Customer reviews are the lifeblood of any retail strategy. Because when used correctly, this user-generated content (UGC) is a powerful tool in boosting confidence for future shoppers and selling more products everywhere your shoppers are.
Build a solid foundation for your ratings and reviews program by following best practices on your e-commerce site.
Customer reviews strategy
From proactively asking your customers to leave reviews, to optimizing your product display pages (PDPs), these are the nine best practices for retailers to maximize the impact of their customer reviews.
1. Define KPIs
Identifying your key performance indicators (KPIs) is a great place to start building actionable goals for your UGC program. Often these KPIs revolve around your conversion rate, average order value, or your revenue per visitor. You can also create custom KPIs, like establishing an ideal engagement rate or return rate for products.
Once you’ve established your KPIs, don’t forget to regularly monitor progress toward these goals and share results with the business.
2. Proactively collect customer ratings and reviews
Most customers don’t naturally leave reviews unless they’ve had a negative experience. That’s why it’s important to proactively collect ratings and reviews from customers. Shoppers with a positive experience are far more likely to share it if asked than if left to their own devices. This helps your products to attain a more accurate and authentic rating.
Ask shoppers for reviews after they make a purchase. Optimize review request emails with features like In-Mail Submissions and Multi-Product Submissions. Ensure you’re sending PIEs to your in-store shoppers, as well, and using as many touch points as possible. For example, use their order history and app notifications to ask for reviews.
But take note – before you ask for a customer to share content, make sure your request sequence takes into account giving the shopper time to use your product. You don’t want an inaccurate review, after all.
3. Collect visual content
More than ever, shoppers rely on visual content from reviews to make their purchasing decisions. In fact, 62% of shoppers say they are more likely to buy a product if they can view customer videos and photos. Make sure you’re asking shoppers to include visual content with their reviews.
There’s other ways to collect more visual content, too. Bazaarvoice makes collecting photos and videos from social media easier than ever. You can also have a sweepstakes competition and give added entries to shoppers who upload multiple photos to their reviews.
4. Review syndication
Set your product display pages (PDPs) up for success by collecting as much UGC as you possibly can. This includes receiving syndicated content from all potential sources, including brands and other sites. Ensuring your Product Feed is up to date with all important syndication data points — like UPC, GTIN, EAN, ISBN — is the clearest path to get the most content in an automated way.
You don’t want to end up going through the hassle of manually collecting syndicated content.
5. Supplier and seller enablement
Activate your vendors to co-market with you. Are you regularly talking to your vendors about how they should be contributing to UGC? Hold them accountable to collect as much UGC as possible with sampling, syndication, and by responding to reviews and questions.
Set KPIs for your vendors so they know what they are accountable to accomplish. The strongest co-marketing relationships happen when retailers give their vendors specific guidelines that help both brands and retailers create a great on-site experience for customers.
6. Share consumer sentiment back to the business
Once you’ve analyzed your customer sentiment insights, share the knowledge with the rest of your business. Your merchandising teams and finance teams need to see how their products, brands, or categories are performing.
It’s especially important to ensure internal teams monitor sentiment highlights and lowlights for your private label products.
7. Customize submission forms by category
Get specific on your submission forms when you’re asking for customer reviews. Ask relevant questions by category that provides your colleagues or your shoppers with necessary decision-making data. By tailoring your forms, you’ll get tailored data relevant to specific product pages.
For example, for your products in the apparel category, it makes sense to ask customers what size they usually wear and whether or not the clothing or footwear they bought from you fit them well.
8. Optimize PDPs for shopper ease
Think about the kind of experience you want to drive for your shopper on your PDP. Make it easy for shoppers to sort through ratings, reviews, and questions and answers that are relevant to them.
By using Review Highlights or Product Sentiment Insights to display product highlights and lowlights for shoppers, you can save them time. You can also share reviews across like products to ensure shoppers have the content they need. Display the additional ratings and reviews you collected in your submission form, as well.
9. Optimize category and search pages with customer reviews
Your PDPs aren’t the only web pages on your e-commerce site that need optimizing. You can also optimize your category and search pages with customer ratings and reviews.
Make sure all of the content a shopper needs to confidently make a purchase is easily surfaced. Display inline ratings (average rating and the number of reviews) to help shoppers move down the purchase funnel. It’s also helpful for your customers if you allow them to filter the category by average star rating and products by themes from reviews.
Getting more out of customer reviews on a budget
By following these nine best practices, you’ll build a solid foundation of a stellar customer ratings and reviews program on your e-commerce site. To take it a step further, watch our masterclass below to get more out of your customer reviews without breaking the bank.