Do you know your ecommerce website’s conversion rate?
You absolutely should.
It’s the number that you live and die by. It is the measure of your business’ success.
Not only do you have to know your conversion rate, but you have to be continually taking steps to improve it.
The average conversion rate for an ecommerce website is 2.86%. That means for every 100 people who visit your site, fewer than three are buying anything.
So how can you improve that number?
One of the best ways to drive up your ecommerce conversion rate is to let your current customers speak for you.
We’re talking, of course, about customer reviews. The new “word of mouth” marketing.
Nearly 95% of online shoppers read reviews before making a purchase. On top of that, 72% of customers won’t take any action until they’ve seen a review. That makes reviews hugely crucial to your future success.
But all the reviews in the world won’t matter if you don’t know what to do with them. You have to be able to leverage your reviews (both positive and negative) if you want to use them to improve your conversion rate.
In this article, we’ll show you how your ecommerce site can leverage customer reviews to drive conversions and grow your business.
Use Customer Reviews to Manage Uncertainty
Every new customer that comes across your business is going to do so with a bit of trepidation. It’s natural when dealing with a company you know nothing about and have no experience with.
Customers approach new businesses warily. Brand loyalty must be earned, and until they get a sense of what you’re all about, they’re not going to commit to repeat business.
Why Do You Need Repeat Business?
Customer retention is vital to your continued success, so you want to impress your first-time customers and keep them coming back for years to come.
That’s because repeat customers generate more money than new customers. In fact, it can be up to seven times more expensive to onboard a new customer than it is to retain your existing ones. That’s not to say that you should gather a group of loyal customers and rest on your laurels.
Customer acquisition is always needed, but it is cheaper by far to retain customers than it is to find new ones.
How Do Reviews Manage Uncertainty?
How can you ease their concerns? Through customer reviews. Reviews help manage that initial uncertainty because they show that your products are enjoyed by others. Beyond that, they show the prospect that your product is appreciated by other customers who have the same pain points that they do.
A customer comes to you for one reason. They have a pain point they need to be alleviated. If they can see that other people with these same issues came to your business and found a satisfactory solution, they’re liable to be more at ease.
You should have both text and video reviews. That’s because video content is more easily consumed and appeals to a modern audience.
When you include quality reviews, this gnawing uncertainty that plagues all new customers is managed through a psychological phenomenon known as the bandwagon effect.
The bandwagon effect states that people do something primarily because other people are doing it. This even supersedes their own beliefs, which they may ignore.
It’s also an instance of social proof, where customers copy the actions of other customers because they want to duplicate specific results or behaviors.
Here’s an example of how this might work:
- A person needs to find a new pair of running shoes, but they don’t have a huge budget.
- They find your site, but they are wary because discount running shoes might be made cheaply.
- They can read reviews on your site from people in their demographic who have purchased your shoes.
- These reviews assure the new customer that this is a quality product that holds up under stress.
- To make things even more accessible, your reviews are organized into segments within your target audience, which means that this casual runner can find the right product and the right reviews. In contrast, distance runners would be able to find what they need quickly.
How Can You Set Up Your Reviews to Manage Uncertainty?
Now that you know how reviews manage uncertainty, what can you do to ensure that they have the maximum impact on your prospective customers?
There are a few ways to do that:
- Make sure that you prominently display your reviews on the site
- Reviews should be easily accessible, featured on product pages, the home page, and their own dedicated page.
- Show off your best reviews on social media, especially any video reviews that can be easily shared.
- Make sure that you have comment sections enabled on all of your product pages so that customers can easily leave reviews.
- Prominently display the review scores of every item, similar to how Amazon displays star ratings.
List Reviews On Landing Pages
Landing pages can be a perfect place to include customer reviews that will, in turn, drive conversions.
As an ecommerce business, you’re going to need useful landing pages for several reasons, including:
- They can help you measure the success of a marketing strategy.
- They are an excellent resource for customers looking to get more information on your company and products.
How Do Reviews On Landing Pages Drive Conversions?
When you include a review (or more) on your landing pages, you’re creating an incentive for potential customers to click through to your web site and convert.
We already spoke about how reviews can be the tipping point that manages the uncertainty of your customers. When you’re dealing with a landing page, you have a hyper-focused page on a specific product or promotion. A well-placed review can capture the user’s attention and encourage them to click through.
It’s a fantastic way to include social proof in your digital marketing strategy.
Social proof builds trust in a way that your landing page copy never could on its own. That’s because reviews are messaging on a company website that is not corporate messaging.
People won’t believe your marketing copy right away. But reviews are written by people outside your company and carry a lot more weight than the standard corporate spiel.
One or two five star reviews should be enough to get people to click to find more information. Let them know they can see more reviews on the website in a call to action.
Here’s an example of how sharing reviews on a landing page can help in five simple steps:
- A customer trying to lose weight finds a landing page for a keto diet meal replacement shake from your ecommerce store.
- You include information on the product, talking about its effectiveness.
- You have also included a video review from a customer who lost 80 pounds using your product.
- That instance of social proof could be the tipping point that gets the visitor to click through to your site and try your product.
- The prospect envisions those results for themselves, imagining how they will feel if and when your testifying customer’s story becomes their own.
Use Negative Reviews to Improve on Products
Of course, not all of your reviews are going to be five stars. Negative reviews aren’t great, but they’re not bad from a conversion standpoint.
How Can Negative Reviews Be Good?
Believe it or not, those one-star reviews that you stress over can actually have a positive impact on your conversion rate.
For starters, the presence of negative reviews shows a prospect that you’re not only showcasing the good. Customers expect to see some negative reviews, so a few poor accounts won’t be a deal-breaker, especially if you have a wealth of positive reviews to counteract them.
Mixed reviews can actually increase conversions by up to 270%, whereas a list of reviews that are all perfect can be suspicious to customers and feed their uncertainty.
Negative Reviews Are An Opportunity
When you get a negative review, you can’t let it get to you. Negative reviews provide you with an opportunity to improve.
It’s great to know everything that your customers love about your company, but it’s equally valuable to learn what they don’t like. Negative reviews can help you learn from what your customers are saying and how you can improve.
If there is a weakness in your product, you can adapt. Then, if you comment back to the reviewer and let them know how you’ve addressed their concerns, you’ve shown that customer, and all future customers, that you listen to your audience and all of your buyers have a voice. That goes a long way toward improving brand loyalty.
Leverage those negative reviews and improve your products for the future.
Build Trust and Enhance Credibility
Much like a personal relationship, the bond between a company and its customer is built on trust.
Trust creates brand loyalty, which in turn, breeds repeat business. Brand loyalty is what keeps customers from jumping ship if one of your competitors suddenly offers a better price.
But before a customer can be loyal, they have to find you credible. Reviews can be a significant first step to proving your credibility.
How Can Reviews Make You Credible?
A review is an unbiased opinion expressed by someone who does not work for your company and has no stake in its financial success or failure. Reviews give third-party assurance through user-generated content, stating that your company and products are quality.
Positive product reviews (with a few negatives) can show a customer that you’re credible. If they believe that you’re padding your reviews with fake accounts or only showing the positives while hiding the negatives, you’ve lost credibility.
Reviews are a proven credibility boost. That’s why businesses like Amazon rely on them so heavily.
In fact, 84% of shoppers trust the word of online reviewers the same as if they were receiving a recommendation from someone they personally know. That’s an enormous trust that they’re placing in your satisfied (or dissatisfied) customers.
Let’s say you have an ecommerce website that sells moisturizers. A customer is trying to decide on a new brand of moisturizing hand cream to manage their dry skin.
The first brand they see has mostly negative reviews. There are reports of burning and itching as a severe side effect.
The next brand they look at has only five-star reviews. A lot of them look like they’re written in the same voice, and there’s not one single negative thing reported about the product.
Both of these brands lack credibility.
Now, they find your site, and you have mostly positive reviews with a smattering of critical feedback in there as well. There are no significant issues, and you’ve responded to criticism publicly, making changes that will help everyone.
You’ve been proven credible based on the merit of your reviews alone. That customer is now more likely to buy from you over the other two.
Use Reviews to Better Understand Your Demographic
Reviews can help you learn how to adapt to the wants and needs of your target demographic.
You need to understand your target demographic if you want to succeed. That means learning their likes and dislikes equally.
This is especially important if you’re not in that demographic yourself. They might have pain points or preferences that you hadn’t thought of.
Thankfully, reviews allow business owners to understand customer pain points so that they can better enhance the user experience.
Reviews give the customers an unbiased look into your company and your products. Still, they can also give you a chance to learn about your audience by seeing their unfiltered opinions. It’s invaluable market research.
If you can learn how to think like your demographic, you can learn how to better market to them.
By providing your customers with honest reviews, you’re creating an environment where they can let go of uncertainty and relax. You’re fostering trust and building a relationship that can make brand loyal customers.
At the same time, you’re gaining valuable information about your demographics and learning through criticism how you can better model your site, your products, and your marketing efforts to the customers who are the most likely to convert.
Simply put, leveraging your customer reviews can and will improve your conversion rate, spiking your sales, and strengthening your business.