The benefits of online reviews
Do you have the idea that online reviews are nothing more than a nice extra on your website or webshop? If we are to believe in science, an online review is much more important than you might think! Research shows that 90% of consumers who read online reviews are influenced to buy or not to buy something.
So online reviews are important, but why? And how can you quickly collect more reviews? We will show you in this blog.
Why reviews really work
Anyone who knows the work of the well-known behavioural scientist Cialdini knows that reviews fit the 7 ways of persuasion online. In this case, it's about social affirmation: "If everyone does it, then I'll just do it as well!"
This works online but also in real life: who hasn't gone to a store or business on the advice of a friend or colleague? Everyone, right?
An online review is exactly such a recommendation but from a stranger. According to Cialdini, people tend to follow the herd because it's easier than choosing their own path.
(Just to be clear: nobody thinks of themselves as a herd animal, but humans are social animals. That's just how people behave and often people are not aware of it - but this is not a philosophical blog so we won't go into this any further).
Next, there are two types of reviews that we should distinguish:
- Reviews about your company on an external website
- Reviews about products on your webshop
We'll give you some tips for each type so you can get started collecting more reviews.
Reviews about your garden centre or webshop
Reviews about your garden centre or webshop are often placed on third-party platforms. Think of:
- Google My Business
These platforms collect reviews about your business and then display them on their website, in search results or on third-party websites. Sometimes they do that without you even realizing it because they are free to ask visitors to do so.
These reviews are important in two situations:
- If you want to attract new customers to your physical garden centre. Having positive reviews is proof that your company provides good products & services. Due to the herd behavior of the consumer, this automatically attracts more customers.
- To reassure visitors who come to your webshop but doubt your reputation or reliability. Locally people might know you, but if they live 100 miles away is that still the case?
You can collect these types of reviews in a number of ways:
- If you have a loyalty card, you can automatically send emails to your best customers via a solution such as Personal Marketing. For example, to anyone who has made 5 purchases in the past 180 days. These are loyal customers who are therefore most likely positive about your company!
- After placing an online purchase, you can ask to write a review by email or via a flyer in the package.
In both cases, we advise you to alternate between channels: one month you refer visitors to your Google My Business page, the other month to Facebook. This way you collect positive reviews on every platform.
A completely different category of reviews are the product reviews. These are especially useful for visitors in your webshop who want to make a purchase. Reviews from other consumers who have bought the product are very helpful and often convincing.
We also see more and more garden centre webshops that ask their customers for photos of them using certain products. This is useful for decorative items and furniture, because every customer has a different garden or room in which your products will be placed. All those photos give a good idea of the possibilities as you can see below:
Collecting product reviews is the same as collecting company reviews. The difference is that these reviews have to be entered in your webshop so that they are actually shown to you. After delivery of the product, you can automatically send your customer an email and invite them to write a review.
For example, this looks like this:
Product reviews help other visitors on your website to make online purchases. In addition, it provides more, valuable content on your product pages, which will also help you rank better in Google.
Other tips & tricks
Finally, we have some more tips & tricks for online reviews:
- Reviews that you collect via your Google My Business profile are prominently displayed in the search results and help you to become highly visible. That's an extra reason to collect reviews!
- Do not remove negative reviews but use them to improve your garden centre or webshop. If the customer indicates that the color is less dark in real life than expected, you may need to update the photos on your webshop. And if there are complaints about your garden centre, you can discuss them with your team.
- Respond to reviews if you can! Thank customers who write positive reviews, contact critical customers. Our advice is to invite them to your garden centre and not to have the conversation online. A real conversation is much more practical to discuss a problem with your customer.
- Don't be afraid of negative reviews: the vast majority of your customers are satisfied, so trust that you will get a lot of positive reactions.
The Garden Connect platform includes a number of features for both business and product reviews. If you don't use it yet, you can always contact us.