Word of mouth recommendations are essential for the success of any small business, and a majority of these recommendations now appear in the form of online customer reviews. That is especially important to small fashion businesses, whose visibility increases with each piece they sell.
With so many reviews and ratings at their fingertips, shoppers are extremely unlikely to visit a small fashion retailer without first consulting online reviews. Recent reports also revealed that 90% of customers have read online reviews before making a purchase. Therefore, managing and capitalizing on these reviews is the key to getting customers in the door and growing your small business.
The first and most impactful way that reviews make an impression is through seller ratings. Seller ratings are extensions found on Google that shows a business or product’s average star rating and reviews alongside its ads, based on data collected from customer reviews. Generating and maintaining overall positive reviews will make an immediate and lasting impression during a prospective customer’s initial google search.
These ratings have proven to be mutually beneficial for both consumers and businesses. Consumers can rest easy knowing that they are making more informed purchasing decisions. Brands are able to improve their online traffic and revenue. Seller ratings are a fantastic way to build trust and gain brand loyalty from consumers. By compounding that trust into positive reviews, they gain more new business.
The numerical amount of reviews that a company accrues can also be as important as the seller rating. In fact, consumers are more likely to purchase a product with a few average or negative reviews than one with no reviews at all. Having a lengthy database of reviews proves that you already have a thriving customer base.
Negative Reviews Debunked
Many brands think that only negative reviews require a response, but responding to positive reviews is a huge opportunity for small fashion businesses. The key to building a customer base lies in the connection that the customer feels with your business. A quick response to positive reviews will certainly make customers feel special and increase the odds of a repeat purchase. In addition, a response to a review is an opportunity for you to create a personality for your brand. Crafting a clever note of appreciation that is visible to your entire customer base, both prospective and existing, will help your brand stand out from the rest.
Positive reviews certainly have power to draw in a new customer base and improve the odds of a final purchase, but too much positivity may have a negative impact in the long run.
Weeding out negative reviews can ultimately fail to build trust between a brand and customers. If a customer purchases a piece of clothing based on positive reviews and then has a negative experience, you have the potential to lose that customer altogether. A balance of positive and negative reviews will create a full and well rounded experience on which a customer can make their final decision. It may mean a few less initial sales, but you will simultaneously gain loyal customers, while cutting down on the added cost of refunds and returns.
Taking The Negative Review by the Horns
Facing negative reviews head on can seem like a daunting task, but within it lies an opportunity to create a positive customer service experience. Many negative reviewers want to know that their opinion is being heard. They will feel valued and appreciated by individual attention paid to them by brands. By making your customer service recovery public, you are also allowing potential buyers to see that you as a brand care about your customers and are willing to assist with any issues that may arise. That being said, it is quite alright to moderate negative reviews and remove those with profanity, those that link to your competitors, or are inauthentic.
Customers are tuning in to the authenticity (or lack thereof) of online reviews in light of an upswing of paid and incentivized reviews. Although this is seems like an easy method to bulk up the number of reviews, an influx of inauthentic ones can lead to distrust of the brand.
Retailers like Unitherm, whose product generates iron-on, laundry-safe clothing labels, use eKomi’s Software to ensure that their reviews are authentic and legally/third-party compliant. Shoppers are significantly more likely to shop with brands that they can trust, and so managing your reviews thoughtfully is imperative to getting and maintaining loyal customers.
Many brands may think that positive reviews are the be all and end all of growing their business, but a healthy mix of authentic reviews is truly the key. It is important to not only accumulate reviews, but to utilize them to create a dialogue and connection with customers. Providing your customers with a well rounded assortment of reviews will fortify their trust in your brand and encourage them to become regular and loyal customers.