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The Rising Power of Product Reviews: How to Get Product Reviews and Why You Should

The Rising Power of Product Reviews

Nine out of 10 buyers consider product reviews before making a purchase and they have come to expect to find stars, user reviews and ratings posted for any type of product they are considering. Without product reviews, your brand might not make the cut. Find out why shoppers are tuning out advertisers and tuning in to real user experiences instead.

BrightLocal’s 2015 Local Consumer Review Survey shared findings retailers can use to hone their marketing strategies when it comes to word-of-mouth marketing and product reviews. Perhaps one of the most interesting statistics shared was a significant decline in the number of shoppers who say they don’t consider customer reviews while deciding whether to do business with a local organization. In 2010, 29 percent said they didn’t read online reviews; by 2014, that number had dropped to 12 percent and in 2015 reached an all-time low of just 8 percent.

Since 92 percent of consumers say they read online reviews before deciding where to take their business, getting positive brand and product reviews is not a luxury for restaurants, retail and service businesses – it’s a necessity. With the holiday season on the horizon, consumers are expected to spend more time than ever before researching purchases online. In fact, a Google infographic published earlier this year featuring 5 Holiday Shopping Trends to Watch in 2015 said that 80 percent of holiday shoppers who turn to video product reviews will be looking for product reviews and ratings, specifically.

Brands that can provide the social proof that holiday shoppers are looking for in the form of four and five star ratings and positive product reviews will have the advantage. Three out of the four actions that people take after reading business or product reviews are buying actions (visiting the website, visiting the business or calling the business).

What are Product Reviews?

Product reviews come in many forms. While many are provided organically by customers who have used or sampled products and then provided their ratings, findings and opinions online, brands can also obtain product reviews from individuals and companies who specialize in evaluating products and producing videos or writing articles that describe their experience in detail. In their most basic form, product reviews often reside on product pages and usually include summary statements and a rating of 1-5 stars.

4 Components of a Product Review Marketing Strategy

  1. Ask and Solicit

Don’t assume that happy customers will know you want them to provide feedback; ask them to do so and make it easy by:

  • Sending a request by email with a link to your product page or a review site
  • Adding an invitation to provide feedback to customer receipts
  • Putting a request for reviews and a URL of the review site on product packaging
  • Scripting request for reviews to be delivered by staff at the point of checkout or in electronic transactions

The closer you can connect a request for a product review to a satisfied customer experience, the more likely they are going to be to go online and leave a review that can influence future buyers.

  1. Stars Matter

The same BrightLocal survey cited above found that getting four and especially five-star average ratings on product pages can significantly impact the consumer’s decision to buy. Stars were the most-considered factor influential to buying decisions, with 60 percent of shoppers saying they considered the overall star rating before buying, followed by quality of reviews, sentiment of reviews, age of reviews and brand response to review.

Nearly every shopper will buy products that have at least a four star average rating; however, that number drops drastically thereafter, with only 57 percent saying they will buy when the average rating is only three stars, and only about one in ten saying they will consider buying when the average star rating falls to two or less.

  1. Keep it Fresh

Generating new product reviews and ratings needs to be an on-going effort, because the impact of positive product reviews diminishes over time. Seven out of ten shoppers say that reviews left within the most recent 90 days were most relevant to them and only 3 percent said they valued reviews that were more than two years old.

  1. Respond.

No one wants a bad review or a low star rating; however, consumers said that when brands respond appropriately and quickly, it can negate the impact of negative product reviews. Make sure that as part of your overall brand reputation management strategy you are monitoring product reviews left on your site and elsewhere, responding quickly to negative reviews or user problems and interacting with both negative and positive reviewers. The more shoppers perceive that you care about user experiences, the more confident they will feel in doing business with you.

The line between personal recommendations from people a shopper knows and online product reviews from total strangers has all but disappeared.  Now is the perfect time to get customers to leave brand and product reviews that can help you increase sales during the holidays and well into the New Year. Make getting more product reviews a priority and find out how this rising star in the marketing toolbox can help you grow your business more quickly.

What about you? What is your favorite comment or review a customer left about your products or brand? Leave it in the comments below or Tweet it to us at @KabbageInc!

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Kabbage Team

Kabbage is here not only to provide access to the small business funding you need, but to also help you grow your business through free marketing tips, webinars, tools and more. Is there something you'd like us to cover or want to get your small business featured on our blog? Send us a note at content@kabbage.com.