What Online Stores Know About Reviews that Traditional Businesses Miss
If there’s one thing we know to be true, it’s that online businesses tend to think a little bit more critically about their need to get online reviews as a means to justify their company to potential customers. I say “justify” here because, on the internet, the playing field is leveled. Sure, there are big brands competing just like they do with physical businesses, but the bigger issue is making sure people have a reason to shop with your online store over the big guys. In the case of online stores, they have a bit of luck in their favor: a lot of people from younger generations are shopping online and prefer to find smaller brands that can better suit individual tastes and preferences.
The result of this trend is that online stores know they need to work harder to differentiate themselves from the crowd to earn business. For some businesses, like fan-favorite shoe brand Toms, this means attaching to a charity and creating a “buy one, give one” program to entice potential customers to shop with them and feel good about giving back to someone in need. On the other hand, for many, it means that they are placing a huge emphasis on online reviews to add more value and authority to their products.
Online Reviews as Far as the Eye Can See
When you browse a favorite online store, you’re likely to see that early item you take a look at also has a review section. For savvy businesses who have successfully mastered this whole online reputation thing, these items usually have at least three reviews to boost the product’s chances of being placed into a digital shopping cart.
With every online review left for these products, a person casually browsing is more likely to trust the description of the product and move forward with a purchase if they see that customers have left their own (positive) opinions of the products. Better yet are online reviews that encourage photos to be shared as well as information like “Does this product run too large/small” and other details a shopper would want to know, when applicable.
Online Stores Need to Display Reviews Front-and-Center
Many online stores opt to include a revolving queue of reviews somewhere visible, whether on the homepage only or on every page of the website.
When you shop in a physical location, it’s easy to tell the quality of the product as well as whether or not it’s something you’d really like. Online, things change. If you’re shopping for clothing, tech, or accessories, it’s difficult to tell whether or not the site you’re looking at is an actual seller, if the photos of the product are real, or if an item is actually what you think it is.
We’ve all heard horror stories of hopeful students making an online purchase when the gorgeous dress they saw online turns up at their door looking exactly the same. Instead, their purchase arrives in a dented box and is absolutely not the dress they ordered. In some cases, like cheap prom dresses, you get what you pay for. In other cases, the website you’re purchasing off of isn’t a true seller at all and the site will likely disappear before you get your item or a refund.
So, reputable sellers often like to demonstrate reliability by showcasing reviews left for them by happy customers – and they want you to see as many as possible.
The Lesson You Need to Learn about Online Reviews
Now, it may be easy for digitally based companies to really latch onto the idea that getting online reviews can make or break a potential customer’s decision to do business with you. But, any owner or manager of a company with a physical location has an impotence of stockpiling real customer opinions online.
With every review, you will not only improve the likelihood of a potential customer choosing you over the competition, but you are also building the sustainability of your business through having a great reputation that will follow you online and in the physical world.