How highly do you consider the importance of reputation management in e-commerce? Is it an afterthought or near the top of your list? Would it change your perception if we told you that as many as 76% of customers are inclined NOT to buy an item if there’s not a review or rating associated with it? Three-quarters of customers potentially lost is substantial. Reputation management in e-commerce is as important as ever. Let’s look at three reasons why, and what you can be doing about it.
Customers hold reviews as the answers to their questions
Customers don’t just look to reviews as other people’s opinions on a product. They look for answers to questions they have so they don’t need to reach out to a brand or company.
This is why when you’re perusing a restaurant’s Yelp page, for example, Yelp automatically calls out certain things mentioned in numerous reviews. They know people are looking for what’s good, what other people love, what people hate, what’s that “thing” about this restaurant. The same holds true with your reputation management in e-commerce.
An eMarketer study found that if consumers were looking at two similar products—with a price difference of $2—73% of US internet users would be swayed toward the more expensive product with a higher rating. And if consumers didn’t see a review or a rating on a retailer’s site, many (76%) would be less inclined to buy anything.
It’s important to pay attention to your reviews, as well as respond to them. Let’s start with the latter point–responding to reviews. Did you know 7 in 10 people indicated that a brand’s response to an online consumer review changes their perception of a brand?
No one likes getting a poor review, and they can be frustrating, but a cordial, explanatory, and apologetic response can actually gain you business as opposed to a negative review just hanging out on your product page.
Paying attention to reviews isn’t just important to your reputation. It also helps inform what you need to know about your products. Perhaps you made a recent change and customers were not a fan. Did you change suppliers which led to a change in quality? Perhaps customers were pleasantly surprised by your latest product line and want you to expand.
There is no better research tool than hearing directly from customers, and your reviews put all that information in a convenient place. In ShippingEasy, that place is your reviews dashboard, shown below (currently part of our Amazon Seller Suite). As the above chart indicates, not only can and do customers use reviews to understand all these elements of your products and services, but you can and should too!
Word of mouth and referrals reign supreme
Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: people trust the recommendations of strangers more than they do the word of brands. They’ve also abandoned trust in celebrity endorsements. Reputation management in e-commerce comes down to spreading the word from real people.
When it comes to reviews, 66% of people trust anonymous strangers on the internet (reviews) more than the word of someone they dated (looking at you, Sarah). In all seriousness, trust is paramount in e-commerce and the best way to build that trust is through word of mouth.
If your business has social pages, you should be actively encouraging people to talk about your company and products. Add share buttons to product pages, use email marketing to ask people to leave Facebook recommendations, or tweet/Instagram about their most recent shopping experience.
This kind of outreach doesn’t have to be tedious either. Using a platform like ShippingEasy, you can use customer purchase and package delivery data to trigger automated emails asking for social shout outs, product and seller reviews, or direct feedback via reply to circumvent a negative public review. Speaking of which…
People are willing to share input–just ask
We all want to have our voice heard. We are more likely to seek out an opportunity when we’re upset about something, so those who are happy with your product might require a little nudge. A few key dos and don’ts when it comes to reputation management in e-commerce:
- Ask for reviews in a neutral way, without trying to imply that the customer should provide any type of positive feedback specifically
- Ask for honest feedback, and remind them that other customers rely on previous customers’ experiences when deciding on a purchase
- Encourage those who’ve had a negative experience to reply directly to you (in which case don’t use a firstname.lastname@example.org email address) so you can alleviate any concerns and avoid a poor review
- Follow the rules of the platforms you sell on—specifically Amazon
- If possible, link directly to your seller review page or product review pages to make the process as seamless and friction-free as you can
This is crucial for Amazon sellers, as 51% of US digital buyers trust Amazon the most for useful product information.
“People go to Amazon for reviews because that’s where we buy the most stuff,” said eMarketer principal analyst Andrew Lipsman. “More buyers and products means a higher volume of reviews, many of which are in-depth and provide the level of assurance that shoppers want before they make a purchase. As more purchases beget more reviews, and more reviews beget more purchases, this creates a virtuous cycle for Amazon that helps explain why the company owns almost 50% of the US e-commerce market today.”
In talking to one Amazon seller, we were told that “Getting seller reviews early on helps establish your brand in the eyes of Amazon. After that, it’s important to focus on product reviews going forward for visibility in search.”
As a seller, you know when an appropriate time-after-delivery is to ask for reviews. In a platform like ShippingEasy, you can set automated emails to go out to every customer who purchases from you. Use triggers like specific SKUs (to really nail that timing by product), product category, first-time buyer, and more.
Triggers like this allow you to really hone in your messaging and make your outreach emails sound personal while being automated. That takes the extra work off your hands while building your reputation, keeping your customers happy, and providing future customers with the answers they crave. All this leads to more conversions for your e-commerce business.
Want to take your reputation management to the next level? Try ShippingEasy’s platform, which includes our Customer Marketing and Inventory Management solutions, and increase business the right way. You get everything free for 30 days. Click below to get started!