Customer Reviews to Drive Sales

productReview1Last week I wrote a piece about the basics behind content marketing. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to dive a little deeper into each one of the topics I covered. This week we’ll start with how to use the customer reviews of products to boost sales.

Having product reviews on a website can provide a dramatic boost in sales. Think about these facts for a second:

  • According to iPerceptions, 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site that has user reviews.
  • A study from the online video-review site EXPO found that reviews from consumers are trusted nearly 12 times more than descriptions that come from the manufacturer.
  • 50 or more reviews for a product can provide a 4.6% increase in conversion rates according to Reevoo stats.
  • Visitors who read consumer reviews have a 6% higher average order value than visitors who did not read reviews according to Bazaarvoice.
  • ForeSee Results CEO Larry Freed says if a customer “leaves your site to look for reviews, they most likely won’t come back.”

It should be fairly easy for business owners to put themselves in the customer’s shoes because we’re all consumers too. When making a purchase, potential customers want to know what other consumers think about a business or product, and that’s exactly what makes reviews such a powerful tool. Sites like Yelp and Angie’s List were founded entirely due to the demand of people to find an unbiased review to products or services in which they are interested.

Negative Reviews

The main fear behind allowing reviews seems to revolve around the possibility of receiving negative feedback. However, as the old adage says, nobody’s perfect. Consumers know this! Another study by Reevoo found that the presence of negative reviews helps to boost consumer trust of a site by 68% and shoppers who read negative reviews had a 67% higher conversion. Having a good balance reviews on a site makes you seem more trustworthy. And it’s especially worth your while if you can answer the negative reviews and provide great customer service.

Other benefits

While improving sales and customer confidence should be the main goal of adding user reviews, there is another benefit to having customer reviews on a site—they help with SEO. With search engines putting a greater emphasis on new and original content, having content that is regularly updated is advantageous. Having this type of content can also provide assistance with the long tail keywords searches. People who leave reviews typically use the same types of words that other people would use when actually searching for a product in a search engine. Once you find these new keywords, make sure to use them in future content.

How to get reviews

The vast majority of people will not be proactive with reviews unless there’s something negative to write. So there needs to be a little work on a site’s side to get these positive reviews started. The best way to get reviews is to proactively engage customers post sale. Sending an email after a purchase asking the customer to review the product is an easy first step. Conducting focus groups, offering incentives or even running a comparison chart are great ways to get people to talk about the product.

Overall, having reviews on an e-commerce website is a great way to boost profits. This gives immediate benefits with credibility and trust while also contributing long term with improvements to SEO. What has your experience been with customer reviews? Have you tried any other methods to get reviews? Let us know in the comments section below.