Back in 2017, only around 50% of shoppers said they read reviews about a product before purchasing it. In 2020, that percentage has risen to 93% - clear proof that shoppers are now more sophisticated and smart when it comes to online shopping.
What does this mean for companies everywhere? It means that showcasing your items and giving detailed descriptions aren’t enough anymore. People are less interested in what a company has to say about their product, and more interested in what other consumers say.
This also means that companies have to get into the minds of their customers. Where do they read their product reviews? And at what point do these reviews nudge the customers towards purchasing the product they’re curious about? If you want your customers to trust and purchase your products, it’s important to know where a “maybe” becomes a definite “yes”, so you can meet shoppers there.
If you want to know where shoppers research products online, you don’t have to look far. Most shopping apps and platforms now have their own review system so customers can leave their feedback about products bought. Just take a look at sites like eBay and Amazon - if you go to the product page of that dress you’ve been eyeing, chances are people have already bought that dress before and have written reviews about it.
This is the most convenient for a lot of shoppers, as they can make informed decisions without having to go anywhere else. It’s also convenient because having everything in one place makes the purchasing process easier. A customer is interested in the product so they read the reviews. Once they are satisfied with the reviews, they simply continue with their purchase and order the product straight from the app. Fewer steps taken mean it’s easier for customers to just say yes.
So how does this information help you? Well, we’ve learned that customers say yes quicker if everything is laid out in front of them in a single app or platform. If you haven’t yet, consider taking your products online and listing them in shopping apps instead of simply displaying them at a brick-and-mortar store.
Another takeaway from this is the fact that reviews now hold a lot of power. Look at what your consumers are saying about your product, then look at your competitors and see what people are saying about their products. You can improve your products and sale processes by looking out for negative feedback and finding ways to improve on it.
If you want to purchase something, chances are there’s a website that is dedicated to it. Software and programs have Trustpilot, business establishments have Yelp, and tourist spots have TripAdvisor. There are websites out there dedicated to reviewing and comparing products and services from the same industry or field.
As a business, it’s important to make yourself visible on review websites. Create an account on review websites, and incentivize customers for leaving feedback on review websites. Remember, give them incentives for leaving reviews on review websites, but make sure their reviews are honest and not biased.
Crowdsourcing on Social Media
People are more likely to believe people they know compared to strangers, and this is where crowdsourcing comes in. Thanks to social media, it is now easy to ask questions to a huge group of people and get the answers you need in a couple of hours.
Consumers who are more comfortable with getting advice from friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors can blast their concerns on social media. Not only is it effective, but it is also virtually effortless. All you have to do is ask people what their favorite brand of makeup is, or what bathroom cleaner would they recommend the most, and they’ll get advice from the people they know on social media.
Some people take an extra step and join communities on social media and beyond to get more feedback from people they know have been there and have gone through what they’re about to go through. It’s common to see new mothers joining motherhood groups so they can ask which diaper brand is the best, or what type of baby formula should they give to their babe.
There is no shortcut to this one - the only way to guarantee that your product will be recommended by customers to people they know is to deliver excellent customer service. If you make sure your existing customers are happy with your product, then they are more likely to recommend your product to anybody who is asking.
Although search engines are used for a lot of things, shoppers can also use search engines to start their shopping process. Nearly 50% of shoppers have used search engines when shopping before. With its recent algorithm changes, Google is now more attuned to shoppers. Not only does it have its own shopping tab, but any shopping-related query is treated differently.
If you search for shoes for sale in Google, instead of giving you articles about shoes for sale, Google now displays a large snippet at the very top of the search results page containing items relevant to your search. You can see the product name, the number of stars, or ratings, as well as the platform that sells them.
Because search engines are still relevant to the consumer purchase process, Search Engine Optimization techniques are still employed by companies everywhere to attract shoppers who prefer to start their journey through Google. As a business owner, investing in SEO content is more important than ever when it comes to turning site visitors into sales.
More and more shoppers are now using their phones to purchase products and services instead of going to physical stores and using their computers to shop online. Data from Amazon showed that although over 60% of shoppers still used their computers to order from Amazon, 16.6% have purchased products from the mobile web browser, while 13.6% used the Amazon mobile phone app to order products.
If you are the owner of an online store, make sure your sales funnel is responsive Optimize your eCommerce website to make the checkout process easier, especially for mobile users. Cart abandonment rates are higher among mobile users for many reasons:
● The mobile site layout is bad
● Mobile site loads slowly
● The sales process entails a lot of scrolling and tapping. For mobile sites, trim information to the bare necessities to avoid excessive scrolling.
You simply cannot use the same layout and sales funnel that you have on PC and expect it to work perfectly for mobile. Fine-tune your website to be easier and faster for mobile users and you’re more likely to see an increase in sales among mobile shoppers.
The Power of Reviews
Product reviews have become critical in the sales process. Before, all sellers had to do was to get their products and services seen by customers. Nowadays, companies have to earn the trust of buyers by showing them that the product they’re interested in has already gained the approval of buyers in the past and is therefore worthy of their hard-earned money. In the end, the company that wins the hearts of consumers is the company that leverages the power of reviews to earn the trust and loyalty of its customers.