3 Ways Online Retail Reviews Can Amplify Your Marketing Efforts

By: Alan Duncan

How can reviews help?

Some ecommerce companies view reviews as just a customer feedback mechanism. A mechanism that offers the ability to collect consumer feedback on a brand experience enabling the merchant to improve its service. And that’s absolutely true, but to leave it there really misses the wider marketing opportunity.

Online retail reviews themselves are trustworthy ‘content’. And Google loves trustworthy content, it helps Google organise its search rankings in a way that’s meaningful for consumers. Similarly, content is the lifeblood of marketing today and reviews are a great way to help turn your customers into advocates for your brand.

This blog focuses on the 3 key ways online retail reviews can help you amplify your marketing:

  1. How to become a Google star with improved SEO
  2. How to differentiate and stand out from the competition
  3. How transparency can drive conversion

In today’s crowded marketplace, where points of differentiation are extremely hard to come by for eCommerce companies, consumer review content can help to amplify your marketing efforts. Forbes estimates there are now 1,000,000 SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) in the US today.

An average supermarket has around 40,000 SKUs. Now consider that an average family meets 85% of their needs with just 150 of those SKUs. Fairly stunning isn’t it? Those numbers mean there’s a good chance that the average family will ignore 39,850 items in a typical supermarket.

Standing out, differentiating and gaining attention are absolutely critical today.

1. How to become a Google star with improved SEO

Search engines work according to algorithms that index vast amounts of information to present an ordered screen to the consumer. What a lot of people don’t realise is that review data plays an incredibly important role in how the information is organised.

Why? Because Google has identified that user-generated reviews are a great way of determining which sites have high credibility, and has reflected that in its algorithm. In particular, Rich Snippets - the structured data markup of your site’s content - allows better search indexing.

In the example below you can see how the star rating enhances the search result, which leads to significant uplifts in CTRs.

With rich snippet stars

Without rich snippets

This might seem like a minor adjustment but it typically results in a traffic increase of 35% to those sites that integrate review Rich Snippets in this way.

Similarly, review content is also aggregated by Google and used in paid search results. In this context the accompanying stars are known as Google Seller Ratings and can help you stand out against other PPC ads on the Google search page.

So the humble consumer review can actually be one of your most powerful search marketing weapons; increasing conversions, boosting organic search rankings, generating more clicks and helping your ads stand out.

2. How to differentiate and stand out from the competition

Online marketing today is all about content. Whether you’re a B2C or a B2B business it’s great content that engages audiences and encourages them into a digital journey that ultimately ends in purchase.

Online retail reviews can be a powerful content marketing weapon too. After all, authentic customer testimonials have always offered some of the most compelling insights for other prospective buyers, whether that’s online or a chat with a friend in a coffee shop.

We designed a Facebook-integrated application that allows customers to leave reviews, lets you sort reviews based on star rating, display up to 50 of your latest reviews, and reply directly to your customers.

Customers value trust and a company’s reputation. Adding reviews to your company’s social accounts will make your company more reputable and it can have a measurable impact on your conversion rate.

By way of example, consider ID Wholesalers who created a special Trustpilot badge to showcase alongside their reviews, adding third-party validation and authenticity to their social content. The badge gave their social posts a sizable boost in engagement and highlighted the organisation’s stellar 9.1 rating.

Review content embedded within a brand Facebook channel

Review content used within a brand Twitter campaign

3. Transparency drives conversion in ecommerce

Cart abandonment is one of the biggest issues in the eCommerce industry with an average abandonment rate of 69.23%. We’re all consumers, so we know the feeling of being stuck between three different options after doing extensive research. How can consumers make the final decision?

At a crucial point in the purchasing journey, customers are looking for proof that you’re the right choice for them. Online trust is key and helps customers finally make their decision.

By including third-party validation on your website, you make customers more likely to trust you and your ads. They’ll also be encouraged to leave positive reviews after having a good experience, further demonstrating your company’s commitment to trust and transparency.

An improvement in your company’s reputation will turn your traffic into revenue. A Harvard study found that a one star rating increase in Google search results and review sites can cause over a 9% increase in sales.

Displaying your reviews on your site and ads gives potential buyers more confidence and trust in your business’s product or service. For example, Just Mortgage Brokers found that by integrating customer feedback on their website, they automatically lowered their bounce rate and boosted their conversion rate by 57%.

So in conclusion, it’s time to stop thinking about online reviews as just a means to collect consumer feedback about your brand and time to consider how review content can be integrated into your firm’s marketing activities.

What might have first seemed like a customer service issue is actually an area of business that requires joint working between ecommerce, marketing and customer experience teams to ensure your customer feedback works as hard as it can for your brand. When you consider it this way, the humble review seems so much more. 

By: Alan Duncan - Marketing Director, Europe at Trustpilot


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