Remember the old adage that a satisfied customer will tell one friend about your product, but an unsatisfied customer will tell nine people?
Now, with the proliferation of user-generated content in the form of reviews and ratings, those numbers have grown exponentially! Research from Forrester Consulting found that 71% of consumers are influenced by ratings and reviews, while 76% say that positive reviews make them more likely to purchase a product.
You shouldn’t be afraid of what your customers might say when they review your products. Instead, leverage this opportunity to increase your conversion rates, while you gain valuable insights into your customers. Utilize your ability to create great product content to gain satisfied customers who write great reviews!
Good Product Information Means More Satisfied Customers and Better Reviews
When you provide comprehensive, complete, and accurate product information, your customers should never be surprised by the product that arrives on the doorstep or at the office reception area. If you are describing the product with the correct attributes, your customers should be completely aware of what they are buying. As a result, when you approach them to provide a rating or review, the information they provide should be more focused on the quality and performance of the product, as opposed to whether the size, shape, or colour was not what they expected.
When you are providing product information, consider what your customers need to know to have a positive experience and ensure that critical information makes it into their hands.
Insights from User-Generated Content Can Fuel Better Product Information
User-generated content gives you a valuable feedback loop. When customers are providing ratings and reviews they are telling you directly what is great—or not so great—about your product. You can then take that first-hand feedback and fix what is broken, or promote what is working. If the customer was disappointed because the size or colour was wrong, you can augment your product information with context that lets future customers know how the garment will likely fit, or what hue of blue they should expect when they buy a particular office chair.
When you foster a dialogue with customers, you boost the impact of your marketing efforts and utilize your customers’ experiences to reinforce your product stories.
User-Generated Content Can Inform Your Product Categories and Messaging
How do customers describe your products when they write a review? Are they using the same labels for attributes and product categories that you do in your product information? What attributes do they focus on the most? What were the key reasons they stated for buying the product?
When you answer these questions, you can align your product categories and messaging with what your customers are searching for and provide the key selling points to seal the deal. You can refine your SEO strategy to reflect commonly-used search terms that your customers actually use, which will help to boost your search rankings, click-through rates, and ultimately drive more sales.
When your customers tell you directly how they search, what they search for, and why they buy, you also have a wealth of insightful information to inform your future search marketing efforts.
Need help developing great product information? Contact us at inRiver! We have the solution for you!
Kathryn Zwack, Senior Content Marketing Manager, inRiver
Not long ago, a major focus of marketers was on brand—brand loyalty, brand positioning, the “brand promise.” Numerous books were written on the subject—each claiming to be the “brand bible” for communicating effectively to target markets.
We would argue that brand loyalty and the importance of brand, in general, is diminishing. According to McKinsey Research only 13% of customers are “loyalists” who do not shop around.
Sure, there are Apple aficionados who will never buy a Windows PC. There are folks who continue to drive the same brand of car for decades. And there are businesses with brand preferences due to corporate policy or hardware and software compatibility challenges. However, with the ubiquity of online shopping and buying, brand-based selection is falling, time and again, by the wayside.
Why is this?
When seeking a new product—especially a product with which a buyer has had little previous experience—buyers most often rely on the opinions of family and friends, or complete strangers. In fact, in one study by Signpost, they found that 90% of people consult online reviews when making purchase decisions. With the anonymity afforded by the Internet, purchasers of a product can be completely frank about their opinions and experiences with a product. As a result, buyers frequently trust those opinions more than corporate advertising or “brand communications.”
Not only is UGC an influential factor, but so are third-party reviews. How frequently do you make a major product purchase without consulting Consumer Reports, Edmunds, CNET, or the like? Buyers are relying more and more on the expert evaluations of third-party reviewers for three main reasons: 1) they can be accessed from our desk or mobile phone; and 2) these folks do this for a living and are experts; and 3) it speeds our research and decision processes.
What is also common is for buyers to be surprised by what they read. According to the same McKinsey Research study, nearly 60% of customers switched brands once they began “shopping around.”
Ability to Compare Products
Now that consumers and business buyers can easily shop around and compare products—on price, features, and form factor—at the click of a button, they are not restricted by brand. Online users can find the product that most closely meets their needs—whether the purchase transaction occurs online or in-store. Again, this may mean that they consider or purchase a brand that was not originally top of mind. However, after validating their purchase through user and third-party reviews, this previously unknown brand or product may indeed end up the winner!
What Can You Do?
As a manufacturer or distributor, the most impactful thing that you can do is portray your individual products in the best possible light. If you are no longer able to attract customers based solely on your brand, then you need your products to be able to speak for themselves and tell their own unique stories. This requires compelling, well-crafted product descriptions, accurate and interesting imagery, and insightful product testimonials and reviews. Let inRiver and our extensive PRIME Partner Community help!
Kathryn Zwack, Sr. Content Marketing Manager, inRiver