Today’s customers spend more and more time researching products online.
ALlst year’s research by Hybris Software for instance found that 29% of Internet users spend up to half an hour selecting a product to purchase (source).
But why is it taking so long?
Because a lot of this time is now taken up by activities they didn’t engage in before. Like reading online reviews for instance. According to the same research, 82% of users consult opinions of others before purchasing products online.
In this post I’ll show you more reasons why you simply MUST include reviews on your product pages.
And why do I think retailers need convincing about this in the first place?
Because online retailers still fear reviews.
Some fear negative reviews. Others, not getting any at all.
But the truth is, not including the option for customers to leave feedback only hurts your conversions.
And there is plenty of data to prove it:
For starters, they help them justify their own decisions.
I’m sure this has happened to you too.
Unsure which product model to pick, you went for one with the highest number of reviews.
Or when you were buying items you’ve never bought before, you looked at others to see which model others have purchased. And then opted for the same one.
Many people will even ask a fellow shopper for their opinion when shopping in physical store. I’ve done that many times.
This behavior is known as consensus. It was first described by Robert Cialdini in his seminal book, Influence. According to Cialdini:
“When we’re unsure about the correct way of behavior, we’ll look at the behavior of others for cues and signals as to what to do.”
That’s also why we choose a busy restaurant over an empty one, even if it means having to wait to be seated. The sheer volume suggesting previous usage is a good enough clue to confirm what we should do.
In today’s markets filled with cheap and poor quality items, customers find it crucial to verify the product’s quality before buying.
Some scout online forums for opinions. Others ask about it on social media.
But most will simply read what other owners have to say about it in reviews.
Just take a look at the example below. If you were buying a turntable, this review would quickly indicate a design problem with this particular model.
According to iPerceptions, 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews (source). Why? Because the presence of reviews confirms the site’s trustworthiness.
In other words, by being transparent and allowing unedited customer feedback, the site sends a positive trust signal.
According to Reevo, displaying reviews can produce an 18% uplift in sales (source).
And a research by Zendesk discovered that 90% of respondents admitted that reading positive reviews influenced their buying decision.
Bazzar Voice also established what effect an increase from a number of reviews from one to 15 would have on the number of orders across various industries. Here’s the breakdown of their findings:
Displaying reviews on your product pages can truly help increase conversions. But as it turns out, it takes more than that for reviews to make an impact.
I guess it’s actually quite obvious – the more reviews your product receives, the greater the chance that they will help in convincing someone to buy it.
And according to this research from Smart Insights, this influence on conversions grows with the number of reviews.
But how many reviews do you really need?
It’s actually hard to say. According to BrightLocal for instance, 85% of customers read up to 10 reviews before purchasing.
But it’s true. Negative reviews can actually help you sell more.
According to Econsultancy for instance, the presence of negative reviews can help increase conversions up to 67%!
One reason for that is because customers trust reviews more when they see both positive and negative ones. When presented only with positive ones they suspect censorship or faked feedback.
Naturally your profile should include mainly positive reviews. However, those few negative ones might actually help you sell more.
I’m sure you’ve seen negative reviews which clearly suggested that the person simply didn’t understand the product. Or that the fault was clearly theirs. Or that they haven’t used the product as they should have.
And did you know that such reviews only help to reaffirm the product description and the positive reviews?
How? By showing you that there isn’t actually anything wrong with the product. It’s just other people don’t use it as intended.
So if you receive this type of a negative review, don’t hide it. Answer the person’s query and explain why the product didn’t work for them. And then let other visitors see it so that they can understand the real value of a product.
Given the abundance of choice on the market, customers seek reaffirming that a particular product is for them. Reviews, given their unbiased nature provide the best way for them to justify their decisions, confirm the product’s quality and see its real value.