With nearly 95% of shoppers reading online reviews before making a purchase, reviews have transformed the way consumers make purchase decisions. According to a study by the Bazaarvoice network, one product review can result in a 10% increase in sales and 200 reviews can result in as much as a 44% increase in sales. We talked to two brand marketers whose businesses are mostly e-commerce driven about the way they use and leverage online consumer reviews in their marketing efforts.
Review Marketing Basics
Review marketing is a process certain brands use to manage their reputation online. For direct-to-consumer brands, this includes monitoring, encouraging, and responding to consumer reviews across multiple platforms.”We rely on consumer reviews because customers say it better than we can,” says Aireen de Peralta, Chief E-commerce Officer at WaterField Designs, a company that sells custom-fit bags and cases online.
We rely on consumer reviews because customers say it better than we can.
Michael Montanez, Director of Marketing at luxury clothing label August McGregor, notes that “We use yotpo to power reviews for August McGregor as we’re adding to our tech stack to improve KPIs. Reviews are expected these days for RTW (ready to wear clothing). It’s all part of the process. Attribution – we haven’t gotten there yet to determine the impact of reviews.”
Trusting Customers, not Apps that Go After Reviews
Waterfield does not provide incentives for customers to write reviews. “We feel it’s more authentic if a customer decided on their own to write a review,” explains de Peralta. “We e-mail customers after a few weeks of shipping their purchase and request for them to write a review. That way, they will have had time to use the product in their daily routine.”
Today, there are many apps and vendors that will aggressively go after reviews, offering discounts, points, or loyalty awards. However, de Peralta notes that she doesn’t employ these tactics. “Reviews apps are also complex enough to ask users to rate their experience based on certain criteria. We use just the simple open-ended format because we think this is a better way to capture what our user thinks is the primary reason to give feedback about. Each user has a different experience with a different emotional outcome, and we are more interested in capturing the emotions and understanding what it is important to them, rather than what we think is important to get feedback on.”
We use just the simple open-ended format because we think this is a better way to capture what our user thinks is the primary reason to give feedback about.
Review marketing is very powerful in driving customers to sales. According to a study of customer restaurant reviews by the Harvard Business Review, “a one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5-9 % increase in revenue.” On the other hand, according to research, if there is an excess of three negative articles within search results, businesses can expect to lose 59.2% of their potential customers.
“We can’t track if a certain review caused a sale, but we do get feedback from customers that reviews have helped them make a decision. This is anecdotal evidence, but it’s enough for us to know that reviews do help sales. We also view reviews as an outlet for our community to express themselves and for product feedback,” de Peralta notes.
Boosting SEO and Social and Customer Service
Reviews can also substantially boost SEO rankings since the reviews contain keywords. They are also “proof for social”. In addition, they can also inform customer service as “some reviews answer questions that people have”, de Peralta notes.