Feedback Marketing in E-commerce
More than 55% of Americans start their product search on Amazon. Nearly half of all e-commerce sales within US and almost 4% of all US retail sales is attributed to Amazon. Across the Pacific, Chinese retail giant Alibaba operates for a significantly larger audience of 515 million active users (nearly a third of country’s population) and sees a sustainable growth year over year.
However important these numbers are in terms of expansion and merchandise volume eventually it all comes to one obscure metric that permeates any retail operations – retention. Regardless of size and market presence, it’s crucial to keep customers engaged, satisfied and constantly using your platform. Obviously, the never-ending cycle of satisfaction and dissatisfaction is inevitable for both retail and service. Yet it’s the overall feedback that matters. Any relevant opinion received from a customer improves marketing communication considerably by cutting the distance between your company and its audience.
According to a recent survey by Netserve, 72,4% of customers read online reviews before making purchases. Nearly 79% research online, while preparing to pay a visit to a local store. 90% of positive reviews make new customers trust a local business more. In this article we disclose why retail customers find online reviews essential when making a purchase. In terms of retailers or service providers, feedback assists in understanding and influencing the customer’s decision-making process. But the ultimate benefits of feedback are so much more.
For Amazon and AliExpress+TaoBao (Alibaba) ratings and reviews became vital, since they allow these retail platforms to successfully control most of their online sales with two types of ratings: Seller and Product. Both metrics are also equally powerful for companies that host their businesses on shopping websites and allow them to adjust marketing strategies.
So exactly how can customer reviews and ratings influence digital marketing ecosystem?
Reviews and Ratings at the Heart of Marketing Ecosystem
Reviews and Seller/Product ratings eventually became the key drivers of the feedback industry and backbone of steady digital marketing development for both sellers and shopping platforms. It is the most trustworthy metric customers utilize in decision-making process: 9 of 10 people read less than 10 reviews to form an opinion about a business they are interested in. A little over 50% of users will visit a website after reading positive reviews, 74% of people would trust a local business more after reading positive reviews.
Improving your website visibility and channeling quality traffic
As implemented by Google, Amazon and other search engines and retail platforms, Seller and Product ratings are key tools to boost general brand perception and improve financial indicators. Possibly, one of the most effective ways of utilizing seller ratings is by displaying these next to company’s ad campaign result in Google. According to Google Statistics, displaying rating on brand Ads increases its click-through-rate by 17% on average. A positive score ensures a higher ranking in search engine results and subsequently increases traffic form the target audience.
Another marketing mechanism to improve visibility is featuring Product ratings on Product Listing Ads and on Google Shopping in general. Google Shopping ads have a large advantage over traditional text-only ads, as they appear at the top or at the side of the organic search results, and they display product image, name, price and any aggregated product reviews. Thus, they are driving more and more qualified traffic to product page, making ads both more effective and efficient. Boost this increased visibility by featuring a star rating along with product image, for increased ad CTR and performance.
Contact us to collect seller ratings and boost your visibility.
Selectra founded in 2007 is the French leader in energy price comparisons.
When Selectra reached eKomi, it aimed to improve SEO, and display overall rating as stars in Google Ads.
As a result of the eKomi Solution implemented by Selectra, certified reviews are published on Selectra website as Fresh User-Generated Content, which helps improving the SEO of all 17 company websites. They have driven two times more visitors to the company websites. This represents around 1,5% and 3% more online traffic.
Read the full Success Story here!
Boosting in Sales and CPC Efficiency in Ad campaigns
Revenue is probably the most important KPI for Advertisers. When CTR increases due to improved loyalty from clients so does the quality score of your Ad campaign. This will result in a drop of general CPC, making running ads not only more effective, but also more efficient in driving the relevant traffic to company site.
Óptica Óptima is a leading sunglasses vendor in Spain that entered the e-commerce market in 2015. Yet the transition from physical stores to online shopping didn’t go as swiftly as expected. Understanding online customers appeared to be one of the biggest challenges for the company. Eventually, Óptica Óptima relied on eKomi to ensure proper communication with their clients. This collaboration resulted in 3,6% and 2,6% increase in online sales and conversion rate, respectively. SEO has also improved – Óptica Óptima holds second on organic search results for opticians.
Read the full Success Story here!
Read more case studies and guidelines of Seller and Product ratings efficiency in our blog.
The global result of focusing on reviews and ratings in marketing strategy, regardless of Ad campaigns, is the creation of a higher perceived value of your company and its products and boost in the sales conversions. Yet, all the benefits a company can receive from collecting reviews depends on one single principle – authenticity of the feedback. In fact, the whole system of feedback marketing depends on trust. But what if this principle were jeopardized?
When the Trust Is Compromised
Earlier this year The Washington Post published a breaking study indicating a dangerous and harmful trend on Amazon – fake reviews. While this is not something completely unique and new to the e-commerce platforms, feedback fraud WP and ReviewMeta have revealed is staggering in scale and dynamics. Suspicious or fraudulent reviews are crowding out authentic ones in a number of categories (e.g. Bluetooth speakers, diet pills, testosterone boosters)
According to ReviewMeta, incentivized ratings are significantly higher than non-paid ones. This results in tricking customers into buying possibly poorer-quality products and cutting verified brands off the marketing communication with users. In May Buzzfeed dug even deeper, revealing hundred of thousands of Facebook users in groups that are basically a marketplace for paid Amazon reviews: typical deal is $4 to $5 per review. The same with subreddits: a shadow industry with its own stocks, review markets, social communication.
Is this unethical? Certainly. Does it cause disarray in the whole e-commerce industry? In the long-term perspective it will. By far the most important consequence of fraudulent reviews and paid ratings is the deprivation of access to a broader target audience for otherwise successful companies.
While large retail platforms like Amazon follow a policy of mild or selective ban, the only possible solution for conscientious and unprotected companies is to rely on third-party feedback services with review authentication accredited by the largest search engines.
Paid reviewers use uncontrolled access to the review feature as a loophole in a retail platform’s feedback system. You don’t have to make a purchase – rate and review anything you want. Leading feedback services built their mechanism around transactions, i.e. a review is only collected after the purchase of an item or service. Whether we talk about instant reviews, email, SMS-feedback, website, or even point of sale – eKomi ensures transaction-backed reviews. This is a game-changing approach for the whole industry, which decreases fraud to a minimum.
Amazon claims to have applied a strict criteria for leaving reviews for US: password protected account and at least $50 in purchases. However, these measures are hardly enough in terms of shadow market volume and inconsistent ban policy.
Another important step implemented by eKomi is review verification. However obvious, this crucial process is treated differently by many review services. While some completely disregard it or rely on bot filters, a human approach and manual review remains the most effective practice. Human teams ensure that a review adheres to national and international guidelines, making sure reviews are compliant. But manual control provides retailers or service companies with a more accurate selection of feedback information (anything imperfect algorithms might have missed), thus ensuring all reviews you collect as a business are safely marketable, universally compliant and truly represent your reputation.
Book a demo with one of our representatives and start collecting authentic feedback!
Two-step verification based on transactions and manual approach will not stop fraud in e-commerce industry. The market expands and competition toughens. Feedback is increasingly inevitable as people are becoming more cautious, reading even more reviews to inform their purchasing decisions. It’s the authenticity of reviews and the trustworthiness of ratings that will remain the final frontier for the market that relies so heavily on opinions. It’s the only possible way for client-oriented business to hear what their clients have to say, to react accordingly and evolve.
Click here to book a demo and start to collect, manage and market product and seller ratings and reviews today.
About the author:
Artem Risukhin is a copywriter at eKomi, The Feedback Company. He is an accomplished specialist with experience in market analysis, content writing, and full-cycle project management. Previously, he was a writer for Cadabra Studio, UX/UI design company. He has held multiple analytic positions including senior commodity analyst at Core Consultants and steel markets analyst at Metal Expert. Devotee of solving complex problems which require business savvy approach, Artem organized and held international metallurgical conferences in Europe and Middle East.