If you think about it, buying something on the internet without speaking to someone is actually quite odd. You can’t see the person you are buying from or verify that they actually have an item in stock. You don’t know where they are, how they got there or what they have done. Nonetheless, when you see something you like, you take out your credit card, punch in those digits that easily allow anyone to spend your money, and then you click “submit.”
Merchants often wonder why they don’t get sales, but they often fail to think about the trust involved in actually purchasing something online. No matter how you convey to your customers your trustworthiness by creating a legitimate looking site, it still helps them to offer the outside perspective of someone else, “a person like me” as the phrase goes. This is why it helps to offer customer reviews on your site.
Customer reviews allow consumers to get a better sense of the product you have and the service you offer. Without outside reviews of some sort, you often become someone else trying to take their money. Considering how many other companies bombard consumers with every product under the sun, this is not a worthwhile proposition.
Here are just a few stats from the “Customer Review” portion of Bazaarvoice’s “Social Commerce Report 2007,” which highlighted trends of European and U.S. online merchants:
• Of the 28% of online merchants who currently use customer reviews, eight out of ten merchants thought the reviews were beneficial to site conversion.
• 73% of these merchants found the reviews improved retention and customer loyalty.
• Customer reviews improved merchants’ search engine results due to the added content on internal pages.
When can customer reviews actually hurt a merchant? When they are not genuine. A negative review that is mysteriously left out can make the customer who left it question everything about your site. Statistics show that customers who bother to leave reviews are typically your best customers, so losing one can be bad news. That product review user is 21% more satisfied with his or her purchases than other buyers and is 18% more likely than other buyers to buy from that site the next time he or she needs similar products, according to a study conducted by ForeSee Results and the University of Michigan. One bad review could cost you five good ones.
Monitoring these reviews too closely will also prevent new customers from purchasing. Overstock learned this after loosening its customer review monitoring policy. Tad Martin, senior vice president of merchandising and operations at Overstock.com, stated that Overstock “learned that customers won’t trust the site if there are only positive reviews.” Makes sense.
So be fearless. Stand behind your product and let your current customers tell your new ones how good (or bad) your products really are.
Are you ready to improve your Volusion site’s conversion by including customer reviews?
Simpy go to Settings–>Config Varables, and check Config_EnableCustomerReviews.