by Francisco Amigo
Country Manager, Chile
Among Amazon’s many innovations, there is the product review. The giant digital native company established itself as the largest retailer in the world in 2015, and amid its many feats to get there, it popularized product reviews.
You often read product reviews before purchasing. You probably have written a few ones yourself—especially if you had a bad experience with a purchase. Chances are, you also hassled with overcoming poor-quality reviews for your brand, or struggled to get past the lack of reviews altogether. Marketers now are pressured to constantly generate authentic and positive reviews for their brands at scale and here is why.
The fragmentation of media coupled with how easy it is for people to communicate with friends, family, and likeminded consumers through digital media have fundamentally reshaped the buyer’s journey. Consumers learned to ignore ads and look for purchase recommendations from their peers.
In fact, Nielsen (2015) found that 84% of people trust peers over media. As a result, ads lost tremendous relevance in an inverse relationship to product reviews and ratings, which are now integral part of the purchase decision-making process.
Simply put, consumers trust other consumers, not ads. You can see by the numbers how prevalent product reviews really are:
1. Product reviews are quantifiably persuasive
93% of consumers polled said they read product reviews before buying in the last 6 months, and 82% of them reported having their purchase decision influenced by the reviews (Kibo Commerce, 2017).
2. Online reviews move offline sales
Online reviews move in-store sales. 94% of shoppers research products online before buying at physical stores (Digital Commerce 360, 2017), and for every $1 of online revenue, another $6.50 of in-store revenue is influenced by reviews (Bazaarvoice, 2017).
3. A few reviews go a long way
50 reviews on a product page generate a 30% increment in sales, and as little as 10 reviews increase online orders by 21% (Bazaarvoice, 2017). Reviews are incredibly important for SEO, conversion, and relevance. A product page has an average 108% traffic increase once consumers post at least one review (PowerReviews, 2017).
4. All reviews are relevant
Consumers do their research and read 5 times more negative reviews than positive ones. They look closely at all information available before making a purchase decision. 95% of shoppers suspect that reviews are false or have been censored if there are no negative comments (Hubspot, 2015).
How to generate quality reviews for your brand at scale
In today’s retail ecosystem, product reviews on e-commerce sites are proven to be one of the most effective ways to grow sales on and offline. While brands need to generate educational and trustworthy reviews at scale, undiscerning marketers looking to meet this challenge may be tempted to deploy deceiving tactics to disseminate fake customer reviews. Such misleading maneuver is bound to backfire because consumers are savvier than ever, and retailers have policies in place to combat unethical practices relating to product ratings and reviews.
Thankfully, it is possible to generate authentic and trustworthy reviews with an approach that actually empowers consumers and builds up brands. This requires a well-rounded brand advocacy activation encompassing trial and consumer education through personalized engagement. Equally important is to have a distribution strategy in place to make the most of the reviews and all the branded UGC that often results from a well-done brand advocacy program available to shoppers at their favorite online stores.
Case study on generating product reviews
Through a partnership with The Insiders, a beauty care line in Chile looking to grow awareness and consideration offered a VIP brand experience to 150 handpicked consumers who showed the right profile and motivation to test the products and share their insights.
Selected consumers learned about the product via personalized engagement. Beyond receiving educational materials, every time that a consumer voiced a barrier, a campaign manager answered the concerns raised with educational insights, such as recommending the consumer to follow the application instructions to see whether results were different.
In short 3 weeks, these consumers went on to post 316 honest reviews in their authentic voice on the most relevant retailer sites—112 of them on amazon.com. The brand also had a SEO lift resulting of the mentions on high-traffic sites. Purchase intention went up 57% following the activation, which delivered a 6:1 ROI.
The brand was able to both raise awareness and grow sales with a turnkey yet customizable solution The Insiders offers to client brands looking to generate authentic product reviews at scale, as featured in the video below.
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