Product reviews deliver important benefits to small retailers—benefits that can help independent retail brands hold their own against large, retail chains. Today’s consumers are ultra-educated and know what to research before making a purchase, so no matter how small a business, it is essential to equip consumers with that information.
Too often we see small retailers overlook the importance of cultivating product reviews, which is a huge missed opportunity as product reviews serve as raw material for business strategies that improve sales and top line revenue.
Here are five direct benefits product reviews can provide to independent retailers.
1.) Establish Credibility: Independent retail brands are often less visible than large chains. Product reviews not only help boost SEO, but more importantly, they establish that critical sense of trust by providing feedback from other consumers who have experience with your products. Establishing this sense of trust and authenticity with your customers then sets the foundation for a relationship and repeat purchases.
2.) Attract and Keep Customers on Your Site: Search engines love product reviews. By providing regularly updated, relevant content, ratings and reviews drive product-specific traffic to retailer sites from major search engines. Products without reviews are less likely to rank high in search results and therefore attract less organic traffic.
3.) Connect Like-Minded Customers: Product reviews build trust and loyalty by connecting consumers with people who share their interests, passions and values. For example, an independent camping goods retailer needs to attract consumers who are passionate about camping. Reviews make it possible for camping fans to interact with each other by reading and responding to content created by other campers. These reviewers are seen as experts within the retailer’s community, and this material can then also provide a wealth of information for new customers on the site who need guidance as to which products to purchase.
4.) Capture Material for Marketing Activities: Most independent retailers are at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to marketing spend. Product reviews can help compensate for smaller budgets by providing high-quality content that can be used for marketing purposes. Consider using snippets of reviews and other user-generated content on social media channels, alongside product listings and in advertising campaigns both online and offline.
5.) Enhance Quality: Quality issues can make or break independent retailers. Even more than retail chains, independent retailers need to cultivate a reputation around the quality of their products and promote a positive brand reputation that is extended through word-of-mouth marketing. Product reviews allow independent retailers to gather actionable insights about their products such as which features customers love and potential problems that can be remedied in the next iteration.
For independent retailers, including product reviews as part of their business strategy is a must. User-generated content is helping to transform the retail industry and independent retailers need to ensure they’re able to keep up from the get-go. By driving traffic and conversions, product ratings and reviews are an easy step towards success.