From a consumer perspective, it is easy to understand the importance of customer reviews on an e-commerce site. It can be a little more difficult from the owner perspective, when it takes additional time and resources to gather reviews from previous customers in order to feature them. However, as a pretty frequent shopper myself, I consistently choose to shop on sites that have strong reviews over a site selling similar products with weak or no reviews, and I am willing to bet that your prospects are making the same decision.
So, how do you keep from losing these prospects to your competitors? What makes a strong customer review? Melissa Burdon’s 7 tips to elicit good reviews from customers features great ways to get your customers to unwittingly answer the kinds of questions that prospective clients typically have about a product. Generally, a prospect’s motivations for reading customer reviews is to overcome any product objections and get questions answered before buying, and there is nothing worse than a testimonial that feels contrived. The work we do through our OnTarget subscriptions frequently validates that good reviews can make a substantial difference in your bottom line. Let’s take a closer look at some of the features we look for when helping our clients develop credible reviews for their sites. Melissa’s post already pointed out the effectiveness of reviews on one of my favorite sites, Backcountry.com, so naturally, it wasn’t difficult to find an example of a review with an air of legitimacy there (click image to enlarge). Here are the qualities that make this particular review seem credible:
1. There is a date the review was submitted.
2. It has a clickable reviewer number to identify the person who left the review.
3. The reviewer number links to the individual’s review history.
4. The review includes an actual location and physical conditions of the area in which the reviewer resides.
5. The review highlights detailed product benefits through the eyes of the reviewer such as the quality performance despite frequent rain; the convenience of slipping the product into a book bag; product sizing by explaining how the product fits in relation to the individual’s height, etc.
6. The informal tone and use of slang are the icing on the cake… this review definitely was written by a customer, and not someone from the company.
7. Backcountry.com also features multiple reviews citing similar benefits on their product pages.
Have you been thinking about adding product reviews to your site, but you are not sure where to start? These elements are a good place to begin when thinking of what sort of information to capture from your customers. And you can start small, testing reviews the way we did to see if the effort involved will generate enough ROI before expanding to your entire site.