The importance of collecting and showcasing online reviews cannot be emphasized any better than in the current COVID environment.
Almost 90% of consumers have shifted to online shopping resulting in a 30.1% increase in e-commerce sales for the first six months of 2020 compared to 2019. In the same period, web penetration increased by 18.6% (digitalcommerce360).
The question is, will this trend continue after the COVID crisis is over? At what pace will it decrease if at all it will decrease? And more importantly, what does this mean for both physical and online businesses?
Why do businesses need to go online?
Change is imminent in life. Whether we like it or not, it always happens. But the one thing that determines if we will succeed or not is not the change itself, but rather how we react to the change.
Think of companies like Nokia and Kodak they had all the resources to adapt to the change and grow but just chose not to. The same case applies, COVID 19 has forced customers to shift to online shopping.
Will we go back to physical shopping after the crisis is over? Absolutely yes. However, the percentage of online shoppers will remain the same if not grow even higher.
So, what do businesses need to do to remain profitable in this era of change? Simple, learn what drives customers to make online purchase decisions, shift your business to online, and make the necessary steps to make online shoppers trust your brand without you having to make the physical contact.
What influences customers to make online purchase decisions?
87% of all purchases made online begin with a simple search on Google, Amazon or other e-commerce stores. Okay, that’s the foundation. However, what happens after that? After a customer lands on your website, what makes him/her trust you and your product, yet you are a complete stranger to them?
Well, two critical factors convince online shoppers to trust you; first, recommendations from friends and relatives.
These include recommendations from physical friends or social media recommendations from people they trust. That is why social media influencers have become so popular in the recent past. That is due to the level of trust they create in their followers.
The second and most critical method of convincing new shoppers to trust your brand is through online customer reviews. They form a critical part of Amazon’s success, as well as all other famous e-commerce platforms.
It acts as a bridge to the physical touch of conventional shopping by allowing customers to review the experience of others who have purchased the same product.
Importance of Having Online Reviews on your Website
Let’s start with some stats. Online reviews are business models of famous businesses such as Yelp, Google Local Business Listing, Angie’s List, TripAdvisor, among others.
Yelp receives 178 million unique visitors every month, all of whom are looking for the best restaurants and other businesses based on review ratings.
TripAdvisor receives an average of 390 million unique visitors each month, has an estimated 435 million reviews uploaded on its website covering over 7 million restaurants, tourist destinations, and attractions all over the world (TripAdvisor).
Did you know that a single star increase in Yelp ratings increases sales by almost 35%? That’s how important online reviews are.
Additionally, 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business. 88% of online shoppers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations by friends or relatives (Invespcro.com).
According to research by Concordia St. Paul, 73% of online shoppers make purchase decisions based on reviews. 92% of customers fail to proceed with purchases if online reviews are not available.
These are just samples of the statistics available online related to online reviews. We cannot overemphasize how crucial online reviews are.
So, the question is not whether you need to collect online reviews for your business, but rather how you can collect reviews and how you can showcase them to make online shoppers trust you more.
How to Collect and Showcase Online Reviews
There are several ways to collect online reviews. The first option is using third-party sites. However, it depends on what you sell.
If you run a service, you need to list your business on the famous review platforms starting with Google Local Business Listing. This is one of the most underestimated platforms for small and medium service businesses.
According to 99Firms Statistics, 97% of both online and physical consumers search online for a local business, internet users visit an average of 1.5 billion locations related to their Google searches every single month, 70% of consumers visit stores based on the information they find online regarding the stores. Best of all, 78% of local mobile searches result in an offline purchase, while 28% of local searches result in a purchase.
Other third-party sites you should consider using are TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, and Yelp. There are others also. You can check out online to find more.
In case your business deals with physical products, it is even much easier for you. All you need is to list your products on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and other e-commerce stores. You can also gather reviews from social media by posting your products on Facebook sales pages.
Naturally, the majority of online shoppers will write you a review without needing any incentive; especially if your product is extremely good or bad to them.
However, if you don’t get as many reviews as you would expect, you can compel them to write reviews by offering incentives such as gifts, discounts, or even a social media shoutout. You can try different strategies to find out which works best for you.
Do you Need to showcase Reviews on Your Site?
Absolutely YES. Adding reviews on your site’s homepage is critical for increasing trust, especially for new customers. If you have an e-commerce store, you can even go a step further to offer reviews for each product you sell. Here is an example.
E-commerce has received a great boost, thanks to COVID 19 crisis. However, it is here to stay, and the best every business owner should do is adapt and start making the necessary steps to make their businesses easily accessible online.
Once you start getting customers online, it is now a question of creating online trust, which can best be achieved through collecting and showcasing online reviews.
If you are looking for a way to showcase reviews on your website, visit reviewsocio.com. It offers this among other features for increasing customer trust through reviews.