It’s no secret that customers turn to ratings and reviews when they’re shopping for just about anything — from books and movies to clothing and electronics. In fact, nearly all consumers consult customer reviews, and 86% say reviews are an essential resource when making a purchase decision.
But reviews aren’t just beneficial to consumers as they search for products that best meet their needs, they’re also good for business. Read on to learn about five ways that ratings and reviews benefit brands and retailers.
Reviews Increase Conversion
Today’s information-hungry consumers want to learn everything they can before making a purchase. And if you give shoppers all the information they’re looking for — including the opportunity to hear from previous customers through ratings and reviews — they’re more likely to convert.
Of course, positively impacting conversion for products that have reviews will impact the performance of your entire site. In fact, best in class PowerReviews customers can experience an online sales increase of up to 17% site-wide.
Reviews Reduce Returns
If you’re like many brands and retailers, one of your biggest challenges is keeping return rates at bay. This is especially true for apparel brands and retailers, where characteristics like size and fit come into play. In fact, according to a recent survey from Body Labs, 23% of all clothing gets returned, and 64% of shoppers cite “incorrect fit” as the reason for the return.
Fortunately, the information from ratings and reviews helps consumers make better purchase decisions. And when consumers make smart purchase decisions, they’re less likely to return the products they purchase. For example, let’s say a consumer is shopping for a pair of shoes that she loves, but notices several reviews that mention the shoes run a size small. Armed with this information, the shopper confidently adds the shoes to her shopping cart in a size larger than she typically wears. The shoes arrive, they fit perfectly, and the brand avoids an unnecessary return.
Reviews Improve Your Presence on Google
Recent PowerReviews research found that 35% of shoppers start their shopping journey on Google or another search engine. That means if you don’t have a strong presence on Google, you’re missing out on more than a third of potential customers.
The good news is, ratings and reviews can play a major role in building a strong presence on search. Ratings and reviews impact Google results in these three ways:
- Rich Snippets: The star ratings and key descriptions from reviews appear as part of organic search results.
- Product Listing Ads: Product ratings and reviews can be syndicated to Google and appear as part of Product Listing Ads (PLAs).
- Seller Ratings: Seller Ratings rate the online seller and are displayed as stars in search results — improving click-through rates for that particular seller.
Reviews Influence Offline Sales
Sometimes a consumer will conduct research online, and ultimately make a purchase online, too. However, this isn’t always the case. Consumers often do their product research online (including reading ratings and reviews), then visit a brick and mortar store to make the purchase. In this case, the sale is considered web-influenced.
According to Forrester Research, for every dollar spent online that is influenced by web content, there will be four dollars of offline sales influenced by the same content. That means if you have ratings and reviews online, it can also have a big impact on your offline sales.
Reviews Help Improve Products
Reviews written by customers are chock full of insights and information that can help you improve your products and the customer experience, which will, in turn, positively impact your bottom line.
For example, Room & Board, a modern home furnishings retailer, noticed that they had an average star rating of 3.7 for one of their upholstery products. After digging into the reviews, Room & Board noticed that several shoppers had negative feedback about the cushioning in the upholstery. The company shared this information with their merchant, who then changed the cushioning for the product. As a result, the average star rating for the item rose to 4.3 stars. This is good news for Room & Board, since our research with Northwestern University found that products with an average star rating between 4.2 and 4.5 have the highest probability of purchase.
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