GUEST FEEDBACK Customer Reviews: The Benefits and Importance of Reviews in the Customer’s Purchase Journey – Customer Feedback

Joris Kroese, CEO and Founder of Hatch

Customer reviews are playing an increasingly central role in the buying journey and can benefit both brands and potential customers when used correctly, writes Joris Kroese, CEO and Founder of hatch.

Have you ever heard the expression “mapping the customer journey”? It’s a way to understand your customers’ interactions with your brand through each of your touch points. This includes where they find you, how they interact with you, and their overall experience with your brand.

Customers start their journey with brands at different touch points: social media channels, retail stores, and email marketing, to name a few. But there is a proven technique that has been around since before online marketing existed, and it’s a simple recommendation. Something that is now called a “word of mouth strategy” or “customer reviews” in the marketing world.

Adding customer reviews to your touchpoints is one of the most effective ways to advertise, and it’s also one of the cheapest. According to Bench search, 82% of consumers read customer reviews or opinions before making a purchase. Therefore, if your product pages are lacking in reviews, now is the time to focus on them.

Benefits of reviews for brands and customers

Brands often recognize that reviews are an important step in a customer’s buying journey, but there is also a common fear that negative reviews will impact conversions. However, adding reviews to product pages can have a positive impact on sales and brand reputation.

Increased conversions

According to Reevoo, 50 or more reviews per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates and an average 18% increase in sales. Ultimately, giving customers the information they’re looking for can increase the likelihood of them making a purchase.

Avoid losing customers to competitors

92% of consumers visiting a branded website for the first time for reasons other than making a purchase. So what are they doing instead? They research and compare prices. If a customer lands on your website looking for information you don’t have, they’ll go elsewhere. By making sure that your product pages contain detailed information, you will avoid losing customers to your competition.

Minimizes customer returns

Helping customers understand exactly what they’re buying before they buy can reduce unwanted product returns. While the dimensions of your dollhouse chair may be listed on the product page, some customers will miss this and think they are buying a full-size chair. But if they read a review that mentions the dimensions, they’re more likely to take note.

Customers think other customers prefer brand marketing

For potential customers, learning about other people’s experiences with a product can encourage buying decisions. It’s unusual for brands to talk about their products in other than a positive light, so customer reviews help paint a real-life picture.

Improves the overall customer journey

There are many elements expected by customers throughout the purchasing journey, and being able to read reviews on product pages is one of them. Finding products is a big part of the buying journey. Therefore, providing customers with comprehensive product information will ensure that your brand will stand out from its competition.

Help customers make purchasing decisions

Reviews can help customers choose the product that’s best for them, based on the experiences of other consumers. This is especially relevant for clothing brands – size, look and feel reviews can help consumers make the right choice and reduce the chances of return.

Creates confidence

Buying products online can be a bit intimidating as there is no way to test products in advance and often no way to know if a brand is legitimate. Giving buyers insight into the experiences other customers have had with your brand and products builds trust and encourages sales.

How to encourage customer reviews

Encouraging people to talk about your products and create content around them is harder than it looks. Here are some ways to get people to talk about your products online:

  • Request feedback after the sale (e.g. in the order receipt email)
  • Contact us shortly after receiving the product to encourage feedback (eg, “Do you like our product?”)
  • Offer an incentive to give feedback (e.g. exclusive discount)
  • Encourage users to tag your brand on social media
  • Share existing opinions on social networks to encourage a domino effect
  • Encourage customers to contact you with any complaints (e.g. via a customer service email address) to minimize negative public reviews

Ultimately, customer reviews play a huge role in the buying journey and can benefit both brands and potential customers.

Joseph P. Harris