When it comes to online ratings and reviews, everyone benefits. They have the ability to enhance merchant credibility, improve comparison shopping rankings, and raise conversion rates. They can increase customer engagement and monitor customer service efforts. Ratings and reviews can achieve all of this and more through the power of word of mouth marketing.
Word of mouth is one of the oldest and most effective forms of marketing, and its influence is on the rise as traditional marketing becomes more expensive and less effective. In the past, word of mouth was limited to person-to-person communication. Today, the viral nature of the internet allows conversations to quickly spread around the world and influence millions of people. This fact, coupled with a growing distrust for traditional advertising, has made online ratings and reviews one of the most powerful factors influencing consumer purchasing decisions. Here are a few ways the ratings and reviews can benefit your business and your customers:
Benefits for Consumers
- Established more trust in the product and company
- Gives consumers a voice
- More interaction on the website
Online reviews give ordinary consumers a voice and are particularly important since an online customer can’t go into a physical store to ask questions or test out the product. The shift in shopping from in-store to online has made consumers wary from the very beginning. Reviews help to reduce this apprehension and re-establish the trust between consumers and merchants that is lacking in the e-Commerce marketplace.
Benefits for E-Commerce Businesses
- Valuable market research
- Enhances customer service
- Increase sales
Ratings and reviews provide tremendous value to merchants as well. They provide businesses with valuable market research and help them better understand the opinions and needs of their customers. Ratings and reviews are also critical to customer service. They provide the merchant with an opportunity to monitor customer satisfaction and address any problems that are brought up in a review. Lastly, ratings and reviews provide your customers with the information they need to feel confident in making an online purchase, and in doing so, can dramatically increase your sales.
Benefits for SEO
- Improve rankings
- New and unique content about your company
- Keyword rich
Ratings and reviews also enhance your search engine optimization efforts. In fact, ratings and reviews on third party sites, such as PriceGrabber, Reseller Ratings, and Epinions are as important to e-commerce as links are to search engine optimization. Some valuable features of online reviews are that they provide your website with a large volume of unique and constantly updated content that is full of relevant keywords. These factors work to increase the seller’s relevancy, figure prominently into ranking algorithms, and translate to better website performance.
The internet revolution has taken word of mouth marketing to the next level. Consumers now have the ability to share their experiences and opinions with their online peers, in a way that is extremely influential and powerful. Online ratings and reviews give customers a voice, increase consumer confidence, enhance product visibility, and can dramatically increase sales. When it comes down to it, online ratings and reviews provide incredible value and benefits that businesses cannot afford to ignore.