Traditional retail allows each shopper to assess their physical surroundings and inspect the products they’re interested in before they buy them. It presents contextual clues that can warn them away from shady stores. Online, those clues are minimal, which is why social proof is so necessary — it’s reassuring to know that other shoppers have had good experiences.
The king of the social proof world, of course, is the basic review: typically a score out of 5, with some type of commentary to form a full testimonial. If you want to achieve great success as a seller, you need to get the best possible reviews — but how do you do this?
How to Improve Your Reviews and Make More Sales
Let’s take a look at some tactics you can use to improve your reviews and ultimately win more customers as a result:
Describe Your Products More Clearly
You should be aware that negative reviews don’t always result from products lacking quality or being unreasonably priced, but one of the most frustrating reasons for a negative review is a disconnect between what was offered and what was sold (false advertising, essentially).
Imagine that you buy a new umbrella that’s listed as being mauve. But when it arrives you discover that it’s pink — the umbrella itself is just as good as you’d hoped. But because you didn’t get what you paid for. You decide to return it and leave a negative review for good measure. If it had been listed as pink, you might have bought it and been satisfied with it.
Every one of your product pages should have information that’s accurate and representative. If your descriptions are vague or even incorrect, update them accordingly — and if your image galleries are lacking, put some work into them.
Patagonia, one of the leading outdoor clothing companies in the world, have nailed their product descriptions. Taking the men’s Torrentshell Jacket as a representative example:
The product description is not only incredibly detailed. Has an excellent overview of the features that will appeal to adventurers, and a link to a size guide that will help buyers find the right fit. The description is also complemented by the ability to leave reviews.
At the time of writing, the coat had earned over 200 reviews. Of which the vast majority were positive, reinforcing the value of product descriptions and reviews.
Encourage People to Leave Reviews
When talking about improving your reviews. What you’re looking to do is work on your average because that’s what matters. You’re always going to get some negative reviews. No matter how good your products are. So learning how to deal with negativity and making the most of positive opinion to show that overall sentiment is firmly in your favor.
To that end, the significant thing to consider is that most people don’t leave reviews on the products they buy. This doesn’t mean that they’re unhappy with them. Mostly, it means that they’re broadly happy, but not so blown away that they’ll heap praise on them. The reviews you pick up will tend to result from two scenarios: someone is thrilled with their buy, or they’re quite dissatisfied for whatever reason.
Yes, you’ll get some three-to-four-star reviews from those who are somewhere in the middle. But you need more to make up the bulk of your social proof. You can find ways to incentivize reviews, but you’ll find that you can make a big difference by simply asking people (quite politely) to review your products, explaining that you need their feedback to improve.
A few useful places to ask for reviews include email, social media, and on your website itself. For the latter. You can design landing pages that are designed to collect customer feedback and encourage your customers to be more forthcoming with their opinions.
Landing pages for reviews and surveys can be built by a developer, or if you have an ecommerce store, you can use a widget such as WP Product Review to integrate one into your site quickly and easily. Either way, once you have set up the page. You can then share the link on your social media, email newsletters, and more.
Provide Post-Purchase Support
What do you do once you’ve made a sale? Do you leave the buyer to take it from there, assuming that they’ll know what to do? If so, that’s typically a mistake. Because a lot can go wrong after a product purchase. The customer can have difficulty with setting it up or transporting it or storing it and end up punishing you for that difficulty by leaving a scathing review for the product.
Ensure that every order is followed up with an email that does more than provide confirmation: it should offer avenues for support, potentially including a live chat system, a support email address, and a phone number. You can also include FAQ information, guides, manuals, and anything else that can prove useful to a new buyer.
Also, remember to establish and maintain a presence on social media. Because people commonly share their product-related frustrations through Twitter or Facebook. If you track mentions of your brand and/or product names, you can spot potential issues and address them directly before they lead to negative reviews.
Sell Better Products
As we wrap things up, this point needs to be made: sometimes. The best thing you can do to improve your reviews does more to deserve them by making your products better. Always listen to feedback instead of dismissing it — what could you do differently? What features would you add? What alternative materials could you use?
If you’ve already done everything possible to optimize your products, then you can disregard this step. But I’m willing to get that you still have a lot of room for improvement. Because there’s no such thing as a perfect product, times change, tastes change, technology develops, and you need to keep up, or you’ll be left behind by your competitors.
In the end, improving your reviews comes down to offering clear and representative value propositions. Helping your customers make the most of their buys, converting as many positive buying experiences as possible into reviews. Doing everything you can to make your products as good as they can be. It’s difficult in practice, but incredibly valuable, so make it a priority.