As it stands, a stunning 91 percent of consumers read online reviews, while 84 percent trust such assessments as much as a recommendation from a friend.

As a consequence of this fact alone, retailers should be seeking out every opportunity possible to leverage online reviews and maximize their utility. After all, it is incredibly common to leverage product reviews to increase eCommerce sales.

However, while such an approach is commonplace, retailers tend not to diversify the tactics that they use to influence conversions with consumer reviews.

This dynamic changes today.

To help online retailers maximize the value received from online reviews and ROI generated from online marketing campaigns, today, we will explore five ways that digital retailers can use online reviews to drive more conversions.

However, before diving into the details of the topic, let’s take a moment to analyze how product reviews impact people’s purchasing decisions.

How Product Reviews Influence Buying Behavior

Product Reviews

The plain fact of the matter is that online consumer reviews have a significant impact on people’s decisions to purchase a product or pass. However, it is also important to consider that the review’s influence will partially depend on the item itself.

For instance, consumers who are shopping online for groceries are far less likely to sift through consumer reviews on bananas than they might when looking to buy a new washing machine or mobile phone.

Nonetheless, what makes online reviews such a critical component for online sales is the fact that these kinds of critiques provide consumers with social proof.

For those who are unaware, social proof is defined as:

“A psychological and social phenomenon wherein people copy the actions of others in an attempt to undertake behavior in a given situation… Social proof is considered prominent in ambiguous social situations where people are unable to determine the appropriate mode of behavior, and is driven by the assumption that the surrounding people possess more knowledge about the current situation.”

In a nutshell, this means that when a person is not sure what to do (such as when debating to buy a product or not), they will often follow others who seem to have more information (such as those who have already purchased the item).

Understanding this, consumer reviews are critical to the buying process. This is evidenced in the fact that online review statistics reflect that roughly 68 percent of purchasing decisions are influenced by online reviews.

That said, let’s take a look at how retailers can leverage online reviews to increase eCommerce conversions.

How to Use Reviews to Influence Conversions

The truth is that there are a multitude of ways that sellers can increase their retail sales by leveraging existing customer reviews. This is particularly true when merchants opt to flex their creative muscles.

Some ways that retailers can achieve this aim include:

1. Share Reviews on Social Media

Share

When a brand engages in constant self-promotion, followers can easily get annoyed with a brand. Therefore, it is wise to mix in a variety of other types of content.

However, one way that retailers can engage in brand promotion while also highlighting their shoppers is by sharing product reviews on social media.

The plain fact of the matter is that consumers trust each other way more than they trust companies trying to make a buck. Therefore, promoting customer reviews through social channels is a vastly superior strategy to just trying to push a product.

That said, it is still vital for merchants to keep things balanced, meaning that a brand’s social profile should not transform into a never-ending stream of product reviews.

Instead, retailers should focus on implementing a robust social media marketing strategy while tastefully integrating customer reviews.

Moreover, consumers can also share some negative reviews here and there as well. The fact is that if the company only shares the good stuff, then followers are likely to think that the brand is cherry-picking product reviews, hiding the darker stuff from the light of day.

However, by highlighting negative reviews here and there, as well as the way in which the company resolved the situation, followers are more likely to perceive all of the reviews more authentically.

Additionally, this strategy could help merchants’ conversion rates in the long run. As Search Engine Journal notes on online review statistics:

“According to a 2016 report by PowerReviews, 82 percent of shoppers specifically seek out negative reviews. But the reasons might surprise you. Accompanying research by social commerce specialist Revoo indicates that consumers spend five times as long on a site when they interact with negative reviews, with an 85 percent increase in conversion rate.”

2. Promote User-Generated Content

User Generated Content

This tip is very much in the same vein as the previous one, so we will keep it short.

User-generated content such as Instagram images is one of the most potent forms of social proof that retailers can promote. Therefore, it is wise for merchants to consider creating a hashtag for sourcing user-generated content to share on their social media channels.

Also, incentivizing buyers to share selfies with their latest purchase from the company isn’t likely to hurt the cause.

3. Enhance SERP Visibility via Reviews

SERP

Reviews don’t have to be relegated to social media and the company’s website. Instead, merchants should be showing these critiques to the world by having their ratings appear on the search engine results pages.

Many retailers are aware that ratings can appear beneath products in Google through the implementation of schema markup.

By using certain types of markup on product pages, retailers can successfully get Rich Snippets to display in the SERPs. This can be a powerful tool for increasing eCommerce conversions, given that Rich Snippets are great at attracting attention and are notorious for producing a higher click-through rate than standard SERP results.

Moreover, the presence of new product reviews is another way to get an SEO boost as fresh, unique, quality content keeps search engines coming back to reevaluate a page and its rankings.

4. Employ Reviews in Retargeting Ads

Retargeting Ads

The sad truth is that most first-time website visitors are not going to convert.

Like, 92 percent of first-time visitors kind of sad.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon retailers to position themselves to have multiple touches with a consumer. For this task, retargeting adverts are the ideal tool.

However, if merchants are going to pay to target consumers, they will want to make the most of their messaging.

One of the best ways that merchants can enhance their retargeting campaigns is by letting previous buyers speak for the brand. The fact is that product reviews can be a particularly effective tool for retargeting unconvinced consumers, as this provides them with social proof.

When prospective buyers–who have already shown interest in a specific product–see that other people like them have already purchased it and found the item to be well worth their money, they are far more likely to come back and buy than if they were presented with a standard retargeting ad.

5. Integrate Reviews into Content

Reviews

Articles, blogs, videos and similar types of content are one of the most effective tools at a retailer’s disposal. Content serves to inform, educate, entertain and earn visibility in the SERPs.

Moreover, those who have yet to make a decision on which type of product to purchase can be swayed by great content that not only compares different offerings on the market but integrates consumer reviews as well.

When creating content that aims to address informational searches and presents readers with product comparisons, retailers can utilize customer reviews to develop talking points that showcase the superiority of their item over that of the competition.

The best part about this strategy is that retailers are not telling prospective buyers how great their products are; instead, they are letting genuine buyers tell others about the awesomeness the company has to offer.

Final Thoughts

Customer reviews, while not the most quantifiable aspect of online marketing strategies, are a critical component to increasing retail conversions and growing an online business.

Plainly put, product reviews from real customers provide the social proof necessary to show others that a brand or a particular item is worth the investment. Moreover, the more reviews a seller has to showcase, the more convincing the proof is to prospective buyers.

However, harvesting reviews and utilizing them in a compelling way is not always the easiest task. If your brand would like some help integrating its product reviews into content that pushes the company’s visibility higher in the SERPs, reach out to Visiture’s eCommerce content marketing experts.

Our team of content marketing pros can help your brand craft content that educates, inspires conversions and earns the rankings needed to help increase your eCommerce market share.

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Stefan Campbell
The Small Business Blog was started in 2009. Aiming to start, help, and grow small and medium sized businesses.