If you’ve taken the initiative to launch a micro-e-commerce site, it’s because you believe in what you’re offering. You know that it’s high-quality and worth the asking price. Shouldn’t that be enough for your prospective customers? Can’t they trust you on it?
Well… no, they can’t. They don’t know you, and they certainly have no compelling reason to believe that you’re not trying to exploit their good faith to make a quick buck. If you want them to trust you — to trust your brand — you need to earn it over time.
To get things started, and help expand your credibility along the way, you simply must show real and meaningful reviews of your products and/or services— and I’m going to tell you why. Let’s go through the 3 main reasons why reviews are important for micro-e-commerce.
1. They Boost Conversion Rates
Think about a time when you were looking to buy a particular product online and trying to decide which site to order from. Did you lean more towards sites that featured customer reviews on their product pages?
According to some surveys, 71% of shoppers will take the time to read reviews before buying online, and 63% will be more likely to make a purchase, and in turn boost your conversion rates, if ratings and reviews are featured on a product page — so the power of reviews in this format cannot be denied.
For micro-e-commerce, which focuses firmly on niches, this influence is magnified. Someone who arrives at your website won’t be looking to browse and possibly pick out a range of impulse buys. They’ll be looking for something in particular, and there’s a decent chance they’ll have a fair level of knowledge about it.
By showing in-depth unbiased reviews, you’ll advance the notion that you have nothing to hide and you’re confident in the quality you’re offering. These are both things that will make you a more credible supplier and give you the chance to establish a foothold as an authority in your niche.
The reader will also likely be able to tell when a reviewer knows what they’re talking about, so finding a positive testimonial from a third-party expert will be highly motivating.
Consider the effect of video reviews. They don’t just give users a greater level of information and detail about their prospective purchase – they also show the reviewer, making it easier to assess their expertise.
2. They Yield Valuable Feedback
When you’re building up your micro-e-commerce store, one of your primary objectives should be to make a name for yourself in the relevant community, and that’s very difficult to achieve without open lines of communication.
By making it as easy as possible to leave reviews on your website (possibly even including small incentives), you can gather a good deal of meaningful feedback, then address it in a fashion that looks good to other users.
When you get positive comments, you can show personality in being thankful and assuring people that you’ll keep working to deliver that level of quality. When you get negative comments, you can show professionalism in apologizing for problems and committing to resolving them effectively and efficiently (instead of trying to avoid bad press).
The latter can be particularly powerful. Imagine arriving at an e-commerce product page and seeing that when someone left a bad review, the company was amicable and resolved the problem, and the customer was ultimately very pleased. Wouldn’t that give you a good feeling about investing your time and resources in buying from that company?
Now, the prospect of fielding negative reviews can be daunting, but try your best to actively engage with complaints. When you get slated, reframe it as an opportunity to share your side of the story and show that you care about your customers. Here are some tips:
- Respond promptly. The longer you let a negative review linger, the more people will see it unaddressed, and the more harshly the reviewer will come to view you. Act as quickly as you can — it will minimize the damage to your reputation and reinforce your commitment to building good relationships with your customers.
- Be apologetic. You need to show humanity in your response. Even if you don’t feel that the negative feedback is justified, you need to empathize with your customer and put yourself in their shoes. Their anger will likely subside if you’re patient.
- Be open and honest. This is your chance to show that you acknowledge the feedback and are willing to rectify the problem. If your company has made a mistake, you need to hold your hands up and admit it – prospective customers will respect it.
- Take it offline if appropriate. If you are dealing with a particularly furious customer, you may want to try to smooth things over through offline communication. Having a drawn-out back-and-forth online could end up making you look worse.
3. They’re Powerful Marketing Resources
Your reviews shouldn’t simply be consigned to your product pages, because they’re perfect for social media. You can pick out particular reviews from your website to highlight on social media, and repost any positive mentions you see (as shown, L’Oreal Paris likes to repost praise and use it to spark further commentary).
Another great option for social media is to encourage influencers in your niche to review your products.
If sending out a free trial of whatever you’re offering to a respected influencer can yield a significant boost in exposure, why not do it?
It’s incredibly cost-effective due to the remarkable power of social proofing. Get a product sample to a popular reviewer and you can go from being entirely unknown to having a decent stream of traffic practically overnight.
If you’re really confident about what you’re offering, why not propose a comparison with a leading competitor?
People lean heavily on roundup reviews when making tough decisions (I recently made good use of a website creator comparison when looking to build a site, for example), and there’s no better way to stake your claim that by challenging the top dogs.
And then there’s your marketing collateral or any other advertising you feel like doing. Being able to say that your service is rated 4.5 stars on average, for instance, lends a lot of weight to your claims. The more you can tell the world how happy your customers are, the more they’ll want to be that happy too.
Are you looking for ways to squeeze more conversions from your micro-e-commerce site? Focus on reviews!
By doing more with customer feedback, using it both as a marketing tool and a driver for improvement, you can let everyone know the quality of what you’re offering and show that you’re invested in keeping your customers happy.