Customer Reviews: 5 key impacts on your e-commerce metrics
Four out of five users view online ratings and reviews before making a purchase.
So if you still think that online customer reviews are much ado for nothing, you'll have to change your mind quickly!
The SoLocal Barometer published in January 2018 states that nearly 80% of French consumers consult online customer reviews before making a purchase decision and 88% admit to being influenced by them. Another study by Brightlocal affirms that 85% of consumers now listen as much to the recommendations of their relatives as customer reviews online.
Since the explosion of social media, the reliability of online reviews and the evolution of search engine algorithms, consumer reviews have become central to the buying process. They have become a real "social reinsurance" for today’s expert-consumers and irrefutably impact the performance of e-commerce sites.
Let’s take a closer look how customer reviews influence the key performance metrics of e-commerce.
1.Improved SEO score and ads placement (SEA)
Although the factors that influence SEO are numerous, customer reviews have an undeniable impact on the natural referencing of product listings and e-commerce sites on search engines.
Google's crawlers consider that "user generated content" (whether it is a review, a question or a comment) is a positive signal because it provides information on the relevance of the page to the users related to a service or product.
Google integrates this parameter in the natural referencing of websites (on Google search) and products (via Google Shopping) to favour e-commerce retailers who have recent, numerous and relevant reviews *, All it takes is for the e-tailer to integrate them via Rich results ** and Google Seller Ratings.
Moreover, the combination "brand name + reviews" is often one of the most sought-after keyword associations on search engines. So we shouldn’t deprive ourselves.
2.Increased Click-through-rate (CTR)
If you have a customer review system in place on your website, you can display your customer reviews directly in Google's search results. Good to know: the reviews on your products can be displayed on organic search engine results and paid results (Google Shopping or Adwords).
According Brightlocal’s study in 2017, the benefits can be enormous: "We observe a 15-30% rise in CTR for links – natural or sponsored, search and display – that include customer reviews". More cautiously, a study by SoLocal observes an increase of 10-17% in CTR, which is already significant.
Because a rise in CTR necessarily means more leads, more customers ... and thus, more turnover!
Here's how customer reviews appear in sponsored links:
… and here’s how they appear in organic search results:
Let me guess which links you most want to click ...
This confirms the statement by Q3-Advocacy, a specialist in collaborative marketing via brand ambassadors: "75% of French consumers prefer companies that already have online reviews" (see Yellow Pages study).
Good to know: for companies that use Google My Business, there isn’t a positive effect unless the average rating is 3 stars or more, as shows the study by BrightLocal.
3.Boost in conversion rates
Beyond visibility and credibility, it's proven: online reviews also have a direct impact ... on your sales!
When Internet users visit an e-commerce site, they are seeking reassurance on the reliability of the service and the quality of the products: customer reviews left by previous buyers is exactly what they are looking for.
For 83% of Internet users, consulting customer reviews helps them to make their choice. And sometimes in a decisive way: 51% of the users think that reviews have a significant influence in their choice (65% among the 18-35-years of age).
Therefore, integrating customer reviews on your website and search engine results can generate a significant sales increase: from 15% to ... much more!
According to a study by customer engagement specialist Reevo, a customer review system leads, on average, to an 18% increase in sales. BazaarVoice (a solution that helps brands to generate consumer reviews) goes even further: according to its teams, conversion rates increase by +10% from the first review posted, +30% with 50 reviews and up to +44% with 200 reviews for the same product.
4.Increase in average basket size
Reviews reassure: they make the users feel more confident and serene about their purchase decision.
As a result, on websites that display many reliable customer reviews on their product specifications, there is a clear improvement in the average basket size:
• in terms of volume: almost one out of two orders (42%, according to WebRepublic) is of a higher volume
• and in value: for each order the purchase value is 5% higher on average (up to 31% depending on the sector)
As the icing on the cake, a study by LaPoste noted that 41% of customers say they make regular spontaneous purchases after positive reviews, which also contributes to increasing the average basket size.
5. Abandoned baskets and return rate
Having customer reviews and comments at various strategic locations on your website (e.g., on the product descriptions, within the purchase funnel...) reassures your website visitors.
It helps them to get a better idea of your products, reduces the risk of misunderstandings and disappointments. And help them make their buying decisions more serenely.
E-commerce sites are not only seeing increase in their website traffic and sales, but also a significant drop in cart abandonments and product returns!
Think about when your consumers need reassurance during their purchase journey and implement reviews in these strategic places.
You will quickly notice the benefits!
With millions of comments posted every day around the world, customer reviews have become a strategic weapon for brands.
Start (or continue) to invest in this essential lever for any online business and seek to optimise the visibility and impact of these reviews by placing and relaying them in the key touchpoints of the purchasing journey.
To go even further:
• Look for all sorts of reviews: customer reviews and reviews on your website, influencer reviews, comparator ratings or independent tester sites, reviews on 'neutral' review sites (Verified Reviews, TrustPilot, ...), and on Facebook or GoogleMyBusiness, to name a few.
• Increase the number of online reviews of your products: on average, 90% of online shoppers read 2 customer reviews before making the purchase although more than 30% of shoppers say they read between 4 and 6 customer reviews before deciding to buy. Encourage your satisfied customers to leave a rating and reward them if needed.
• Position the reviews intelligently: on the different touchpoints (on your brochure, on your website homepage, on product descriptions, within the payment funnel, in your newsletters...)
• Do not be afraid of negative comments:
Of course, 86% of people will hesitate to buy if there are negative reviews
But according to Reevo, the presence of a negative comment increases the conversion by 67%, provided that the company has responded => the presence of negative comments is a guarantee of transparency and authenticity, and the responses of the brand shows its proximity to its consumers.
• Invest in quality: look for false comments and make sure you are in tune with the criteria of transparency and reliability of regulations (decree which came into effect on January 1, 2018)
* For Bazaarvoice experts, this triptych is the ultimate combination to make the most of your customer reviews.
** to set up "rich results" and display your customer reviews on Google, see Google's guide