It’s a fact — consumers don’t trust traditional marketing the way they used to. But while the world of retail and shopping continues to evolve, one fundamental remains the same: we are hard-wired to seek word-of-mouth. Consumers rely on recommendations from friends, family, and peers to make informed purchase decisions – not just brand descriptions written on product pages. This is why product reviews on websites have become an integral part of the shopping experience, both online and off. In fact, online reviews are second only to recommendations from friends and family when it comes to influencing shoppers.
But ratings and reviews aren’t just useful to shoppers — brands and retailers see serious value from them as well. According to our annual Shopper Experience Index, the conversion lift among shoppers engaging with user-generated content on best-in-class sites jumped to 137% last year, and the revenue per visitor rose to 157% — numbers that continue to increase each year. Our study also found that 64% of shoppers consider ratings and reviews, consumer-submitted questions and answers, and consumer photos important. Last year, shoppers around the world submitted 66.8 million reviews across our network, up 9% from the year before.
Because they are so pivotal to the shopping experience for both shoppers and businesses, ratings and reviews shouldn’t be limited to your product page. Here are some of the ways best-in-class brands are using product reviews to enhance the e-commerce and in-store experience:
First impressions are important — that’s why Trend Micro, a global cybersecurity software provider, and Carvana, an online used car retailer, displays their consumers’ reviews both on product pages as well as the front page of their website. This ensures that a fellow shopper’s stamp of approval is the first thing a prospective customer sees when they arrive on the homepage. Trend Micro not only calls out the average star rating and total number of reviews they have, but also includes a few specific customer reviews. Carvana invites browsers to take a look at their customer reviews, both the good and the bad, embracing the power that both positive and negative reviews have.
Consumers often tune out or even skip commercials. Make them genuinely worth watching by using the voice of the consumer. Not only does this Gillette commercial display reviews, it also shows how Gillette genuinely listens to the feedback from consumers that the brand gets through reviews and uses it to improve their products. In addition to improving product design, customer reviews and questions can help identify issues with customer service, website content, pricing, shipping, or other areas of the customer experience. See their clever commercial here.
Especially as social media becomes more shoppable, this is an integral place to display your customers’ reviews. Whether it is an advertisement, Instagram story, or organic post (all of which are seen below), customer testimonials are a simple way to promote your products in an authentic way. Consumers are also becoming more skeptical and weary of influencer marketing that has invaded the social landscape. Let them hear from someone just like them, who genuinely used and enjoyed a product, instead of from a celebrity who is being paid.
Email marketing is used far and wide to connect with your audience, promote your brand, and increase sales. Displaying testimonials from consumers alongside product photos helps your consumers do additional product research with minimal work on their end. Reviews from fellow shoppers will help your click-through and conversion rates that you’re working to bolster through these types of campaigns.
It’s no secret that online is now the predominant way that people shop — one benefit over in-store shopping is that it is easier and more convenient to make purchases. A clever way to bridge between the online and offline experiences is by displaying user-generated content in your brick-and-mortar location. By including testimonials in store displays and signage, shoppers can see the opinions of other consumers, in addition to being able to test out or try products themselves in store. Neutrogena, Rexona, and Suave does just this at a retailer’s store.
With how useful ratings and reviews are, why limit their potential to the product page? From social media to commercials, the sky’s the limit for the way you can use the voice of the consumer to advocate for your brand.