We know customer recommendations are valuable marketing assets for eCommerce websites; 84% of consumers say they trust peer recommendations above all other sources of advertising. Over the past decade, consumer research has shown that the three most impactful ways to influence purchase decisions are:
Recommendations from friends and family
Social media marketing
Displaying user product reviews
According to a recent article by McKinsey, between 26% and 32% of adult consumers rank online reviews as their number one source for choosing products to buy. Knowing this, it is only natural that you should be looking for effective ways to show off consumer reviews on your website. But should you stick to "old-school" practices to display customer feedback? Or should you be looking for ways to make the social proof on your site more exciting, eye-catching, and convincing?While displaying reviews in the typical format on your product pages is tried and true, you’re far more likely to stand out from competitors by employing unique methods of showcasing your customer sentiment. Let’s dive in.
1. Embed user-generated content widgets
User-generated content (UGC) makes for one of the best ways to display value, generate trust, and develop a relationship with your community. Deciding to embed visual UGC on your website, whether on review, community, or product pages, promises excellent returns. In fact, there are more than a few places UGC thrives for brand marketing beyond resharing users posts on social media.
Combine the power of text reviews and customer media like Navy Hair Care does with its on-site UGC galleries, which drove a 264% increase in repeat-visit rate for the brand’s site.
Moreover, embedded UGC is also a great way to show off your products visually in a real-life setting. It can help strengthen the visual identity of your brand through a continual commitment to your chosen brand aesthetic while instilling purchase confidence in your site visitors. The UGC capabilities provided by Pixlee [now Emplifi] allow brands to create unique landing pages, site page carousels, and inspiration galleries to share the experiences of their passionate customers through their own authentic content.
2. Use moderation to showcase relevant reviews
Advanced moderation services are game-changing when it comes to managing a large volume of customer reviews. Auto-moderation of reviews keeps your review content consistent and fresh across your website, allowing you to manage and organize reviews to optimize for relevance.
Moderation services provide various support tools like content tagging to speed up review publication and deliver a unique customer experience. The right automated moderation approach allows you to reduce the time and effort spent manually by your team, but still leaves space for necessary human oversight. TurnTo offers four levels of moderation support, so you can expand your ratings and review moderation strategy as your business grows. For DTC brands, combining reviews from everyday customers that your site visitors can relate to with influencer-led reviews is a surefire way to cover your bases when it comes to diversity in reviews. This approach showcases that both “normal” people and trusted community leaders value your brand.
Jaclyn Cosmetics shares feedback from influencers in the beauty space in addition to everyday customers. The brand also reviews, routes, and curates influxes of customer feedback and makes sure reviews are displayed efficiently.
Regarding review moderation, it’s important not to hide negative reviews — consumers are likely to be suspicious of a product with only glowing comments. TurnTo flags negative reviews for your team to reply to quickly, so you can use them as an opportunity to showcase your brand’s dedication to top-notch customer service.
3. Go hyper-personal with customer stories
Humans are wired to love hearing and respond to other people's experiences. It makes them feel connected. And, scientific research has shown that storytelling helps speakers and listeners achieve a temporary coupling in response patterns. So, if hearing or reading a retelling of an event can make a person feel happy, connected, and less stressed, why not employ this knowledge when choosing ways to showcase reviews on your website? Encourage your customers to share their personal stories with your brand by proudly boasting both visual and text reviews on different pages of your website. Your product page is a crucial place for this type of storytelling that taps into shoppers’ emotions.
Helzberg Diamonds combines UGC and heartfelt reviews on its product pages, showcasing a gallery of customer images specific to each product for maximum personalization. The more you highlight customer stories in an authentic way, the more inclined your fans will be to continue sharing their experiences.
4. Feature a robust community Q&A section
If you're looking for ways to display social proof that truly brings value to your potential customers, it's not a bad idea to include a Community Q&A section where potential buyers can ask questions and receive answers from fellow customers.
Lamps Plus maintains a strong Community Q&A section on its products, combining staff and customer answers to provide customer experience and value in each response.
Pixlee TurnTo’s approach [now Emplifi] to Community Q&A is multifaceted; shoppers can get the answers they need while filtering through customer answers and being exposed to authentic customer sentiment. It’s not just a FAQ section, but also another place for customers to share their experience with your brand. Furthermore, your brand’s team has the ability to moderate questions and answers as well as reply to conversation strings so misinformation is avoided.
The secret to successfully displaying social proof
Whether you choose to showcase user reviews in unique ways or prefer to go with standard practices is entirely up to you. After all, each brand's target audience has a different set of preferences and expectations, which means that your website's design and UX must actively meet consumer needs throughout the buyer journey.
But, understand that collecting and displaying user reviews is one of the elementary aspects of a successful marketing strategy. So don't make the mistake of thinking that you can't benefit from the feedback you currently have. Even if what you have is just a couple of instances of UGC, a 4-star review with suggestions on how to improve your service, or the number of downloads your app got since launch, this social proof offers benefits when shown on your site. Even if it's just an opportunity to show future buyers that you care about their experiences and are committed to making them even better in the future.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on pixlee.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.