As of 2019, e-commerce sales accounted for 14.1% of all the retail purchases with an estimated 1.92 billion digital buyers. These are numbers you cannot scoff at and proof that the nature of buying and selling has completely transformed. But how has something that has eliminated the physical contact between buyer and seller become such a huge hit? How are buyers able to tell if they are dealing with a genuine person or a con artist? How are sellers able to improve their services?
The answer lies in the reviews. Customer reviews have become the cornerstone of modern commerce, and the following are reasons why they are very vital.
Credibility and Social Proof
What most social media platforms that deal with sales have done is making it hard for sellers to get rid of negative reviews, this allows people to see what other people think of the seller, and this information can be very vital for new customers looking to purchase. You just have to check out the reviews to get a clear idea of what you are getting yourself into. Pay close attention to the complaints being lodged by people and take them seriously if you want to avoid getting burned yourself.
Helps Sellers Get the Right Products
Customer reviews are like questionnaires for the sellers, a free way for them to get real-time data on what they need to do and get to improve their services. A quick look at any review section will always yield one or two people looking for a particular product, it could be a rare clothing item not found locally, and if you are a serious seller worth their salt, you will move mountains to get that product stocked as fast as you can. This is how online shops are able to grow their clientele. Not all comments are bad, sift through the lot and find tips on how to further improve yourself.
Source of Information for other Customers
Have you ever checked out the review question only to find a person inquiring about the availability of an item only for other customers to chip in and suggest even better options? That’s one of the best qualities of online reviews. You’ll always find information in places you least expect. Be it a filter media for pond cleaning or that rare spare part for a car; there’s always someone with some information on where you can get a better version of what you are looking at better prices.
The only thing that works harder than a positive comment in the review section would be the devil himself. You would be surprised at the impact that a single positive comment can have on the rest of the people who come to check out the review. You are more likely to purchase an item if you see a good review of it by another person who may have bought it recently. And as more people buy and come to post about their good experiences, the stock and reputation of your company will keep rising to the point where even a single negative comment will have very little impact on the decision of new customers, thus boosting your sales.
Helps you Notice your Loyal Customers
It takes several purchases for someone to make the decision to make a review of your brand. Once a client has repeatedly bought from you and seen the consistency in quality or lack of it, then they will have all the valid reasons to go online and say something about your services. You can easily tell from the nature of the comments who have been using your services for a long time and who just popped up there for the first time. This way, you can focus on improving relations with the loyal ones and avoid the troublemakers.
It Improves your Ranking
Although they may not know it at the time of writing their comments, customers end up using some keywords in their reviews that end up boosting the ranking of your site in the search engines. The keywords could be the names of the various products popular at that time or simple phrases and descriptions that are common for searches. In the long run, all these are seen as part of the site, and every time someone searches that particular product that was mentioned many times over, your site will most likely be among on the first page, thus generating more traffic to your site.
They Give you an Open Line to Your Customers
One of the biggest advantages of the comment directions in reviews is the ability of the seller to respond to each issue raised individually; this is the best way to open dialogue with disgruntled customers in real-time. You can set a negative comment right without addressing the issue raised in a polite manner, taking the edge off since other customers will appreciate how you handle such a situation. If you are a business owner with an online presence, always respond to each comment, positive or negative.
Some platforms like Facebook allow business owners to disable reviews. Never use that option, you may think you are protecting yourself from criticism, but you’ll be hurting the brand since people tend to avoid buying from establishments that don’t have reviews. You simply have to find a way to turn the whole thing in your favor.