ask loyal customers and Facebook fans to submit reviews. Include a link to the review form on your website.
- Use email. Send a follow-up email a few weeks after a purchase to request a review. A post-purchase remarketing email is a perfect opportunity to ask for a review.
- Consider video. Encourage customers to make videos of product reviews to post to YouTube.
- Share reviews on social media. Use links to individual reviews on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and other social networks where you maintain a presence.
- Share product information. Use Facebook Like, Tweet This, Pin It, and Google +1 buttons on product pages to facilitate social sharing. Very often, people will include a comment about the product when they share.