Black Friday online sales were up by 19% this year, and hit $7.4 billion at 9:00am ET on November 29. And as 92% of Millennials and 97% Gen Zers shopped online for the holidays, they relied more on how products were trending on social media than on input from friends or family.
Social media has changed how we attract new customers. Studies show that when considering a company, product or service we’ve never tried before, we rely heavily on what others think, and are less likely to “try it ourselves.” In other words, no reviews = no new business.
As you consider business resolutions for 2020, add “cultivating online reviews” to your list.
What studies show about reviews
In 2016, Fan & Fuel conducted a study of the impact of online reputations. They found that shoppers remain highly skeptical about buying products based solely on seller-provided information. Rather, shoppers rely on feedback from current customers to guide their decision making.
- 97% say customer reviews factor into their buying decisions
- 92% of people will hesitate to make a purchase when there are no reviews available
- 73% say written reviews make more of an impression on them than star/number ratings
Consumers seek “social proof” in you and your brand. This social proof comes from customer feedback and does not have to come from someone they know. 88% trust reviews they find online just as much as personal recommendations.
You provide high-quality products at a great value. You offer excellent customer service. Your store is beautiful and welcoming. Your products look gorgeous on your very-easy- to-navigate website. But with no reviews about any of the above, it’s difficult if not impossible to entice new customers.
So how do you encourage reviews?
Articulate Marketing suggests:
- Ask for them. Those who either love or dislike something are the ones leaving reviews. There’s a “silent majority” you could turn to.
- Create incentives. Proceed with caution. Do not offer discounts or pay for reviews. Incentives need to be equal for those that leave a positive or negative review. Here are some examples from Trustpilot:
- We’ll send a gift card to every customer who leaves a review – good, bad or ugly!” OK
- “We’ll send a gift card to every customer who leaves a 5-star review!” NOT OK
- “Leave us a review and get a free coffee.” OK
- “Leave us a review and get 15% off your next order with us.” NOT OK. Customers only get the reward if they make another purchase.
- Make it easy
- Use social media to engage directly with your customers, and for your customers to engage with each other.
- Publish all reviews, good and bad, to encourage customer feedback and interaction.
Social media has also influenced us to post about our purchases on our personal pages. Holiday shopping will create an uptick in these kinds of posts, and create opportunities to expand your online reputation.
Happy holidays from our Brigade to yours! This is our last blog of 2019, but I promise we will have much more exciting information to share in 2020. If you need additional insight on this topic or others, we are available to help. Let’s have a conversation about your marketing strategies so you can succeed in 2020, and beyond.