Increase Your Customer Service

How to Provide Strong Customer Service in the Digital Age

Customer service in the digital age isn’t completely different than it was when every business was brick-and-mortar. Some rules of the customer-brand relationship—like “the customer is always right”—are unlikely ever to change. However, the fundamental approach to customer service has changed thanks to the internet and other technologies. Technology has given your customers a broader range of choice than ever before—which means that customer service matters more than it ever has before.

How can your brand engage modern customers, guarantee their satisfaction, improve brand loyalty, and give business a boost?

Be active on social media

Social media is ground zero for customer interaction. If customers want to praise your product or service, they are going to use Facebook or Twitter to do it. If they want to criticize your product, social media is their first stop, too. If they want to get in touch with you directly to ask questions or lodge complaints, they are going to start by trying to find you on social media.

The best thing you can do to build an effective customer service model is to be active and responsive on social media. Build a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other popular networks and encourage customers to follow you and like your pages. Share news about your brand to let customers know about sales, discounts, and new products. Most of all, track mentions or comments and respond promptly and respectfully to customers who ask questions or raise concerns. Being reachable via social media will humanize your brand and make it easy for people to contact you in a casual, low-stress environment.

Respond quickly to their questions or concerns

It doesn’t matter whether you are doing most of your customer service work on Facebook and Twitter or through a messaging system on your website. Customers reaching out via phone, email, instant message, social media, text, or any other method all have something in common: they expect quick responses. Time is of the essence with customer service, now more than ever. If a customer asks a question and you don’t get back to them for 12 hours, there’s a good chance that person will just go elsewhere to find the products or services you offer. There’s a reason that some brands outsource their customer service to companies that offer 24-hour support. Whichever customer service system you want to offer, you need to make sure that you can respond in a timely fashion.

Update your website frequently with news and helpful, informative content

While many customers will look to social media to get the information they need from you, others will still beeline toward your website if they have questions or need assistance with a product. Updating your website frequently with new content—news posts, announcements, FAQs, tutorials, etc.—is an effective way of providing passive customer service. Your customers can get the help they need on their own time without having to contact you directly.

Think about the types of content that will be most beneficial for your customers to be able to access on your site. If you have product manuals, consider uploading them in PDF form so that customers who have misplaced their physical manuals can find them easily. Video tutorials are also incredibly helpful to teach customers how to access certain features or capabilities of a product.

Make it easy for customers to leave feedback (and listen to what they say)

Giving your customers a voice to provide feedback on products is one of the most important aspects of modern customer service. Customers today want to tell other potential buyers about their experiences with products or brands. Implementing product reviews on your website is a great way to ensure that customers have that voice. Product reviews are the best way of finding out what customers think of your wares and the overall brand experience that you offer. Positive reviews reinforce your instincts about product development and work well as testimonials to share on social media. Negative reviews identify areas for improvement and help with goal setting.

Allow customers to create helpful content

If you don’t have money in the budget for full-fledged product tutorials or other video content, let your customers create it for you. Implementing video reviews on your site provides all the advantages of text reviews and then some. With video reviews, customers can demonstrate products, show off features, and offer mini tutorials of their own. Your customers want to know a lot about products before they buy, but they don’t necessarily want to hear that information directly from your brand for fear of bias. With video reviews, customers can answer each other’s questions and provide valuable content. Most importantly, video reviews add other perspectives into the mix and give your shoppers a greater feeling of trust.


Product Reviews

Why Consumers Trust Customer Generated Video Reviews

In 2014, BrightLocal published a survey on the power of customer reviews. 88% of respondents said that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. In other words, nearly nine in 10 customers are just as willing to buy a product based on the praise of a stranger as they are to buy a product at the recommendation of a friend.

Consumer trust is at a low point. In the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer, 16 of the 27 countries that the survey tracked recorded customer trust levels of under 50%. For Edelman, countries with trust levels of 50% or under fall into the unacceptable or “distruster” range.

The numbers from the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer survey could spell doom and gloom for brands everywhere. How can businesses market to their customers if customers don’t trust them?

How Customer Reviews Can Save Your Brand from Customer Distrust

Implementing customer reviews is one of the easiest and most effective strategies that online e-commerce brands can use to combat customer distrust. When you give your customers a platform through which they can share their opinions on your products right there on your website, you harness the power of BrightLocal’s findings.

savannah bee updated

88% of customers are just as willing to buy products because of online recommendations as they are to listen to recommendations from friends or family. By having a positive customer review on one of your product pages, you are giving many of your customers the equivalent of a product endorsement from their close friends. This strategy can be hugely beneficial for encouraging sales and boosting revenues—especially in an age in which so many customers are inherently distrustful of brands.

Why Video Reviews Are the Best Kind of Customer Review

Video reviews are the optimal way to build customer trust in this day and age, particularly for e-commerce brands. Video reviews provide all of the key advantages of standard text-based customer reviews. They show that your brand is willing to give customers a platform through which to share their opinions, they put customer testimonials right on your product pages, and they supplement product descriptions to give shoppers all of the information they need to understand and purchase a product.

There are a few drawbacks to text reviews that video reviews help to solve or circumnavigate. Here are the key benefits you get from video reviews that written customer reviews don’t offer.

They are easier to trust

Distrust of brands among modern customers has reached such a point that many shoppers don’t trust online reviews anymore. With text, anyone could be behind the words. There’s a chance that the person extolling the virtues of a product on a brand’s website is a genuine customer, but there is also a chance that the brand created the review. The spread of fake and paid reviews on sites like Amazon and Yelp has only made matters worse in this department. Video reviews are easier for customers to trust because viewers can actually see and hear the reviewer in addition to engaging with their words. Video is naturally a more personal medium than writing, so users feel more inclined to trust it. Video reviews are also much harder for brands to fake than written reviews, making them more trustworthy.

They encourage an emotional connection

Video is inherently a more personal medium than text: being able to see a person’s facial expressions, watch their body language, and hear the tone of their voice make video reviews feel like a window into someone’s day-to-day life. The personal nature of these videos encourages users to forge an emotional connection with the reviewer. They see someone who reminds them of themselves and therefore they feel inclined to trust that person. The trust created by that emotional connection ends up linked to your brand and your products.

They are engaging

Modern attention spans have dwindled, as has people’s willingness to read. There is a reason that sites like Buzzfeed have done so well with list-based articles that are made up largely of pictures. Many internet users just aren’t interested in reading large blocks of text—not because they are lazy, but because they don’t engage with it on any level. Videos encourage more engagement. It is easier for most customers to watch a two-minute video than absorb a three-paragraph product review. There’s a facet of accessibility to that play button that isn’t there with a lengthier review. As such, customers who would not have read or engaged with a written customer review are willing to watch a video review through to the end and use it to inform purchasing decisions. 

At Criteek, we can help you to implement video reviews throughout your e-commerce website, you can learn more here

Video Strategy

The Basics of an Effective Video Strategy

By now, you understand that video content is the future of marketing. However, understanding and implementation are not the same. There are plenty of high-profile sources out there that have gone on record highlighting the importance of video for brands. There are also plenty of brands that still aren’t using video as a regular part of their content marketing strategies.

We know that making the switch from written content to video content can be daunting. By following the steps and tips laid out below, you can master these basics and start enjoying the benefits of video content right now.

Implement both in-house and user-generated video strategies

The best video marketing strategies make use of both in-house video and user-generated video. There are some types of videos that only you can create. Brand stories, interviews with people from your company, case studies, and official product “how-to” guides are all going to be in-house projects. However, customer-generated video (which usually takes the form of video reviews and social videos) will deliver a lot of the benefits of other types of video without the production costs. Video reviews improve dwell rates, give shoppers extra information about your products, and offer great social media sharing power. Positive video reviews also double as customer testimonials, which are terrific for improving brand trust.

Newton Running Case Study

Figure out what type of video content your audience wants to see

Before you film a second of video, sit down and brainstorm what type of video content you want to create. In order to do this, try to put yourself in the shoes of your customers. What stories do they want to see? Which “customer support” topics or frequently asked questions can you address with “how to” guides or demonstration videos? Could case studies of your company’s projects help you win over new clients? If you feel like there is customer demand for a specific video topic, then the corresponding video will benefit your brand.

Retain the human element

Brands often make the mistake of focusing their video content primarily on things rather than on people. For instance, an e-commerce company might have a product take center stage for the visual portion of a video and then relegate the narration to voiceover. Similarly, a construction contractor might feature shots of machinery or active project footage rather than giving a good amount of time to an interview with the project manager. While it is important to show your product or service in your video, it is also vital to retain the human element. People—their voices, their facial expressions, their body language, and their reliability—will give your video an emotional dimension that connects with customers.

Keep the content short and sweet

Long-form videos have their place in content marketing. For example, if you host a webinar, it’s obviously going to be lengthy. But for the most part, you want to keep your content as short and digestible as possible. One to three minutes is typically the sweet spot. That’s a tight target to hit, so make sure you are utilizing cuts and other editing tricks to keep the video slick and on-topic.

Create a spot on your website where users can browse videos

Too many brands spend time and money on their video content and then just dump it on YouTube. While YouTube is a good place to host your videos, you shouldn’t just upload them to your YouTube channel and then call it a day. You need your videos to be easily locatable to anyone visiting your website for the first time. Build a section of your website where you store all of your videos, or divide video pages into different categories depending on the content. You will reap more benefits from your video content (improved traffic, dwell rate, and revenue) and users will still be able to find your greatest hits on YouTube if they want to.

Start sharing

You also shouldn’t just upload your videos to your site and hope that customers find them. Instead, start featuring and sharing your videos everywhere you can. Post videos on Facebook and Twitter and encourage users to give feedback. Video content is extremely sharable, so you should see good numbers of likes and retweets on these posts. You can also make videos more visible on your website by featuring a few of them on your homepage or embedding them in your email newsletters to improve their reach.

Watch the metrics

Before you implement video reviews or start posting video content you have produced in-house, take note of your website and social media metrics. What do your dwell rates or conversion rates look like? What sort of traffic is your written marketing content getting? How many social followers do you have? How do your posts do on Facebook or Twitter when you share text-based content? Once you’ve implemented video, track all of these metrics and see how they change. You need to look at view numbers for your videos and stats about how many customers make it all the way through your videos. Comparing your site and social media performance before and after video content will give you a sense of just how much video is helping your brand.


Shopping Online Via Mobile

How The Rise Of Mobile Commerce Affects Shopping Habits

Have you looked at your brand’s e-commerce sales numbers lately? If not, take a look right now. How many of your sales are coming from desktop operating systems? How many are coming from mobile?

If you are like most online retail brands, then your number of sales coming from mobile platforms has grown dramatically in the past few years. Mobile has become so vital in e-commerce that it now has its own name: “mobile commerce” or “m-commerce.”

It’s easy to assume that most of your e-commerce sales are still coming from desktop platforms. The image that most of us see in our heads when we think of “online shopping” is someone sitting in front of their computer, typing in searches and clicking their mouse to add items to their shopping carts. But that image is quickly shifting to accommodate the experiences that customers expect, like, and trust when shopping online.

The Power of M-Commerce

In 2014, Shopify studied 100,000 e-commerce retailers and found that 50.3% of their combined sales were coming from mobile platforms compared to 49.7% for desktop. In September 2012, Shopify’s numbers had only credited 17% of e-commerce sales to mobile devices. 22.7% is a big leap for m-commerce to take in just two years. Gartner, an information technology research company, predicted in a January 2015 press release that mobile commerce would account for half of “digital commerce revenue” after 2017. 

pie graph

There can be no doubt that m-commerce is growing and growing rapidly. In the not-to-distant future, it will surpass desktop shopping as the predominant form of e-commerce.

Understanding How M-Commerce and Video Go Hand-in-Hand

So how can online retailers keep pace with the changing world of e-commerce? The first step is to make sure that your site is as responsive and mobile-friendly as possible. It needs to be as easy for customers to use your online store on mobile as it is on desktop. From searching products to picking out sizes, colors, and other product variations all the way to the checkout process, everything about your e-commerce store needs to be optimized for mobile.

However, simply making your site mobile-friendly isn’t enough to keep pace with the changes that are transforming e-commerce. You also need to think about how your mobile customers will want to interact and engage with different parts of your site, including the homepage and the product pages. Specifically, you need to think about tweaking your content marketing strategy to include more of an emphasis on video content.

It’s no coincidence that online video has seen a rise in prominence alongside mobile devices. Cisco says that, by next year, 69% of all consumer internet traffic will come from video. The rise in video has something to do with our society’s short attention spans and decreasing willingness to read anything longer than 140 characters, but while these factors might be playing a role, the rise in video can also be credited to mobile devices.

Why is video the preferred content format for mobile devices? There are several reasons. First off, while smartphone screens are getting bigger on average, they are still much smaller than a computer screen. Reading an entire article, website page, or customer review on a smartphone screen is straining on the eyes. Getting the same information from a video is more convenient and user-friendly.

Video is also more immediately engaging. Most smartphone users do a lot of browsing the web or scrolling through their social media feeds during the short bits of free time they have during the day. Reading an entire blog post still feels like a time commitment, which means that written marketing content doesn’t usually engage users who are just checking their Twitter feed during a break from work or while waiting for an appointment. Bite-sized video content is more easily digestible for users whose time is limited, which leads to higher engagement rates and more shares.

The extra convenience and digestibility of video content is a huge boon for e-commerce companies. It makes product pages more mobile-friendly, helps you show off your products with words and visuals, and makes your content more shareable. The benefits range from higher dwell rates on your website to wider reach on social media, all the way to better revenues.

How to Incorporate Video into Your Content Marketing Strategy

The bottom line is this: to keep pace with the rise of m-commerce, your brand needs to start producing, publishing, and sharing video content. Criteek can help you take your first steps into video content marketing.

We help e-commerce brands like yours incorporate video reviews on their product pages. With this feature, you can encourage your users to start contributing video content to your site. These videos have the same benefits of other video content (they are innately shareable, they increase dwell rates, and more), but they don’t require your company to shoulder production rates.


Increase Conversion On Your Site With Customer Video

The Leading Factors for Increasing Conversion

If your e-commerce product pages aren’t recording the conversion rates that you want, there could be several factors to blame. From visuals to text-to-site responsiveness, conversion rate is not determined by just one thing but by many variables interacting with one another. When Criteek works with e-commerce companies, we find that the ones struggling with conversion rates are falling victim to all of the same pitfalls.

Here are the factors that the experts tweak to help clients increase their conversions:

Customer Reviews

Strong product descriptions help with SEO, and good specification sections help customers feel more informed before they buy. However, these factors cannot and will not give you a strong conversion rate by themselves. Most modern customers just don’t trust written copy that comes directly from a brand.

This fact is not a reflection on your company or how honest and forthright you have been with your customers in the past. Rather, customer distrust ties back to modern marketing as a whole. From targeted advertisements that feel like invasions of privacy to the “bad egg” companies that purposefully mislead their customers, there are plenty of reasons for modern shoppers not to trust any content that they can label as “marketing” or “advertising.”

customer reviews

What most modern shoppers do trust is the word of their peers. At Criteek, our statistics tell us that shoppers today are 12 times more likely to trust other shoppers than they are to trust marketers. As such, the best thing that you can possibly do to improve the conversion rates of your e-commerce site is to implement customer reviews. This way, shoppers can get the objective information they need about your product from other shoppers while reading a subjective opinion about the product. A good review on your product page will do much more to convince shoppers to click the “Add to Cart” button than marketing copy ever could. 


Another thing that marketing copy can’t replicate is a high-quality image (or several high-quality images) of the product you are selling. Customers want to be able to see what they are buying before they buy it. Online shopping makes this part of the shopping experience much more difficult than brick-and-mortar shopping because customers can’t hold the products in their hands before buying. Because of this shortcoming, including large and beautiful images of your products—preferably showing your product from multiple different angles and displaying different color options—will greatly increase the likelihood of a customer deciding to buy.

product images

Video Content

Images are great supplementary content, but ultimately they can’t rival the power of video. Pictures of your product help to fill the “hold it in your hand” facet of in-person shopping that often isn’t replicated in e-commerce settings. Video content does an even better job at filling that void. While video content can’t give customers the opportunity to touch or hold a product in their hands, it gets closer than images. With product videos, customers see your product without an edited (and potentially untrustworthy) brand-produced sizzle reel and they get to observe how it looks from all angles. They get to see it in action. A video that demonstrates your product’s features will help your customers imagine what it will actually be like to use that product. As such, video content is terrific for dispelling any doubts or reservations that customers may have about a product.

Video Reviews

You can pair video content and customer reviews into one powerful conversion-boosting tool. Video reviews are becoming more and more popular in the e-commerce sphere, and it isn’t difficult to see why. Combining the trust that shoppers have in their peers with the easy engagement and visual nature of video produces a site feature that your product pages must have.

Since producing professional video content is expensive, video reviews can help your brand save money. By letting your customers create videos that show off your products and demonstrate their features, you get the benefits of videos without having to invest in their production. The quality of the video will inherently be lower than it would have been if you had created a professional demonstration clip. However, since shoppers prefer to trust content from other customers anyway, they won’t mind the lower fidelity.

Customer Engagement

The Number One Thing You Can Do to Improve Shopper Engagement

By most metrics that you track, your e-commerce brand is doing fine. You have a lot of followers on social media, your SEO campaigns are paying off, and your website traffic is right in the sweet spot. The only problem is that all of those factors just aren’t translating into purchases, revenues, or increased customer loyalty. Why, when your brand is seemingly performing well on the internet, are you still struggling to record strong conversion rates? Read on to see how you can improve shopper engagement.

Dwell Times: The Most Important Metric for Your E-Commerce Website

If you look at the dwell times for your product pages, you will find the source of your conversion problem. Yes, you are getting good page view numbers. You are successfully getting customers to your website and onto your product pages. What you aren’t doing is inspiring them to stick around and make decisions.

Dwell times tell the story of an e-commerce company’s success much better than page view numbers and social media followers can. They don’t just tell you how many people clicked a link and visited a URL, or how many people tapped the “Follow” button. Dwell time figures tell you how customers are interacting with your website. When the dwell times for your product pages are somewhere near 60 seconds on average, that’s a sign that people aren’t engaging with the content or products on those pages. Something is causing them to lose interest and abandon the page. The question is, what’s the culprit?

Criteek’s Newton Running Experiment

At Criteek, we recently had the pleasure of working with Newton Running, a globally regarded running shoe brand headquartered in Boulder, Colorado—one of the most popular running cities in the country. Newton is generally a well-regarded brand, not just for the quality of their shoes but also for their environmentally-friendly practices and their philanthropic efforts. Despite all of this, Newton Running was having the same problem with their online store that so many e-commerce brands experience. Despite strong traffic and a fairly robust social media following, Newton Running was struggling to maintain strong dwell times.

Working with Criteek, Newton Running implemented a professional experiment to increase customer engagement on a few of its key product pages. The question behind the experiment was simple: could implementing video-based customer reviews on product pages increase the dwell times for those pages?

Newton UK Product Page

The answer to that question was a massive “yes.” Each page increased its average dwell time by over a minute with the biggest leap at 70 seconds. 84% of surveyed users said they felt that the addition of video reviews improved the user experience of the product pages in question. The presence of video reviews made customers feel more inclined to engage with those pages.

Newton Running Dwell Times

Why Customers Aren’t Engaging with Your Product Pages

Put yourself in the shoes of the customer. You are shopping for a product online and you end up on a brand’s website, browsing their product pages. The pages include product descriptions directly from the brand as well as a photo or two. However, the pages include no information you can use to gauge the quality or usability of the product. You therefore have two options: you can take the brand at its word and trust that the product will suit your needs perfectly, or you can head back to Google and try to find reviews for the product in question.

In a Dimensional Research survey from 2013, 90% of respondents said that their buying decisions were influenced by online reviews. Most customers actively seek out a second or third opinion when they are shopping for products. They don’t just want to trust the brand’s product description without finding any additional trustworthy information to back it up. As a result, e-commerce sites that don’t host customer reviews tend to lose visitors who either go elsewhere to find reviews or simply give up on that product or service.

This trend explains why many e-commerce brands see poor dwell times for their product pages. There is nothing for customers to engage with on those pages, so they don’t inspire customers to stick around. When customers don’t stick around, those product pages don’t convert.

Implementing customer reviews—and video reviews specifically—is a terrific way to boost engagement, dwell time, and conversion rates at once. When customers have the option to read a review of a product, they will take that opportunity to learn more about the product and come to a purchasing decision. Video reviews are even better because they create strong emotional connections between the reviewer and the shopper and allow for real-time demonstrations of products. Not only do customers learn more about product features via video reviews but they also see those features in action.


Negative Reviews Can Drive Ecommerce

Three Reasons to Embrace Negative Reviews Rather Than Remove Them

What to do with negative reviews is one of the biggest conundrums with implementing a customer review system on your website. It’s great when your customers are saying nice things about your product: these comments allow shoppers to get information on what real customers are saying about your products and help to push them toward clicking “Add to Cart.”

Negative reviews seem counterproductive in comparison. After all, you added a customer review feature to your site to benefit your business. You wanted to increase dwell times, boost sales, make customers feel more engaged, and improve the overall shopper experience. When negative reviews come into the mix, they could boost dwell times, but they certainly aren’t going to help your sales. Why not just remove them as they occur? We’re going to teach you something that will seriously challenge that logic. 

Why Negative Reviews Happen

Negative reviews help your brand more than they hurt it. There are several reasons why this counterintuitive statement is true. First, let’s talk about a fundamental truth in e-commerce: nothing gets unanimous appeal. From movies to music to clothing to electronics, nothing will ever have a 100% approval rating. If you are running a business, negative reviews are guaranteed.

While some businesses see negative reviews as their kryptonite and trip over themselves in their haste to hit “Delete,” a negative review could be due to multiple factors. Perhaps a customer got a defective product. Maybe the product is fine, but a customer is giving a negative review because they waited weeks to get their shipment. A negative review could even be due to something as simple as a misleading sizing chart or a product photograph that didn’t accurately portray the color of the item.

Nike Metcon 3 Review

If you maintain your high product and service standards, negative reviews aren’t necessarily a problem. Here are three of the biggest arguments for why they help your business more than they hurt it.

How Negative Reviews Help Your Business

1. Negative points of view prove that your reviews are real.

This point is the most important reason why you shouldn’t delete any negative reviews that show up on your product pages. No product and no brand is capable of eliciting true 100% approval. If all your products have perfect five-star ratings and glowing reviews, customers will get suspicious that the reviews were either bought or planted by your brand. This “fake reviews” assumption will do no favors to your brand image or your relationships with customers. 

Your shoppers will also notice if you start deleting negative reviews. The reviewers who leave negative comments will notice if their reviews never go live and deduce the rest. If you delete reviews after they’ve been published, you run the risk of a shopper reading a negative review and then coming back later only to notice that it’s missing. That kind of second interaction can deteriorate brand trust entirely.

You always want your customers to trust you, and censoring their opinions is not the way to get there. Customers will only trust your positive reviews if they see a few negative or neutral reviews, too. In the video below George talks about a pair of Saucony trainers providing both positives and negatives about the product. 

2. Negative reviews serve as cues to offer helpful customer service.

More than just showing that your brand has thick skin and can take criticism, negative reviews highlight areas in which customer service is necessary. Most of the problems we discussed earlier in this post—defective product, slow shipping, wrong sizes, misleading colors—can be easily resolved with a quick customer service exchange.

By giving buyers a public place to share complaints or concerns about your brand, you also give yourself a “message board” through which you can respond to customers who had a negative experience.  When a negative review comes through, comment on it, apologize for the customer’s experience, and offer to make it right. Offer to replace or exchange the product with a working model or a different color or size. Alternatively, you might offer store credit, discounts, or free shipping.

How you respond and make things right should depend on the magnitude of the customer’s complaints. However, the core benefit of this tactic is twofold. First, it gives you a chance to take a customer’s negative experience and turn it into a positive one. Second, it lets you show off your customer service publicly so that other shoppers can see that you care about helping dissatisfied customers.

3. Negative reviews give you valuable feedback on your products.

If you only listen to negative reviews and ignore the positive ones, you will be caught in an echo chamber in which you never acknowledge other points of view. By not only keeping negative reviews around but also reading them and engaging with them, you acknowledge criticism of your products or your overall customer experience. You can use this feedback to improve the shopping experience on your website, whether that means revising a sizing chart or offering multiple different shipping options. And when it comes time to create new products or upgrade old ones, you’ll know which weaknesses to target.


User-Generated Video

Why User-Generated Video Content is Your Best Marketing Tool for 2017 

For years, we’ve been told that content marketing is an essential part of online branding. Creating quality content and taking steps to make it as visible as possible can heighten your brand’s trust among customers and boost your search engine rankings. Now, user-generated video content has become even more important than brand-generated content. In fact, user-generated content stands to become the single most powerful marketing tool for brands in 2017. Read on for the three core reasons.

1Customers trust user-generated content

With content marketing, trust has always been a big part of the equation. Creating unique, informative, and well-written content was a way to show customers that your business knew its stuff. Trust is the driving factor behind user-generated content for a different reason. If content marketing works because it builds trust in your brand, user-generated content works because modern customers are inherently inclined to distrust brands like yours.

Before you start cycling back through your most recent consumer interactions trying to figure out why your customers might not trust you, know that this distrust isn’t directly your fault. Due to several factors, the average modern customer enters all brand interactions with caution. For one thing, they’ve dealt with online tracking and targeted marketing—tactics that strike most people as invasions of privacy that need to be avoided. For another thing, so many transactions take place online that it’s difficult to create the face-to-face human trust factor that brands naturally used to maintain with their customers.

Whatever the reasons for this consumer distrust, the fact is that your prospective buyers are going to take everything you say with a grain of salt. That includes social media posts, blogs, articles, email newsletters, and even product descriptions. It’s not that customers assume that the information you provide them directly is false. However, they are going to want to do their own research before purchasing your products, through sources they trust more than your brand’s mouthpiece.

User-generated video content is extremely helpful here. Customers don’t feel inclined to trust brands, but they do feel inclined to trust other customers, whether family members or online reviewers. As such, by implementing user-generated content on your website—like text reviews and video review media—you make it possible for customers to get “second opinions” on your products without leaving your platform. This content keeps customers on your site and increases the likelihood of them purchasing your products and trusting your brand.

2. Promoting user-generated content promotes brand ambassadors

When you enable user-generated content on your website, you give your customers a voice with which to talk about your products and your brand. When you give your customers that voice, you show them that they are valuable and tie them more strongly to your brand. Whether you are responding to each video review on your website with a simple “thank you” message or featuring top video reviews on your homepage or social media accounts, or both, user-generated content strategies make it easy to reward customers for standing up and becoming influencers.

User Generated Video Content

Your consumers see it as a reward to be recognized online by their favorite celebrities and brands. They will talk about those celebrities and brands more with the sole goal of being acknowledged, mentioned, or retweeted. If you start sharing user-generated content prominently, you will promote the kind of brand advocacy that amps up ROI. There is no better way to get customers talking about your brand online, both on your website and on social media.

3. User-generated content makes your customers feel valued

The Business 2 Community blog recently said that “influencers are the new celebrity spokesperson.” While celebrity spokespeople still drive user interest for larger brands, small- and mid-sized e-commerce companies experience similar benefits by getting lots of influencers to spread the word about their brand. Turning your customers into your own “celebrity spokespeople” will positively impact their overall brand loyalty.

Think about it this way: back in your school days, when you were recognized for accomplishing something impressive in one of your classes or subjects, what kind of response did that inspire in you? In most cases, positive recognition and reinforcement encourage kids to work harder in those classes to keep achieving impressive results. It also makes them enjoy those classes more because they feel like they are being rewarded for their input and effort.

A very similar psychology is at work with brand advocates. By giving customers a voice to use to share their opinions via user-generated content and then recognizing those opinions (on your website or social media), you give them the positive reinforcement they need to keep advocating for your brand. Your customers will feel honored and rewarded by the recognition and will continue stumping for your brand with the goal of seeing similar results, without compensation. Best of all, they will feel more attached and loyal to your brand.


Video Product Reviews Can Keep Shoppers Engaged Longer

How to Use Product Reviews to Resonate with Potential Customers

Ask three different online marketing experts how to increase your brand’s resonance with customers and you’ll get three different answers. One will tell you that you need to use surveys to find out what customers really want (and then find a way to deliver). A second will encourage you to focus on content marketing, since publishing interesting content that your customers want to read is one of the best ways to earn their trust and loyalty. Another will tell you to get as involved as possible on social media.

All of these tips are valid and worth considering. However, they all also have one inherent weakness: they rely on B2C communications. And, unfortunately, consumers just don’t relate to brands on a very personal level. They relate to people, to other customers who they see as being “just like them.” The question is, how can you harness the “other people” effect and use it to boost your brand’s resonance with customers?

Reaping the Benefits of Customer Reviews

How can customer reviews help boost your brand resonance? At Criteek, we specialize in helping companies implement video review media campaigns on their e-commerce websites. Once the videos are in place, they deliver benefits ranging from increased traffic to improved dwell times.

There are metrics to show that customer reviews help improve the user experience on your website. Here are four ways that you can use reviews to resonate with potential customers and score more sales.

1. Provide customers with all the information they need on one page

In most cases, e-commerce brands believe that they are already providing customers with all of the information they need about any given product. Product pages typically include product descriptions, specs, information about sizing and colors, lists of features, and full-color photos. What more could the average customer need to make a purchasing decision?

Newton UK Product Page

It turns out that what many customers are looking for on product pages is a second opinion. In most cases, they appreciate getting information on the product directly from the brand itself. However, they also want to know what the product is really like. For this information, they won’t count on the brand, since any company will try to cast its products in the best light possible. Instead, they will want to hear directly from a customer who has bought and used the product.

With a product review system, you allow customers to get a second opinion right there on your product pages. As a result, they don’t have to leave your site in search for another spot on the web where they might find a product review. Keeping customers on your website for longer improves your chances of making a sale.

2. Use them to discover what customers want

Customer surveys do have their value, but if you want faster and more direct feedback on your products, just ask for it on your website. By having a review function available for every product on your website, you can find out what customers love and dislike about the goods you are selling.

For instance, if you are clothing retailer, you can find out if your sizing chart is off, or if customers feel like the color of a garment in the spec photo doesn’t quite match the actual color. In other cases, customers might talk about features they’d like to see in a future incarnation of your product. These insights are incredibly valuable and show you clear avenues for improving both your products and your overall customer experience.

3. Harness existing customers as the face of your business

Every business needs a “face” that customers can trust. Some brands go for celebrity spokespeople to solve this conundrum. Others create cute mascots. With customer reviews, you make your customers the face of your business. Text reviews aren’t the be all, end all of customer reviews anymore. Video reviews are on the rise and they bring the added benefit of viewers actually being able to see the reviewer.

Picture this: someone is shopping on your online store and finds a product they think they might like. They watch a video review and spend four or five minutes listening to another customer rave about your product. Customers relate to one another on a personal level, especially when they have similar interests, wants, and needs. Showing customers a brand ambassador who looks like them and likes the same things they like is a fantastic way of encouraging them to buy.

4. Show that you care by responding to reviews

Next to social media, product reviews present the best arena brands have in which to interact with customers and fans. Using the comments section on your customer’s reviews is a great way to show that you care—whether you are thanking a buyer for a positive review or commenting on a negative review and asking what you can do to set things right. The reviewers themselves will see these comments and feel more personally valued by your company. Your other customers, meanwhile, will see the comments and know that you care about your customers.


Keep customers coming back by implementing video into your marketing strategy.

Increase Customer Lifetime Value with Video

Most marketing efforts are aimed at customer acquisition, and for good reason. Brands need to win over new customers because they see that route as the quickest way to achieve growth. To be a bigger company, you need to have higher revenues and broader brand reach. To achieve higher revenues and broader reach, you need to have more customers buying your products and recommending them to friends and family.

What many brands fail to realize is the importance of customer retention. They are so focused on winning over new customers that they make the mistake of assuming that the customers they acquire will always be there. Unfortunately, this single-minded approach to brand growth leads to high customer acquisition rates but low customer lifetime value. In other words, they bring new customers into the fold, but those customers only make a few purchases and don’t do much to move the needle.

Re-Centering Your Brand Marketing Efforts on Customer Retention

Growth is largely dependent on finding new people to adopt your brand and share it with friends. However, without customer retention being a strong focus for your brand, your customer acquisition efforts will ultimately be moot. Most of the people you are winning over with those efforts won’t bring considerable lifetime value to your brand because there will be nothing to keep them coming back.

Top-notch products and stellar customer service will help encourage customers to stick around for the long haul. Offering things that your competitors aren’t—like rewards programs or free shipping—will also drive customer loyalty and retention. But one important strategy that often goes overlooked is engagement

Your brand needs to make it a priority to reach customers where they are and interact with them on their own terms. One way to open that door is to invest in video content. Focusing on video content will future-proof your business and help you stay relevant to customers in the 21st century. Cisco reports that, by 2019, video will account for 80% of all consumer traffic. If you want your customers to stay with you going forward, you need to put the emphasis on video in your marketing strategy.

Video Statistics

Using Video Reviews to Drive Customer Value

Don’t have the budget to start producing video content right now? Don’t worry: there is a way that you can start using video on your website for minimal investment. This new strategy for adopting video content helps drive customer lifetime value more than other types of video marketing, from tutorial videos to video blogs.

With video review media, your customers take on the role of producing the content. All you have to do is implement the feature, encourage customers to use it, and then find unique ways to engage with the video and harness its value to contribute to your brand development.

How do video reviews help drive customer lifetime value? Consider how modern consumers shop online. While impulse buys do happen, most customers want to learn about a product before they place an order. In other words, they want an opinion from someone who isn’t affiliated with the brand. As such, customer reviews have the power to eliminate customer reservations and drive purchases.

This point is important because it shows how much power a single video review has. A five-star video on one of your product pages is the perfect aid to persuade skeptics to click “Add to Cart.” By providing shoppers with a second opinion right there on your product page, a video review is inspiring the completion of orders that would not have happened otherwise.

For each of those orders, you have the original reviewer to thank. In other words, when you activate video reviews on your website, each person who decides to record a review immediately spikes his or her customer lifetime value to a high degree.

A Word on Brand Trust and Loyalty

It’s not just the reviewers who increase their customer lifetime value when video reviews come into play. By adding reviews to your website and giving your customers a platform through which they can express their opinions—either positive or negative—you increase the level of trust that shoppers have in your brand. Trust leads to brand loyalty which in turn leads to more frequent purchases, more impassioned referrals, and greater customer retention.

The customer retention power of video reviews is also felt in the way video review media drives brand-customer engagement.

When more customers are leaving reviews—either in video or text format—it’s easier to spot areas where your brand has room for improvement. Maybe there is a common complaint about a certain product, or perhaps customers feel your customer service could be stronger. By paying attention to review content, you can keep track of these weaknesses and resolve to fix them. You can also engage with the reviewers themselves, either to thank them for a review or to find a way to turn their negative experience into a positive one.

Video reviews are perfect for sharing on Facebook or Twitter—not just because the positive ones act as promotional content for your products, but also because it’s a way to put customers in the spotlight. Modern consumers love social media callouts, whether from their favorite brands or their favorite celebrities. Using video reviews to give those callouts brings people closer to your brand and ensures greater lifetime value.