Every savvy ecommerce business knows the holiday season is a time of great opportunity to boost sales, increase brand loyalty and reach new customers. Shoppers are willing to spend hundreds on gifts for loved ones. In fact, Statista found the average U.S. consumer spent $794 on Christmas gifts in 2018. As for Cyber Monday shoppers, there were roughly 122.2 million of them in the U.S. last year.

No wonder it’s ’tis the season for profitability and out-of-the-box marketing campaigns. Holiday cheer aside, the rising ecommerce competition from retailers–and Amazon–has businesses wondering how to approach the holidays all together.

To get in your last-minute changes to your ecommerce website, we’ll help you cover important things like customer engagement, popular retail trends and go over our holiday marketing checklist. Let’s get started.

A Profitable Holiday Season Starts With Engaged Customers

Planning your holiday marketing campaign is a long process. But there are ways to make improvements in the final months to get more out of your campaign. The importance of connecting with your customers is huge for ecommerce brands seeing a spike in web traffic.

Customers seemingly tackle their lists earlier every year. In fact, a 2018 report from Credit Karma found 86% of consumers started shopping for the holidays between June and September. But don’t sweat it just yet if you’re a little late to the prepping season.

Credit Karma Graphic on Holiday Shopping

There are still plenty of ways to optimize your ecommerce efforts in time for the holidays to maximize customer engagement and increase conversions. Here are a few ways to get started:

1. Involve Your Customers As Soon As Possible

Customers love your attention. That’s why personalization marketing efforts help ecommerce businesses increase sales and conversion rates. A 2018 Evergage report found 87% of marketers accredited personalization marketing to their sales lift.

evergage impact on personalization marketing graphic

Give your shoppers a better shopping experience by providing in-depth review content that covers everything from size and fit to product pros and cons. A lot of holiday purchases are made for others so product details are more critical.

2. Focus on Shareable Visual Content

Consumers not only want personalized experiences, they also want visual examples from people just like them. In fact, the PowerReviews Health and Beauty Study found 68% of shoppers actively seek product photos and videos from other shoppers before buying.

Health and Beauty Whitepaper stat on likeness

Additionally, 7 in 10 respondents said they look for similar attributes from reviewers’ visual content, such as skin tone, body type and age. Use the power of social media to collect the images and videos your shoppers are already sharing then display this content directly on your product pages. More visual cues will help reduce purchase hurdles.

Already a PowerReviews customer? We can activate social collection for you now! Get started today. Contact our team!

3. Incentivize Holiday Shopping for Customers

A 2019 eMarketer report found the majority of shoppers “always” or “often” use coupons or discount codes for the items they buy online. Incentivizing shoppers during the holidays with specific discount codes could be the push you need.

influencer and sampling suite syndication example

Another way to incentivize is through holiday product sampling campaigns. By running a product sampling for reviews campaign, the turnaround makes it easier to get in last minute reviews to your most important products.

This is a great way to get prepared for the holiday season by generating more reviews through influencers and product sampling. And for last-minute marketers, this is even more critical.

Important Holiday Shopping Trends to Watch

Every holiday season brings about a new trove of trends to keep up with. As you continue to plan through the end of the year, it’s important to be on top of some of the trends taking over the retail industry.

To help you out, we’ve put together a list of holiday shopping retail trends that you might have missed in your preparation:

Consumers Are More Confident About Shopping Online

Data from Adobe Digital Insights found online sales increased by 16.5% in 2018 year over year. The highest online sales day was–predictably–Cyber Monday. Ecommerce continues to evolve and an emphasis on quality user experiences continues to be a driving factor in purchasing decisions.

Adobe analytics graphic

Retailers With Engaging Online & In-Store Experiences Have the Upper Hand

The same report also found retailers with both brick-and-mortar and online storefronts had a 50% increase in buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS). The growth of BOPIS in 2019 has been astronomical–especially as bigger players like Walmart and Target have invested more into this option. BOPIS checkout carts typically have fewer items, which allows retailers to upsell customers once they’re in-store. Visual in-store experiences maximize the opportunity to chip away at higher sales.

AI Will Help Retailers Retain More Abandoned Carts

A Baymard survey discovered the three biggest factors for online abandoned carts were extra costs, the need to create an account and complicated UX. What was once a tool for larger companies is now a tool used by merchants of all sizes. AI in ecommerce is a must for brands wanting to retain customers, limit shopping cart abandonment and provide better user experiences.

Baymard cart abandonment graphic

NRF’s Annual October Holiday Consumer Survey found 60% of respondents want gift cards or certificates instead of other gifts. Consumers crave flexibility, so having gift cards available on your site is key—especially for last-minute shoppers. The best part is this sort of implementation is ideal for last-second marketers looking to make small changes that will have a big impact.

target homepage gift card deal

The Holiday Planning Checklist for 2019

If your customers start shopping earlier for the holidays, you really need to jump ahead of their search. There are so many moving parts when planning for the holiday season, which is why we’ve put together this checklist to keep you on track.

Holiday Marketing Checklist: Phase 1

  • Reassess last year’s efforts and numbers: Deep dive into last year’s campaign and rehash your theme, plan of execution, goals and areas of improvement. If you’re just getting started, now is the time to track everything. Historical data is your best friend because it gives you the quickest answers to overall performance.
  • Establish new goals for 2019: You know where you need to improve from last year, so start setting goals that achieve a specific initiative in your campaign. Whether it’s increased relevant traffic, average order sizes, conversion rates on specific products or post-purchase engagement, you have to set goals you know are at least possible. Unrealistic goals will only do harm to your team.
  • Develop your launch strategy: As you begin your initial planning, now is the time to develop your go-to-market or launch strategy. Holiday campaigns are complicated, which is why it’s crucial to create a detailed plan. This is when you assign roles to team members and set up communication avenues to keep the team updated on goals.

  • Map out your email strategy: Email is a powerful marketing tactic during the holidays. Your competitors are ramping up their email efforts so it’s imperative to think outside the box and develop a sequence that will resonate with your customers.

Holiday Marketing Checklist: Phase 2

  • Launch gift guides with your holiday hashtag: Finalize your gift guide to allow customers an early look at your deals, biggest products and other holiday offerings. A quality gift guide is visually engaging, highlights popular products based on consumer trends and is easy to navigate. At the same time, this is when you want to launch your branded hashtag or jump on a popular holiday hashtag.

  • Segment and leverage your audiences: The holiday season is a great time to fine-tune your personalization efforts. Figure out how you want to slice your email lists and how best to leverage them. Try segmenting email addresses from a previous launch by order value to help you retarget these customers.
  • Implement any last minute site changes: The holiday season brings big traffic numbers for ecommerce businesses, but it’s also a time where developers slow down their work. Get website implementations finalized now to avoid delays in development work through the actual holiday period.

Holiday Marketing Checklist: Phase 3

  • Prep your inventory. There’s nothing worse than hiccups with inventory management during the holiday season. Use current and historical data to make informed inventory decisions right now. Your inventory management system should be equipped to support this busy time.

  • Optimize your campaigns: As things truly start to pick up, this is the time to monitor campaign performance and make tweaks or small changes to optimize growth. Compare campaign performance with the benchmarks you set in September and adjust accordingly.
  • Celebrate small wins with your team: You didn’t get to this month alone, so make sure you celebrate with your team and show the results of your campaign so far. Even if they’re not the prettiest numbers yet, you want to find encouragement to prevent fatigue or burnout through the holiday push. This is the time to order your team lunch and show gratitude. Bigger celebrations come later.

Holiday Marketing Checklist: Phase 4

  • Deploy countdowns on shipping: Communicate to customers when to place orders to ensure timely shipment. Use popup modals clearly displayed on your site to ensure shoppers know your delivery capabilities.
  • Give last-minute shoppers plenty of options: Super Saturday, known as the Saturday before Christmas, is one of the busiest shopping days of the season. The National Retail Federation found 56% of consumers said they shop on this day. Additionally, 70% of shoppers between the ages 18 and 24 are more likely to purchase gifts the last week before Christmas. The two weeks before Christmas are prime spots for boosting sales, so extend sales or offer free shipping to get last-minute customers to spend.

NRF last shopping day graphic

  • Take note of what’s working for future campaigns: As mentioned earlier, collecting data is highly encouraged. In fact, you should use what you’ve learned so far to begin planning your post-holiday events. Watch for the most impactful tactics and strategize how these ideas could boost sales in 2020.
  • Hold a post-holiday debrief with your team: After the craziness of the holidays, it’s smart to connect with your team and assess what went right and wrong. This is the perfect time to collect notes for next year’s holiday campaign while this one is still fresh in your mind. And don’t forget to celebrate and reward your team for their hard work.

Last-Minute Moves Can Make the Difference

Planning for the holiday season gives you the chance to really figure out what tactics will work best for your brand based on current trends and past campaigns. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments on the fly to get maximum results. Sometimes it’s the smallest thing that prevents you from massive conversions in sales.

PowerReviews can take your customer review collection, analysis and customer experience to the next level. Contact us today, and a member of our team will help find the solution that’s right for you.

Kat Ambrose

Kat Ambrose is a writer who specializes in creating value-packed blog content for ecommerce and SaaS companies. When she's not writing, you can find her out running, checking out a thriller novel—or two—from the library, or trying to pet the nearest dog. Say hi on Twitter or check out her website Katambrose.com.

It’s said that goldfish have an attention span of 3 seconds–so how long do you think it is for your customers?

Whether it’s hours of Instagram or binge-listening the newest podcast, we consume a lot of media in various mediums and don’t make a lot of time to hear your business out. So with so many companies competing for attention, it’s no wonder that micro brands are flourishing amount retail giants.

In fact, companies like Nordstrom, Walmart and Amazon shell out a ton of money each year to reach their ideal customer. But with the rise in direct-to-consumer marketing, micro brands are standing out right in front of our faces.

You likely have heard of some of the more popular micro brands like UNTUCKit, Billie and Sugarbearhair. And that’s because these brands have pushed plenty of social ads and mid-roll advertising campaigns on your favorite podcast. Simply put, these companies leverage social commerce in a way that’s completely changing the way we think about online selling.

So much so that big-name companies are feeling the pressure to compete—or acquire the competition. According to RetailDive, one-third of U.S. consumers expect to make at least 40% of their purchases from direct-to-consumer companies within the next five years. Also, 81% claim they’ll make a minimum of one purchase from a direct-to-consumer brand within the next five years.

So, what are these brands doing that’s yielding such success?

We’ll take a look at the successful rise in micro brands and how they’ve impacted social commerce and mobile sales as a whole. But first, what actually is a micro brand?

What Are Micro Brands?

Micro brands use a direct-to-consumer business model, meaning the company foregoes the middleman by selling and shipping products straight to the customer.

Traditionally, the bigger your business (or, the more stores you had), the more successful you were, but that isn’t so much the case in today’s ecommerce world. Companies find that they can generate sales and grow cult-like followings through strategic, hyper-focused content and social media marketing campaigns.

But the audiences they’re targeting aren’t the typical consumer personas many brands use to identify and resonate with their audience. These are small pools of consumers who are highly engaged with a brand—not a mass audience.

Showing up in places their unique audience frequents, like podcasts, Instagram and streaming services, they capitalize on what Google likes to call micro-moments—or an intent-rich moment–when a person turns to a device to act on a need and generates success.

Micro Brands Stand out From the Crowd by Being Selective

Another significant difference between micro brands and other retailers is their hyper-focused approach to content marketing. Take the woman’s razor brand, Billie, for example. From a bird’s eye view, Billie sells high-quality razors and shaving products for women.

But what makes this company so successful is its ability to resonate with its target niche using select visuals, tone and language that appeal to a specific smaller audience. While big brands often fish the whole ocean, micro brands look to the best spots for a particular need.

This is done through personalization marketing instead of trying to appeal to the masses. Billie’s female-first approach is more engaging to women who aren’t necessarily concerned with adhering to societal norms around women and body hair. But it also connects with a specific product need–women who are tired of paying more for their shaving supplies.

Billie micro brand message

In contrast, a company like Gillette’s Venus has built its brand on just the opposite. Because of Billie’s unique targeting, they strike a chord with their audience in a way Venus doesn’t.

However, because of this, Venus is looking for ways to stay competitive, as the launch of their delivered-to-your-door custom razor package confirms.

Even in the case of their social game, the content looks extremely similar. Micro brands attract a smaller group of customers by appealing to their unique interests, values and priorities instead of being too general.

Changing the Social Proof Landscape

Using influencers as part of a brand’s content strategy is nothing new, but for micro brands, it’s approached a little differently. Instead of racing to work with influencers with the biggest following, it’s more like the opposite.

Rather than seeking out the Kardashian’s approval, scaling micro influencers or everyday influencers helps keep your reach specific with a loyal fan base. These influencers built a relationship with their followers by asking questions, answering DMs and genuinely caring about the products they share with followers.

For example, Zenni Optical does a great job of making its customers the star of their marketing efforts. While the company isn’t as micro as it used to be, this direct-to-consumer brand successfully uses social to connect with consumers.

Zenni posts photos of everyday customers wearing their glasses. The eyewear company created a reputation for themselves as a relatable brand for creative and budget-friendly shoppers.

Zenni Optical user-generated content

Additionally, they promote their shoppers directly on the product pages with user-generated content of the specific frames. This helps shoppers make better purchasing decisions with visual proof.

And your customers want visuals. A PowerReviews survey found 63% of U.S. shoppers specifically look for user-generated content along with verified consumer reviews before buying.

Micro Brand Shoppers Still Rely On Customer Feedback

Influencers aside, how are micro brands impacting the effectiveness of other forms of social proof, like ratings and reviews? Most micro brands work without a physical retail space and have the unique challenge of getting consumers to purchase products without ever seeing it in person.

This type of relationship requires trust. What’s the quickest way to build that trust? By collecting ratings and reviews from reliable sources that customers can identify with.

Direct-to-consumer mattress brand, Casper, faces the ultimate retail challenge—getting people to buy a mattress without ever testing it out first. Sounds daunting, right?

casper facebook testimonial

To build that essential trust among customers, Casper injects social proof into a large portion of their content marketing. The company integrates glowing customer testimonials in social posts as well as on the homepage of their website and on their product pages.

Within their product page designs, customers search through reviews broken up into categories that align with top concerns such as comfort, temperature and even reviews from couples. As a result, Casper is positioned to be a trustworthy brand that wants its customers to sleep better at night (literally), knowing they made a great purchase.

customer ratings on casper mattress website

What makes micro brand social proof especially powerful is that because customers are making purchases without handling the products in person, it’s all the more important to make customers feel secure, confident and validated in their decision.

Plus, many micro brands make buying and returning products easy, so taking a chance on a new product has never been more low-risk for consumers.

A Lesson in Niche Content Marketing

Micro brands have do an amazing job marketing to their niche audience, but that doesn’t mean it only works because they’re so focused on targeting the right shopper. Instead, large brands need to a page from the micro-brand content marketing playbook to stay relevant.

Here are a few ways to make this approach work for your brand.

Be Intentional With Influencer Relationships

Instead of trying to appeal to a broad audience or picking an influencer with millions of followers, working with influencers with a sizable following with the audience you’re trying to reach is a step in the right direction.

Again, through an effective product sampling campaign, you leverage the voice of people who want to talk about your brand and spread the news through word-of-mouth marketing. Product sampling campaigns significantly help brands collect more reviews that are authentic and trustworthy.

influencer and sampling suite graphic

By focusing on a smaller group of customers, your message has a chance to resonate with that group and that group only. The idea is that you’re a brand for them, not for everyone.

Cultivate Trust Through Social Proof

We know that building customer trust is one of the biggest hurdles micro brands face. Social proof adds a human element to any marketing strategy and it’s the difference between a customer making a purchase or moving on to another brand.

Strengthen your product pages with ratings and reviews that are presented in an engaging, easy-to-navigate way.

ratings and reviews moderation and observations example

With the addition of ratings and reviews, adding customer-generated images is a great way to add value to each page.

Provide Value Beyond Your Products

A key differentiator of micro brands is providing more than high-quality products to customers–they also offer immense value elsewhere.

Take skincare company, Curology, for example. In addition to providing customers with totally customized skincare products, they have a series of skincare guides.

curology resource center guides

Curology covers topics ranging from how diet impacts the skin to which sunscreen is right for different skin types. Not only are these guides valuable and educational, but they’re also free on the Curology website.

This content marketing tactic positions them as skincare experts and helps lay that foundational trust for new customers. After they’ve made a purchase, customers learn about Curology products. Shoppers see what’s happening to their skin with their new skincare routine and more.

Scaling-Up Isn’t Always Synonymous With Success

Small, agile companies are more than capable of keeping up with the big guys—if not outpace them. Micro brands succeed because they relate to their niche audience in a way that speaks to them.

The ecommerce space makes it possible for smaller teams to compete, and the world is taking notice. With the help of PowerReviews, you will improve your brand’s social proof efforts and build more trust with your customers with suite of tools specifically built for these reasons.

Want to see a demo? Contact us today, and we’ll help you find the right solution.

Kat Ambrose

Kat Ambrose is a writer who specializes in creating value-packed blog content for ecommerce and SaaS companies. When she's not writing, you can find her out running, checking out a thriller novel—or two—from the library, or trying to pet the nearest dog. Say hi on Twitter or check out her website Katambrose.com.

Ecommerce has been around for decades and the rise in mobile commerce has made selling online much easier, right?

We’ll, not exactly.

There’s still so many challenges to selling online, whether it’s more direct-to-consumer brands or competing with Amazon. Businesses must have a strategic plan to take on the competition, which is why knowing your most valuable ecommerce KPIs and how to measure them is essential to online success.

And in 2019, there’s a plethora of ecommerce tools for brands and retailers to track and measure their efforts. The way ROI is measured across the board evolves with the growth of tools and marketplaces.

For example, Instagram introduced shoppable posts and brands were tasked with not only learning how to leverage yet another powerful ecommerce feature, but how to measure success with new metrics.

The way people shop keeps evolving, so how do businesses make sure marketing efforts are moving the needle?

What Are the Best Ecommerce KPIs to Track?

The best Ecommerce KPIs (key performance indicators) should provide accurate and properly-tracked data to help businesses measure any of its core initiatives. KPIs and their corresponding metrics are an essential part of determining how well a tactic is performing using a combination of data and industry benchmarks.

If you aren’t tracking the right KPIs, it’ll be nearly impossible to get a correct reading on whether or not a campaign is hitting the target mark. However, it’s not enough just to gather this data–it must be used correctly.

forbes survey example

A report from Forbes found that 64% of marketing execs “strongly agree” that data-driven marketing is essential to success. However, a study from Forrester found that between 60-73% of all data within a company goes unused for analytics.

So what’s missing here?

Let’s not beat around the bush–there are a lot of KPIs and metrics you could track, which means understanding what metrics are important to your business is tricky.

But do you need to track them all?

The short answer is no. But the KPIs you should monitor will vary depending on your goals and what you deem essential. Let’s take a look at how to determine the most important ecommerce KPIs:

KPIs That Establish Concrete Marketing Goals

Before you can figure out what to track, you need to determine what you want to accomplish. Unless you know exactly why you need to track a specific KPI for ecommerce, it’s unnecessary work on your end.

Think about your biggest marketing problems like:

  • Trouble generating sales
  • Customer drop off after first purchases
  • Low engagement rates on social media

Whatever you’re trying to improve or change, make sure it’s clear. Otherwise, you’ll have issues not only measuring the success of a tactic, but building a strategy to work toward that goal.

KPIs From Historical Data

The data you already own helps you understand how to plan for future campaigns. Maybe a tactic you thought was going to be wildly successful fell flat or you saw a spike in sales during a specific and unexpected timeframe.

Historical data helps you work on campaign forecasting. And the data from your website, past campaigns and social media channels let you plan future initiatives.

KPIs That Collectively Gauge Growth

We know the KPIs you track should directly correlate with those goals. But the thing is, there isn’t one specific KPI or metric that will tell you the full story. Instead, tracking several metrics paints a broader picture of how the overall tactic is performing.

For example, let’s say you’re trying to increase your sales numbers. What KPIs or metrics should you track? Only looking at your revenue or sales numbers isn’t going to tell you the full story or help you make decisions to improve.

You want to track the KPIs and metrics that give you a well-rounded look at your business as a whole.

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17 Metrics to Track the Growth of Your Ecommerce Business

We know the importance of KPIs and associated metrics, but which ones are important for ecommerce businesses?

Let’s take a look at these 17 ecommerce KPIs to gauge the growth of your business so you make informed business decisions and reach your goals:

1. Sales Conversion Rate

Sales conversion rate is the total number of sales you’ve generated over a period of time. To find this, take the total number of sales and divide it by the total number of sessions to your site.

For example, if you’ve made 50 sales and had 100 visitors to your site, your sales conversion rate is 50%.

This metric helps you determine, on average, how much site traffic you need to generate sales. Sales conversion rate is one of the most important metrics to watch as it can help you optimize your site traffic-generating efforts.

2. Response Rate

The Response Rate is how many customers responded to a call-to-action (CTA). It can be calculated by dividing the number of people who responded to the CTA by the total number of recipients.

CTA clicks examples on PowerReviews

This metric is important for gauging the effectiveness of a CTA, like if you asked customers to complete a follow-up survey or to sign up for your email newsletter.

Response Rate can also help you determine if there’s any friction between the CTA and your customers. For example, perhaps your survey is too long, and customers click away before completing it, or maybe it’s unclear how to sign up for your email newsletter.

3. Cart Abandonment Rate

You’ve likely heard of this metric before, and it’s not without good reason. Cart abandonment rate is when shoppers put items in their cart while on your site, but don’t follow through with the purchase. Cart abandonment is an issue for ecommerce businesses across all industries and it could be severely harming your bottom line if you don’t have the right path to purchase.

Find this KPI by dividing the total number of completed purchases by the total number of carts. Then multiply that number by 100. Let’s say there were 400 completed purchases last month and 600 carts created. Divide 400 by 600 and you get .66, which you then multiply .66 by 100 and you get 66% as your cart abandonment rate.

anthropologie cart abandonment

Calculating your cart abandonment rate is the first step in determining if your checkout process is clunky or if there’s another issue (like a lack of trust) among your shoppers.

4. Cost per Acquisition (CPA)

Have you ever wondered how much it costs to acquire each customer, whether it be through social media advertising, Google Adwords or another channel? Cost per Acquisition (CPA) will tell you exactly that. This is critical in determining the effectiveness of your paid efforts and if the ROI tradeoff is worth it.

CPA is calculated by dividing the total campaign cost by the total number of conversions. If your CPA is more than how much your customers are spending, then it’s probably time to review your current strategy. At the same time, this metric helps determine what channels need more investment, money or time.

For example, if you Facebook is a low CPA channel for you—in other words, you don’t lose money acquiring customers through Facebook—it might be worth brainstorming how to scale this channel versus others costing you more money.

5. Average Order Size

With CPA, you know the value of each customer, but what about the actual value of their orders? To calculate this, divide your revenue by the number of transactions, and you’ll see how much each customer contributes to your overall bottom line.

A great way to increase your customer’s average order size is to include an incentive for them to order more at no additional shipping cost. Offering free shipping if the cart exceeds a specific dollar amount or a buy one, get one half off deal are great ways to increase average order size.

6. Average Order Value (AOV)

The Average Order Value (AOV) helps determine the average amount spent by customers each time they place an order. This is calculated by dividing revenue over the number of orders.

For example, let’s say your store generated $10,000 in sales this month and there were a total of 1,000 orders. Divide $10,000 by 1,000 to get $10, bringing your average order value to $10 per order.

This metric comes in handy when determining the pricing of your products and overall ecommerce marketing strategy. It also helps you measure the long-term value of customers as well as their purchase habits.

7. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures how likely customers would recommend your brand to others. Instead of measuring the success of your business with revenue or sales, NPS is great for calculating brand loyalty and customer satisfaction so you better gauge how customers perceive your brand.

omnicovert net-promoter-score

This can be measured with a survey using a simple 1-10 rating scale–zero equaling “Not Likely” and 10 representing “Extremely Likely.” The scale value looks like this:

  • Shoppers who give you a 9 or 10 are considered promoters, meaning they love your brand and could be potential brand advocates.
  • Shoppers assigning you a 7 or 8 are considered passive or neutral.
  • If consumers give  you a 6 or below, these people are considered detractors or shoppers who wouldn’t recommend your products or services.

The goal with NPS is to have as high of a score as possible. If your NPS score is low, that could be causing you issues and turning potential customers away.

8. Repeat Purchase Rate

Like NPS, Repeat Purchase Rate also indicates brand loyalty and customer satisfaction. Repeat Purchase Rate is simply the number of times the same shopper has placed an order over their lifetime as a customer.

This can be calculated by dividing the total number of customers who have made more than one purchase by the total number of customers. If you have a high Repeat Purchase Rate, you likely have some very happy customers!

9. Purchase Frequency

Purchase Frequency goes hand-in-hand with Repeat Purchase Rate. In fact, the overall KPI is simply the number of times a customer has made a purchase within a period—usually about a year or so.

This metric is important because it helps evaluate your customer retention strategy and loyalty. It also allows businesses to make better decisions around when to re-engage with customers between purchases and host sales to encourage shorter time in between purchases.

10. Order Gap Analysis

Much in the same aspect of the Purchase Frequency, Order Gap Analysis let’s companies see the time between two purchases from the same customer. This metric identifies trends in shopping behaviors and seasonal or product trends.

Order Gap Analysis also informs other marketing efforts, like when you should send special offers or post-purchase emails to customers.

You can calculate this by dividing 365 (one year) by your purchase frequency number. This would be the average number of days between purchases.

11. Average Customer Lifetime Value

The Average Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) represents the estimated total amount of money a customer will spend during their time as a customer. This metric tallies how much you can realistically spend on acquiring new customers as well as how much you will likely spend trying to recuperate from acquiring that new customer.

This number should always be higher than your customer acquisition cost. Otherwise, you’ll be losing money.

12. Customer Churn Rate

If you find that your Average Customer Lifetime Value is low, it probably means your churn rate is high. Customer Churn Rate is the percentage of customers that never return to your site. In other words, your customers may buy once and never buy again.

There could be many things impacting your churn rate:

  • The customer service isn’t great.
  • Your product isn’t up to customer standards.
  • Navigation is too difficult across your site.

Churn is an ecommerce KPI every company deals with. That’s why it’s essential you know where you stand so you can fix it if needed. Providing more branded content or educational content could give your shoppers the motive to continue buying from your brand.

13. Star Rating

Star ratings help customers determine the value of a product as determined by previous customers who purchased the product in question. If a product has a high star rating from customers, it’s a good indicator of quality.

The Reviews to Revenue study from PowerReviews and Northwestern found an average rating between 4.2 and 4.5 stars is most effective—even more than a perfect 5.

Room and Board Review Snapshot Example

That’s why PowerReviews’ Review Snapshot feature allows brands and retailers to customize their review features to help consumers get a better understanding of the star rating. PowerReviews also optimizes your product pages through visual content elements, which allows customers to see user-generated content of products from other shoppers.

14. Customer Sentiment Analysis

Customer Sentiment Analysis takes a look at the emotions, impressions and attitudes surrounding your brand. Each time your customers write a review about their experience with your company, it’s an opportunity to learn.

That includes experiences on your site or through social media. This metric is essential for a few reasons:

  • Businesses make more informed decisions
  • Uncovers product insights to make improvements
  • It makes your customers happy
  • Helps manage your online reputation

product pulse carry-all backpack shapshot

Unlike other KPIs and metrics, understanding audience sentiment calls for a tool that examines review content at the product level. Tools like Product Pulse allow companies to see product insights from review content through customer sentiment analysis. Easily uncover product features that need improvement so your team can make improvements for the future.

15. Organic Traffic Metrics

These metrics are probably familiar for most ecommerce SEO marketers. And while individually they don’t give too much insight into the success or performance of a campaign, collectively these ecommerce KPIs tell a larger story.

  • Clicks: This is the total number of clicks from a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) to your site. Because we’re talking about organic traffic, these clicks were generated without the assistance of paid ads.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): CTR is the total click count divided by the impression count. This metric show the effectiveness of a campaign, such as an email or social media campaign.
  • Average Position: This is the average spot the URLs on your site have on the SERPs. This metric helps determine how your site ranks and the quality of your content and website from the SERPs standards.

As a whole, these metrics let ecommerce businesses see the quality of their site and how customers navigate it.

16. Google AdWords Metrics

If you use Google AdWords, there are various ecommerce KPIs to track. However, these are some of the most essential:

  • Impressions Share: The number of impressions received divided by the estimated number of impressions you were qualified to receive. Estimated impressions qualification are collected by your ad targeting settings, bids, Quality Scores and status.
  • Average Cost-Per-Click (CPC): This metric is the average cost of one click on an ad.
  • Ad Conversions: When a customer clicks on your ad and completes the action or goal you set for that ad—like email signups or app downloads.

Together, these metrics help determine how many people saw your ad in relation to how many of those people converted so you better plan future campaigns and optimize current ones.

17. Social Media Engagement Metrics

Like Google AdWords metrics, social media engagement metrics tell a collective story of how your social media campaigns and content is resonating with your customers (and potential customers).

These three metrics can help you gauge how your content is performing overall. Of course, brands want more likes and shares on their posts, but the reality is that on their own, these metrics are vanity metrics—or ones that don’t hold that much weight.

  • Likes: This metric may be a like, a favorite, a +1, etc., depending on the platform. To calculate this metric, divide the total number of likes by the number of posts per platform.
  • Comments: If people are commenting on your posts, the content is resonating with them in some way or another. Maybe they’ve tagged a friend’s name or replied to your question, but either way, comments indicate that people are engaging with your brand.
  • Shares: Similar to likes and comments, shares help determine engagement. Sharing allows your content to go a step further and reach an audience you may not otherwise have access to.

Along with other social media KPIs, these engagement metrics paint a picture of how well your content is doing on a given channel to your target audience.

The Right KPIs Help You Measure ROI to Grow Exponentially

Understanding what the function of each metric is and how it can be used to measure success will help you grow your business and reach your goals.

It can be easy to get caught up in wanting to track everything, but it only makes sense to do so if it’s going to help you reach your objectives. Be smart and strategic when it comes to tracking ecommerce KPIs and metrics, and you’ll see results in no time.

Looking for ways to better track your storefront’s performance? Contact us today, and a member of our team will help make it happen!

Kat Ambrose

Kat Ambrose is a writer who specializes in creating value-packed blog content for ecommerce and SaaS companies. When she's not writing, you can find her out running, checking out a thriller novel—or two—from the library, or trying to pet the nearest dog. Say hi on Twitter or check out her website Katambrose.com.

What drives customers to make a purchase?

We’re not talking about the item in question necessarily, but rather what are the buying motivators that convinces shoppers to enter their credit card number and hit submit order?

Since we can’t read our customer’s minds, we’ll have to resort to the next best thing. What if there was a way to figure out why they make a purchase, so you optimize your selling strategy and make more customers happy?

Buying motivators help brands and retailers understand what prompts customers to purchase in the first place. Once you understand these nuances, it changes the way you sell to your customers for the better—both at the present moment and in the future.

In fact, Sirus Decisions found 67% of the buyer’s journey takes place digitally. That’s why it’s more important than ever to understand your customers’ shopping behaviors and why they make their purchasing decisions.

In this post, we’re taking a closer look at what buyer motivations are to marketers and how you leverage them to increase revenue and sell with more intent:

What Are Buying Motivators?

Buying motivators are the reassurances that encourages customers to go through with a purchase.  The root of buying motivators varies from shopper to shopper, but these factors help segment customers based on where they are in the purchase journey. Let’s take a look at the buying process from start to finish:

Step 1: Awareness

Every aspect of the buyer journey can be traced back to this initial stage—or when a customer becomes aware of a want, a need or a problem. This recognition could be either internally or externally motivated.

For example, your customer is going on a backpacking trip and realizes there is a hole in their backpack. The customer thinks, time for a new bag and begins their search.

Backpacks google search example

  • Pro Tip: Make sure your reviews SEO is set up correctly so you’re not only ranking on search more effectively, but also for more terms through unique, well-written product descriptions.

Step 2: Consideration

Once a buyer realizes they need to fulfill a want, need or problem, they research products to meet that need, want or problem. Gathering information about options, reading product reviews, watching demo videos and checking out user-generated content is a critical part of this stage.

At this point, the customer will likely also ask for opinions or feedback from people they trust. This might be someone who has previously purchased the product or an similar item. In fact, Nielsen discovered that 92% of people trust the recommendations of close friends and family over any other type of advertising.

herschel supply instagram backpack example

  • Pro Tip: Use Instagram to market visuals of new products and ask users to tag a friend who needs it. This helps build awareness through your brand advocates without spending a ton on social media ads.

Step 3: Decision

Finally, the buyer is inclined to make a choice regarding the product per that core want, need or problem from the awareness stage.

At this point, your backpacking customer has identified the backpack they want to purchase over another based on a variety of factors. The customer feels as though they have reached a decision in their shopping journey and can buy with confidence.

REI co-op backpack checkout example

But hold on, how did they reach that choice?

What occurred between the consideration and decision stage to move them towards making a purchase?

Customer motivation is categorized by what psychologists like to call intrinsic or extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is what drives us to make decisions based on our wants or needs. But extrinsic motivation is—you guessed it—the external factors that drive us to make decisions.

In the case of our backpacking customer, their motivations for shopping for a new backpack is likely a bit of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. The customer wants to be prepared for the trip, but they may also feel the need to have the latest gear due to influence from an ad or a personal recommendation.

visual and social instagram collection mention example

  • Pro Tip: Give your shoppers user-generated content on your product pages to further push them to make a purchase by seeing real-life examples of the items with normal, everyday people. PowerReviews Social Collection is perfect for brands wanting to highlight their amazing user-generated content, and at the same time, increase conversion.

Understanding Customer Motivation From a Psychological Perspective

We know that internal and external motivation are two components of what drive customers to make purchases. But these buying motivators aren’t as black and white as it may seem.

For example, if you had customers A, B and C, all three could be looking to buy new shoes, but each person might have very different buying motivators behind their search.

Another school of thought designed to help brands understand buyer motivation is the VALS Framework. This framework segments customers into eight types based on psychological and demographical factors that determine their shopping behavior.

USVALS Framework Graphic

The VALS Framework also considers primary motivation (the anticipated behavior of a customer) and resources (factors like impulsiveness, leadership and vanity) when evaluating consumer behavior. Together they reveal how a customer will navigate the market as a consumer.

So what does all that mean?

Segmenting customers using a psychologically-backed method like the VALS Framework helps make sense of your customers’ behavior. This also helps you determine what products they may be interested in based on their motivations.

Rendering Intent Into Action

We know how to determine the core of buyer motivation, but what about the customer experience with your brand? Your customer experience—whether it be on your website, on social media or through other content—is critical.

But don’t just take our word for it.

A study from Dimension Data found 84% of organizations who improved their customer experience saw an increase in revenue. What’s more, a study from Walker discovered that by 2020, customer experience would surpass price and product as key brand differentiators.

Let’s take a deep dive into what pushes customers down the buyer journey.

User Experience

The user experience (UX) pertains to how customers navigate your site. But just how important is it to the overall customer journey?

A report from Magnetic North found that 1 in 3 customers will abandon a purchase because they can’t find the information they need. In other words, you could be leaving money on the table by not investing in your site’s user experience.

So where do you start?

Your customers’ motivation should drive the user experience. For example, if you’re a shoe retailer and a potential customer looks for a pair of shoes to wear in his or her commute, they’ll probably care more about durability and style instead of color.

Providing customers with search filters allowing them to narrow down options is a great way to accommodate every purchase intent. This way customers searching for sturdy work shoes can find what they want faster.

Women shoe sale asos example

ASOS, a global fashion retailer, has a great search function that makes finding that perfect pair a breeze.

Social Proof

Did you know that 90% of online shoppers research products through search engines or reviews? Also, the average retailer experiences a 20% reduction in returns for items with ratings and reviews.

What does this tell us? Social proof is a crucial component of your customer journey. Customer reviews, case studies and star ratings are a great way to build transparency and create stronger product pages.

simplisafe social proof example

SimpliSafe does a great job highlighting their social proof by using a combination of trigger words like “fastest” and “catch criminals” and visuals like a five-star review. Together, this social proof reinforces SimpliSafe’s claim to provide the best home security service on the market.

Supplemental Content

Adding content that isn’t directly shouting, “buy me!” to every customer is essential to their purchase journey. Value-packed blog posts, videos, product demos and anything else customers could benefit from helps you build trust. At the same time, it also shows customers that you want to provide them with value.

Inspo eample of content

Madewell’s blog serves as an excellent hub of supplemental content to their products. Fans of the clothing retailer can find inspiration as well as more information related to the brand and products they love, all in one place.

Visuals

High-quality imagery—both branded and product—plays a significant role in the consumer buying process. A survey from Weebly found that 75% of ecommerce shoppers feel that product photos are “very influential” when deciding on making an online purchase.

Imagery helps customers get a complete understanding of your products and what they can expect if they make a purchase. This is especially important when shopping online because customers can’t physically hold products or try them on before buying.

everlane product visuals example

Minimalist clothing retailer, Everlane, has excellent product imagery. Not only does the brand include high-quality photos of the product, but customers can see how each item fits on the model in multiple views (both standing and sitting), which adds a layer of depth to the shopping experience.

PowerReviews Review Snapshot is perfect for brands wanting to highlight every aspect of their product–from size and fit to the most common pros and cons within the reviews of the product.

evo reviews snapshot example

Not only can you add things like sizing, best uses and much more within Review Snapshot, but brands can also tailor to have as much or as little information for customers as possible. Contact our team today to see demo and how our solutions work for some of the world’s largest brands and retailers!

User Interface

Similar to user experience, user interface (UI) describes the psychological elements of decision making during the buying process. Components like color, font, buttons and icons impact the overall look and feel of your site.

Your customers buying motivators should determine the message you want to convey with these elements.

raid bug spray UI example

If you’re selling bug repellent products, like Raid, to customers who want to get rid of an existing bug problem, it’s crucial to communicate the effectiveness of your products through your branding. Keywords like “barrier,” “attack” and “control” with bold typefaces and colors reinforce the message that your products get the job done.

Understanding Buyer Motivation Means Smarter Selling

By grasping the motivators of your customers, you have the chance to:

  • Provide shoppers with information needed at the specific stage of the buyer journey.
  • Turn insights into action and optimize your site.
  • Increase online sales and boost your bottom line.

If you know the root of your customers’ buying motivators, you can focus on the tactics that yield the best results. Gain more actionable customer insights with PowerReviews. Contact us today to connect with a member of our team!

Kat Ambrose

Kat Ambrose is a writer who specializes in creating value-packed blog content for ecommerce and SaaS companies. When she's not writing, you can find her out running, checking out a thriller novel—or two—from the library, or trying to pet the nearest dog. Say hi on Twitter or check out her website Katambrose.com.

There are a ton of unique ecommerce companies that make up the online shopping ecosystem. From custom embroidered shoes to rare board games, it seems like there’s a market for just about every niche.

But what’s one issue all ecommerce brands and retailers have in common? Cart abandonment rates.

A study from Baymard found only 1 in 4 customers complete a purchase. This means the average cart abandonment rate is roughly 68%. That’s a lot of cold feet.

Here’s the good news–solving cart abandonment isn’t rocket science. But to know how to stop cart abandonment, you need to fully understand why it occurs in the first place.

What Is Cart Abandonment & Why Shoppers Leave

Cart abandonment is the consumer process of digitally adding an item(s) to an online cart and leaving the website without ever paying or finalizing the order. But the reason shoppers leave isn’t just due to indecisiveness.

According to Statista, 56% of shoppers left their carts due to unexpected costs, like additional shipping or taxes. What’s more, 36% of customers left after finding a better deal by comparing prices and 25% said it was due to a poor navigation experience.

The list doesn’t stop there. Consumers have several several reasons they close their tab before making a purchase. But these reasons are all saying the same thing–companies must make customers feel secure, empowered and confident about their purchase.

So how can brands do that? Let’s take a look at 16 ways you can effectively limit cart abandonment on your ecommerce site:

Ratings and reviews partner banner

1. Eliminate Cost Surprises at Checkout

There’s no better way to scare customers away than adding surprise shipping costs or extra fees at checkout. One of the top reasons why customers abandon their carts is due to unexpected costs, so why not be as transparent as possible from the get-go? Limit cart abandonment by being honest with much customers can expect to pay before they click “order.”

So what’s the best way to approach this?

Shipping calculators are great to immediately show how much customers can expect to pay for shipping and other associated fees. Depending on your ecommerce store builder, adding a shipping calculator to your product pages early in the checkout process gives information on fees up front.

woobox shipping rate example

Price calculators work well at showing fees the second an address is included like this example of one installed on a WooBox storefront. Some ecommerce site builders, like Shopify, have shipping calculators built right into store themes to make things super easy.

Get Shipping Estimates Website Example

Others, like Square Space, allow you to enable shipping calculator features within the settings of your storefront to limit any confusion with your customers. The bottom line is to be crystal clear with any additional fees associated with your product to avoid scaring away customers.

2. Include Thumbnail Images of Products in the Checkout Window

It’s not likely customers forget what’s in their shopping cart—unless they’ve gone on a massive shopping spree—but why not make it easier to remember? Having a visual reminder of their items in the cart serves as a way to reaffirm what they’re going to buy.

This checkout page from Madewell is an excellent example of leveraging thumbnails in the checkout window. The customer easily sees each item and other relevant details like color, size and quantity.

madewell checkout example

Shoppers can check that the right items are in the cart, which also allows them to easily review products visually. This might make the difference between a customer solely focusing on a large cart total vs. a long list of awesome products they’re going to get.

3. Highlight Customer Savings in Real Time

A great way to encourage customers to convert is to show them how much they are saving while shopping. Whether it’s from a sale, promo code or discount from a VIP program, shoppers love to see what they’re saving.

This checkout window from the women’s athletic clothing line, Fabletics, does a great job of showing savings in real time. Customers see the regular price of the item as well as the price they pay as a VIP member.

fabletics shopping cart example

In addition, this checkout screen shows shoppers other items where they might qualify for a discount as well. In this case, the consumer not only gets a discount, but a two-year subscription to Midwest Living.

This shows added value and reinforces the notion you’re providing them with as much value as possible. But the retailer doesn’t stop there.

Fabletics also shows customers what they could save on additional products. This helps encourage consumers to add more to their shopping cart before checking out.

fabletics VIP checkout discounts

This brand does a great job of being transparent with shoppers while simultaneously encouraging additional purchases.

4. Offer a Guest Checkout Option

There’s no arguing that checkout processes are a great way to collect customer data. But is it worth it to potentially lose customers over? Well, Invesp found 14% of shoppers will abandon their cart because there is no guest checkout option.

invesp infographic of abandon shopping cart stats

By making checkout as easy as possible for customers—meaning they make a purchase without additional steps to create an account—you increase the likelihood of them converting.

Urban Outfitters gives shoppers the chance to choose if they’d like to create an account or complete their purchase via the guest checkout option.

urban outfitters guest checkout example

With this method, Urban Outfitters is still able to collect customer email addresses, which can be used for future campaigns. Sacrificing a bit of customer data in order to make things easier for your customers may prove to be worth it.

5. Limit the Number of Steps in the Purchase Process

This seems like a no-brainer, but make your checkout process as easy as possible to reduce customers bailing at the last second. A Statista report found 25% of shoppers abandon their carts due to a confusing navigation.

Amazon’s checkout window is not only easy to understand, but it’s simple to make changes within the cart. Each stage of the buying process is clearly outlined for customers, which eliminates confusion and cart abandonment.

amazon checkout example

So what’s the best way to adjust your purchase process?

Look at your current checkout screen and identify anything that could be streamlined or eliminated. Consolidate the number of screens shoppers navigate through to buy.

If this isn’t possible, an order progress bar is a great way to visually show customers their process. Lastly, include any relevant information on the final checkout screen before they place their order. The last thing you want is to leave out important information and increase the likelihood of more product returns.

6. Create a Shopping List Feature

It’s normal for customers to be unsure when in the path to purchase, especially at the beginning stages. In fact, an additional Statista study discovered 17% of customers abandon carts because they plan to purchase at a later time–not because they don’t want to buy.

A great solution is to implement a wishlist or “save for later” option that gives shoppers the opportunity to return to lists later on—like when they’re ready to make a purchase.

Amazon Save for Later Option

If you want to compete with Amazon, take a page from their book and allow consumers to create wishlists or add items to a list all within the cart. Let customers share lists with friends too, which makes it really easy for wedding and baby registries.

Lists are also a great opportunity to collect data on customer shopping behaviors. With that information, you can send post-purchase emails and promotions regarding certain products. You could also jump on the opportunity to reach out to customers and see if they have questions.

7. Leverage Retargeting Campaigns

It’s time to put all that customer data you’ve been collecting to good use.

Retargeting is a great way to re-engage customers and encourage them to convert. It’s arguably one of the best tactics for brands to use to resonate with customers.

But what is it exactly?

Neil Patel gives a great break down here, but essentially, retargeting is a tactic that shows customers relevant offers based on their behavior online. So if a customer visits a product page on your website then clicks off the page, you can use retargeting to remind them with an attention-grabbing ad.

Facebook is a great way to make retargeting an easy part of your cart abandonment strategy. Using the Facebook Pixel, you can collect customer data through your website or app activity which can then be used to create a retargeting ad.

You can also use customer contact information for retargeting campaigns too. Remember those email addresses you collected with your guest checkout feature? Retargeting is a great opportunity to use those emails.

Glossier Product Page Ad Example

This ad from Glossier is a great example of the power of retargeting. The makeup brand used video to re-engage with customers.

For example, this is where a customer goes to the site and views a product. But in the image below, this is what a customer sees on a Facebook ad for the same product they viewed previously on the brand’s website. The connection is seamless and simple.

Glossier Facebook product Ad

Glossier used retargeting to show customers another side of the product. In this case, they used a video of a model using the product, which is more engaging than a static image. This ad also includes two calls-to-action—one on the video screen and a button below the video—which gives customers more opportunities to click.

8. Increase Trust During the Checkout Process

Even in 2019, some customers are wary of entering credit card information online–especially if you’re a new or upcoming brand. Online privacy concerns are at a high, which is why it’s not surprising that 15% of customers report a lack of security at as a cart abandonment reason.

However, there are a few ways to make consumers feel more at ease when purchasing products online:

  • Security logos: Include the logos of trusted, secure payment sites to reassure customers that your site is legitimate and safe.

security checkout example

  • An SSL Certificate: SSL certificates are small data files that bind a cryptographic key to a site, which ensures a secure connection whether it’s for a credit card transaction or for transferring data.

Both of these measures make customers feel more confident their information won’t be compromised and that checkout is secure.

9. Offer Various Payment Options

We know the easier the checkout process, the more confident the customer feels making the purchase. Offer multiple payment methods to fuel that feeling.

With more payment options, customers make the decision that’s easiest for them–whether it’s a credit card, PayPal, Amazon Pay or Apple Pay. Convenience is critical for payments.

Various Payment Methods in shopping cart example

Also, offer payment plan options for higher-priced items to get customers to convert as well. Paying a fraction of the cost up front may be easier for some customers, especially if they really want the item.

10. Be Creative With Cart Abandonment Emails

Cart abandonment emails are a popular tactic for ecommerce brands. And when done right, they yield great results. In fact, BigCommerce found recovery rates in shopping carts have gone up by as much as 36% with compelling content and higher open rates.

But how can you make these emails stand out among the sea of emails your customers receive daily?

A great way to make your cart abandonment emails stand out is to highlight highly-rated  items in their cart with ratings and reviews and quality product imagery. PowerReviews makes it easy for brands to collect and display customer reviews in an engaging way to encourage purchases, which can be used in these emails.

Adidas Email Cart Abandonment Example

This cart recovery email from Adidas is simple, yet packs a punch with product imagery and clever copy. Adidas gets consumers to read reviews from other customers and it’s easy to click back to the cart and convert–thanks to the two call-to-action buttons.

11. Identify Gaps in Your Checkout Process

Your checkout process matters more than you may think.

If you’ve noticed a major spike in your cart abandonment rate, it’s a good idea to audit your existing checkout process. An audit allows you to identify any areas of your process that could be improved or adjusted to help the customer along.

A separate study from Baymard found that website errors or crashes accounted for 17% of customers who left their carts. While auditing your process, keep the following in mind:

  • How long does it take to checkout with your current process?
  • Is it clear what items are in the cart as well as what the total cost is with additional fees?
  • Is there anything that could spark a potential issue for a customer?

12. Provide Every Product Detail

Shoppers need confidence in their purchases, which is why you have to provide them with everything about the product. Without being able to physically touch an item before buying, it’s up to the ecommerce site to provide thorough product details to consumers.

This is why PowerReviews provides a customizable Review Snapshot. You simply choose the features you want on your product pages, like Size and Fit, Pros and Cons or searchable question and answers.

vans ratings and reviews graphic

Additionally, our Social Collection features allow brands to showcase user-generated content from your own shoppers, so consumers get a better idea of exactly what they’re buying. Make your shoppers confident in their purchases by giving as much product information as possible.

13. Build Stronger Product Pages With Online Reviews

What better way to make your customers feel more confident about their purchase than with product pages that go above and beyond? Product pages packed with customer reviews, honest ratings, product details and high-quality product photos can be the difference between customers converting.

Reviews, in particular, are an excellent way to further establish customer trust. According to BigCommerce, the more reviews you have, the higher your conversion rates. In fact, you could see an increase as much as 4.6% just by adding 50 reviews to a product’s page.

room and board page graphic from powerreviews

PowerReviews customer Room and Board found similar success by leveraging reviews on their product pages. The retailer saw a conversion rate increase of 95%, which was attributed to customers reading reviews or Q&A sections of the product pages.

What’s more, 30% of sales have come directly from reviews—both online and in store. Customers trust the opinions of other customers. Again, transparency on product pages helps solidify a customer’s trust in you.

14. Make It Easy for Customers to Contact You

Another excellent way to build trust with your customer is to make it easy for them to contact you in case they have a question about a product or their order. Live chat bots especially can reassure customers that you’re only a quick chat away.

This boutique women’s clothing shop uses a live chat widget to make it easy for customers to get in touch at any stage of their journey. The button is discreet, so it’s not interfering with the shopping experience.

Roolee Chat Example

This chat feature is also readily available in case customers have a question about sizing, price, discounts or shipping. That’s why it’s smart to opt in for good old-fashioned email and ticketing customer service to tackle shopper questions and issues.

However, if you decide to structure your customer service process, make it clear how you can be contacted. Bonus points to you if contact information in the checkout window and in order confirmation emails is included!

15. Invest in Mobile Checkout

Here’s some online shopping statistics to consider–nearly a quarter of online purchases are made through mobile devices and 90% use mobile devices to help make a purchase even in store.

What’s worse? Data from Adobe showed only about half of landing pages were set up properly for mobile. If you’re not convinced about the power of mobile, you’re probably not seeing a lot of sales here in the first place.

Let’s fix that.

Easy to navigate mobile checkouts are a great way to limit cart abandonment. Make sure buttons are large enough to click and clearly make sense.

pga superstore checkout example

PGA Tour Superstore does a great job at highlighting the checkout button on mobile at the top of the screen and allowing shoppers to buy online, pick-up in store or home delivery. Additionally, they give their CTA plenty of space to alert buyers of orders that earn free shipping.

16. Invest in SEO

SEO is quickly becoming synonymous with everything marketing and appears on resumes about as much as experience with Excel. All the talk about SEO makes some businesses hesitant to fully invest.

However, SEO for ecommerce is essential to limiting cart abandonment. How? For starters, it’s all about page speed. If you’re using any sort of third party product, even say PowerReviews, we’re going to add code to your landing pages, and SEOs will not like that.

MAC Search Results with SEO seller ratings

With so many scripts, it can significantly slow down page load speeds, causing abandoned carts. But with PowerReviews intelligent script loading, we only add the code you need for each of our features.

This significantly limits the amount of script on your site and can help limit any page speed problems, making SEOs very happy. Additionally, SEOs will help you keep your product page content filled with the appropriate keywords.

Rank for more long-tail keywords and increase your overall reach on search engines with better SEO strategies.

Cart Abandonment Is a Solvable Problem

Reducing cart abandonment rates boils down to testing different methods to see what’s best for your brand and customers. You customers are at varying points in their buying journey, so creating a checkout process that makes them feel confident and secure can make all the difference.

Looking for a way to reduce your cart abandonment rates with customer reviews and ratings? Reach out today and connect with one of our experts!

Kat Ambrose

Kat Ambrose is a writer who specializes in creating value-packed blog content for ecommerce and SaaS companies. When she's not writing, you can find her out running, checking out a thriller novel—or two—from the library, or trying to pet the nearest dog. Say hi on Twitter or check out her website Katambrose.com.

It’s only natural for businesses to strive for positive reviews of their product or service, right? After all, what brand or retailer actually likes receiving negative reviews from customers? Who wouldn’t want to receive a glowing review from a customer?

Plus, thanks to word-of-mouth marketing, we know just how powerful a positive review is for a brand. In fact, data from the Proven Power of Reviews report found 95% of consumers consult customer reviews prior to making a purchase. Seeing reviews with positive sentiment is the push customers need to turn from browsers to buyers.

ijet display badges on powerreviews

But what happens when your brand receives negative reviews from customers? Do you throw in the towel and preemptively close up shop—or worse, reply with an equal amount of negativity?

Here’s the thing–negative reviews are not the end of the world.

Instead, this negative feedback can give brands and retailers a major leg-up–if you know how to leverage them properly.

What Role Do Reviews Play in the Customer Journey?

The power of customer opinion is one that shouldn’t be underestimated. Whether a customer chooses to give an opinion in a negative review, on social media or through a text with with a friend, you can be certain consumers share their experiences.

Nick Hajili explained this in the International Journal of Market Research by saying the influence of trust and how it motivates consumers to buy is essential in the customer journey.

“Trust, encouraged by social media, significantly affects the intention to buy,” said Hajili. “Therefore, trust has a significant role in ecommerce by directly influencing intention to buy and indirectly influencing perceived usefulness.”

Trust in online reviews graphic from Brightlocal

Online reviews help customers form educated opinions of a product or service, which is why word-of-mouth marketing is so powerful. Data from BrightLocal found 91% of shoppers between the ages 18-34 believe reviews are as trustworthy as personal recommendations.

People trust the feedback of other people, especially those they relate to the most. Despite this number, an Impact infographic showed only 33% of businesses continuously collect reviews for their products.

In addition, if customers are going to search for information about your product or service, why not make it easy for them to find? Online review engines like Yelp, TripAdvisor and Google are go-to sources, but collecting reviews across your product pages are what truly help your business and drive more sales.

For example, one instance where reviews on your site help more than review engines is SEO. By indexing review content from your product pages, you provide search engines with more unique content and long-tail keywords to organically rank.

How Negative Reviews Affect Purchases

Negative reviews affect consumer purchases in a plethora of ways–starting with product page abandonment or even to see why customers gave a bad report. When shopping online, customers want to feel empowered in their decision before making a purchase.

Consumers are driven to research every possible aspect of a product before purchasing, especially if the item is expensive. In fact, research from PowerReviews and Northwestern University found reviews are especially impactful for products that are considered to be of a higher price in their category.

Northwestern and PowerReviews graphic on spending

As we looked at a highly-reviewed item like baby food, our data showed there’s more trust to increase spend on products with higher ratings.

Consumers Pay Special Attention to Negative Reviews

We know customers look at positive sentiment and it affects their decisions, but what about negative reviews? For starters, almost as many shoppers who trust positive reviews also prefer to read negative reviews before buying as well.

For example, consumers look at negative reviews for various reasons, such as:

  • Understand the biggest downfalls of the product product they’re researching
  • Identify any specific factors that might not work for them (i.e. if a a product caused an allergic reaction)
  • Learn how customers with negative experiences use the product
  • Balance consumer feedback to paint a better picture of the review content

On the flip side, customers aren’t searching for perfect five-star ratings to validate their purchase decisions. In fact, perfect reviews often come across as “too good to be true.” In the same PowerReviews and Northwestern study, data showed the average rating between 4.2 and 4.5 stars is more effective and realistic compared to a perfect 5.

Northwestern report graphic on star averages

Keep in mind, customers take the review into consideration, but they also judge the reviewer as well. If a customer can’t relate to the reviewer, they are likely to ignore that review.

example of a good negative review

For example, if a customer is scrolling reviews for this lip balm, this type of review may not impact their decision. Why? After seeing the reasoning behind the supposed negative review, customers see it’s due to a personal preference instead of actual product flaw. Some customer will care about bulky packaging, others will not.

How to Use Negative Reviews to Your Benefit

Reviews go beyond customers stating whether or not they like a product. They play a major role in shaping potential customers’ opinions as well as providing valuable insight to brands.

We know that customers rely heavily on feedback to gauge purchase decisions, but what about negative reviews?

Increase Conversion Rates

There’s an overwhelming amount of data that confirms just how important displaying reviews are to driving sales. Though it may seem obvious that if you include reviews on product pages, you see an uptick in conversions. But what’s telling is just how much they help.

A study from the Spiegel Research Center found just by displaying reviews, the chance of a customer converting increase by 270%.

impact of reviews graphic

Not only do online reviews drive higher conversion rates across the board, but they also have a significant impact on higher-priced item conversions when compared to lower-priced items. The same study from the Spiegel Research Center found when reviews were shown for a lower-priced product, the conversion rate increased by 109%.

However, when reviews were displayed for a more expensive product, the conversion rate increased by 380%.

That’s quite a leap.

In the mind of the customer, higher-priced items come with more risk. Therefore, the more information at the customer’s fingertips, the more confident they feel about making the purchase. The writing is on the wall: brands that provide a means for customers to learn about their product in an honest way will see a spike in sales.

the north face review snapshot example

Establish Trust & Authenticity

It all boils down to keeping things honest and open with your customers. Having negative reviews on your site shows customers you aren’t afraid of them understanding your product in its entirety or of them seeing the good, the bad and the ugly of other customers’ experience with your brand.

As counterintuitive as this may seem, this builds trust between you and your customers. It also reinforces that you are on your customers’ side and want to be fully transparent with them.

A recent analysis of the 7.8 million reviews in the PowerReviews network found that on average, one-star reviews yield more “helpful” votes than other ratings. This is because not only do negative reviews validate the authenticity of review content, but because negative reviews steer customers to products that best benefit their needs.

helpful negative review example

This negative review received a high “helpful” vote because it provides insight into what customers can expect to get with this particular product, not just that the product wasn’t what the reviewer anticipated.

Drive Improvement & Innovation

There’s no question that online reviews are full of valuable insight that can help you improve your products and your customers’ experience with your brand. Reviews serve as a gateway into consumers’ minds. They are the people who interact with your products, which means their customer feedback—both the good and bad–is extremely valuable.

Image describing the rating sentiment of Blackberry Syrup

This is why PowerReviews built Product Pulse, a sentiment analysis tool that can analyze and pull insights of all your review content at the product level. Product Pulse allows brands and retailers to dig even deeper into their review content to uncover product insights that might have been missed otherwise.

In a day and age where businesses want to cut the fat of unsuccessful products or find ways to make processes more efficient and cheaper, digging into negative reviews helps. When businesses don’t look into the commonalities of their negative feedback, they miss major product malfunctions or issues that potential customers see in reviews and abandon their cart.

How to Respond to Negative Reviews

We know the importance of using negative reviews, but how can brands take this feedback a step further?

How your company addresses a bad review can speak volumes about your brand and how you treat your customers. Not to mention, you’re showing both current and potential clients that you care about their feedback and opinions.

Consider the following when addressing a negative review:

  • Empathize with the customer’s frustration: However, don’t act like it’s the end of the world. It will only drive a customers’ frustration further.
  • Thank the customer for their feedback: Let customers know you value their input and provide a customer care phone number or on social, ask them to DM your account.
  • Offer a return, refund or exchange: Tell the customer you’re addressing the issue and not just sending a refund for a quick fix.

Ulta Beauty always does an amazing job answering to their customers’ concerns on social. By doing this, you have a better chance of turning a negative review into a positive experience.

How to Appropriately Reply

Think about how you want to reply to the customer as well. Remember, the bigger deal you make of the issue, the more likely the customer will feel they were scammed or mislead. So when you reply, consider how you should respond to negative reviews or feedback:

  • Public reply: Be curious, genuine, and professional as other customers and potential customers may see your reply. This is your chance things right with the person who left the negative review. It also demonstrates you care about your customers’ concerns and feedback.
  • Email reply: With an email reply, you’re respecting customers’ privacy. Even though you’re corresponding with them in private, there’s still a chance the customer could share your reply with the public or with family and friends. Treat any “private” correspondences as if they were public.

negative review example to respond to

This reply from a clothing retailer is concise and polite. It also encourages the reviewer to reach out to the customer service team so they can remedy the issue. By taking the conversation offline, the brand can find out more details about the issue by focusing solely on that customer.

Let Negative Reviews Boost Your Authenticity

How your brand chooses to engage with negative reviews is just as important—if not more important—as responding to positive feedback. The way your brand handles the situation, ultimately leads to the growth of sales. Additionally, your actions provoke trustworthiness and identify areas of your product or service that need to be improved.

The bottom line: don’t ignore negative reviews. You could miss out on an opportunity for your business to shine.

Want more info on how PowerReviews helps brands and retailers increase review collection and boost sales? Reach out today to talk to one of our experts!

Kat Ambrose

Kat Ambrose is a writer who specializes in creating value-packed blog content for ecommerce and SaaS companies. When she's not writing, you can find her out running, checking out a thriller novel—or two—from the library, or trying to pet the nearest dog. Say hi on Twitter or check out her website Katambrose.com.

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