3 Ways Retailers Can Leverage Online Reviews

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How can you use eCommerce reviews to your advantage?

Online reviews can be one of the most frustrating parts of translating your brick-and-mortar retail concept into an online store. With a few keystrokes and about 30 seconds of spare time, past customers and even competitors can quickly share anonymous reviews of your product to potential new customers. The anonymity tends to make negative reviews more extreme. In fact, many people only leave reviews when they have a bad experience. 

But reviews are very important. In fact, over 90 percent of online shoppers are influenced by online reviews, and many of those are suspicious when a product doesn’t have any negative reviews. 

1. Show off your customer service.

Bad reviews don’t have to be bad. In fact, they present an opportunity to show potential customers how much you care about them. If someone leaves a bad review, you should reply to it in a friendly and productive manner.

Why? Well, 78 percent of customers actually care if a company replies to its feedback. Keep in mind that being defensive about the product is not persuasive; instead, approach your reply with an open mind.

2. Encourage customers to leave reviews.

Reviews help your business in a variety of ways. They improve your search rankings and dramatically boost your conversion rates—even bad reviews increase them by 67 percent. With more reviews, come greater rewards. But what can you do to encourage your customers to leave positive reviews? 

One method is to use third-party review software, like Reevoo or Yotpo. A variety of major retailers, like Tesco, employ this type of software in order to save time while managing a user-friendly review platform embedded on their own websites. 

Another trick, which has proven successful for CPG brands like Pampers, is to incentivize past customers to leave reviews. By offering discounts and coupons in an email offer to past customers, you can motivate them to leave a review—which will further bolster your brand. 

3. Feature the most productive feedback.

This is a “hack” to promote your favorite reviews to the top, so that they’re the first that potential customers read. Instead of censoring content, you should just promote the best reviews to the top. There are two ways you can approach this.

First, you can scan through each review and identify the most informative content. Try avoiding comments with hyperbolic language, as well as non-specific, emotional language. The best reviews typically use neutral language, teaching potential customers about the specifics of your product.

Second, you can try out Amazon’s approach, which lets other customers rank how useful certain reviews are to them, then appropriately rank a comment based on its utility to them.

Remember to include a balance of good and bad reviews. Otherwise, it will be clear to potential customers that you’re trying to cover up negative feedback.

Negative online reviews can sting. but they don't have to hold your retail store hostage. Use these three strategies to leverage online reviews to your advantage.

About Brick to Click!

With decades of experience in retail marketing, Gina Lee De Freitas, President of IMM, and Corien de Jong, SVP Executive Creative Director, have the insights and strategies you need to take your in-store and online retail traffic to the next level.

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