How to turn reviews into referrals - and, ultimately, more sales
Between Amazon, Google, and Yelp, it’s no secret that today’s consumers research before buying. And with the power of the internet available in the backpocket of most consumers, online reviews and referrals are more important than ever. It’s no shock that user-generated ratings have revolutionized the shopping experience for eCommerce operations as well as brick-and-mortar stores - no matter the industry.
Ratings and reviews can be an easy way to build brand trust and loyalty between you and your customers. More so, according to a study by Harvard Business School, consumer reviews have a direct impact on revenues. In fact, “a one-star increase in a Yelp rating leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue.”
Simply put - the better (and more) reviews you have, the higher your chances are at having a better business reputation that leads to brand trust and loyalty - which inevitably leads to referrals.
In this two-part mini-series, we’ll share best practices on how to increase online reviews, in order to drive referrals and positively impact new business.
Part One: How eCommerce Marketers Can Boost Online Reviews
In almost every industry, referrals are the gold standard of customer acquisition. Positive recommendations from your best customers can quickly build equity, but before we jump into the value of referrals, let’s dive into the importance of reviews, especially for eCommerce marketers.
Why Are Reviews So Important?
Online reviews play a crucial role in determining the success of your business because they aren’t just an ancillary aspect of a purchasing decision. Nowadays, buyers want more. They want to hear about the experience with a brand, not just what the company has to say about it. In fact, 97% of consumers read online reviews before making a buying decision, and they aren’t settling for one review, they want to read at least 6 or more.
More so, according to Psychological Science, in a situation with two competing products with similar ratings, consumers are more likely to buy the product with more reviews.
By harnessing the wisdom of crowds, positive reviews can be a game changer when it comes to a customer’s decision to choose your brand.
How To Get More Reviews
In addition to offering an excellent product and impeccable customer service to your consumers, there is one critical component to boosting your online reviews. Our best (and easiest) recommendation is: Simply ask!
The secret is to ask the right consumers, at the right time. By proactively presenting your users with the ability to easily leave a review, you can maintain transparency and solicit reviews in a positive way.
In almost any successful customer journey, there’s at least one “moment of delight” — a point at which the customer is happiest with or most excited about your product, service, or brand. These “moments of delight” are perfect opportunities to present customers with the opportunity to leave a review.
Here are 3 tips on how to get more online reviews:
1. Empower Your Staff
Whether you run a brick and mortar store with sales associates or manage an eCommerce platform, giving your team - and your website - the tools necessary to ask for referrals. If it’s in-store, train your associates to ask about their shopping experience and request an online review. Giving marketing collateral with where to leave a review or adding language to the bottom of your sales receipt can help move the experience from offline to online. For retailers transacting online, leverage tools - like Trustpilot - can help you collect and display online reviews.
2. Integrate “The Ask” With Automation
The more you can automate your review process, the easier it is on your marketing team. For example, launch an automated workflow that asks for a review of the buying experience right along with a customer’s order confirmation. Or send a request with the delivery notification, asking for product specific reviews. Or both!
3. Make it Visible
When you’re printing your next batch of marketing collateral or updating your website, add a request for an online review with the logos of the sites where you’d like them to leave their reviews. You can also add language to business cards or on the shopping cart page asking for referrals.
How To Turn Reviews Into Referrals
While reviews on their own are great and drive purchasing behavior, when combined with referrals, your brand is on its way to increasing your best customers, faster. How can marketers turn reviews into referrals?
One way to turn reviews into referrals is to build a referral program with the right tools and technology in place. This means having a way to easily engage , track, reward, and manage those that are referring your brand to their networks.
In the next installment of Turning Reviews into Referrals, we’ll dive into how having a referral program in place reinforces brand preference and helps retain existing customers. If you have a strong online presence and great online reviews, you should have no problem gaining referrals and recommendations, impacting your conversion rates, and increasing your revenue.