Online reviews matter. They matter a lot. If you don't know that by now, we're guessing you have spent the last two decades under a rock—nay, a noise-canceling boulder. Your business may already have a solid presence on Yelp, Facebook, Google and other brick-and-mortar local business sites, but if you're selling online, product reviews also matter a great deal. In an article by Inc, Michael Fertik reported "89% of consumers viewed online sources of product and service reviews as trustworthy--and another 80% have changed their minds about a purchase based solely on the negative reviews they read."
You'd probably never dream of buying something from Amazon without at least skimming a couple reviews first, yet most small online businesses don't bother with eCommerce product reviews at all.
Why does every online retail business need product reviews on their eCommerce website?
1. Quality control. Product reviews empower your customers to let you know what they really think. It can be scary, but it can also help you make smarter inventory decisions. When you see a pattern of negative or lukewarm reviews, it's an opportunity to fix whatever's not working—or stop ordering it altogether and focus your assets on moving those products that everybody's raving about.
2. Genuine customer interaction and trust. Some customers will call, email or return a product when they have a negative experience with it. Others will simply curse the heavens and then move on, perhaps replacing your faulty product with another product from another business—never to be seen on your website again. When customers are prompted to give feedback, however, those relationships become a little more salvageable. You have a chance to make things right and rebuild trust with that customer—as well as earning the trust of potential customers who will be impressed by your outrageously helpful service.
3. Fewer product returns. A product with 50 reviews is 135% less likely to be returned than one with less than five reviews. The nature of peer reviews is that they help inform people about each product in a richer, more detailed way than you could hope to do with an inherently rosy product description or FAQ. When customers know exactly what they are getting into (i.e. "This sundress is so cute, but runs a little small!"), they are more apt to make purchases that will make them happy.
4. Increased online search traffic. More content means more traffic, especially if your product review plugins give customers the ability to add their own photos as well as ratings and reviews. Plus, we're all more prone to click on a link with bright and shiny stars sitting next to it!
If you're interested in setting up product review capabilities on your site, we recommend trying out the WP Product Review Plugin, which helps you turn your Wordpress eCommerce site into a rich knowledge base of honest customer feedback and reviews. If you'd like to go further, Author HReview is another Wordpress plugin to increase search traffic by showing star-ratings from the WP Product Review plugin in your search results.
Have any other tools you use to make the most of online product reviews? Let us know in the comments!