Did you know that an online customer is more likely to trust a product review from another customer than she is to trust a brand’s written product description? If both of those elements appear on every one of your online product pages, the review is more likely to inspire a sale than the branded content.
Need proof? Have a look at this Nielsen report from 2012. The survey, which gathered responses from 28,000 different people around the world, found that 70% of respondents trusted online reviews. Only 58% said that they trusted messages on brand websites and only half trusted email marketing efforts. Trust statistics were even worse for other forms of brand-to-customer communication like search engine ads, banner ads, and social media ads.
Building Your Trust Back Up Again
The message that Nielsen’s statistics sends is that customers just don’t trust brands anymore. Whether because of the prevalence of fraud on the internet or the fact that many brands have abused the power of targeted advertising, most companies are facing an uphill battle when it comes to winning over customers.
The good news is that there is a way for your brand to build that trust back up again. The key lies in embracing the thing that customers actually do trust: reviews.
Some companies have already realized this fact but have taken the wrong message from it. The result is the trend of brands “buying” positive reviews for their business on sites like Yelp, e-commerce marketplaces like Amazon.com, and even on their own product pages. Customers are smart enough to spot fake reviews. Getting caught in the act of buying fake reviews will do more damage to your brand’s trust levels than a few positive reviews (real or fake) will be able to rectify.
So how can you take advantage of customer reviews without paying for them? The answer is just to let them happen. Don’t try to control the narrative; don’t weed out all the negative reviews and only post the positive ones; and don’t censor. Just implement the option for customer reviews on your brand’s e-commerce product pages and see for yourself how the maneuver benefits your trust levels.
The Power of Customer Reviews
Why are customer reviews so powerful? And how can the trust that customers have for reviews be translated into trust for your brand?
The power of customer reviews comes from the fact that customers aren’t sure what they can trust from brands. Your business may well have a commitment to transparency and disclosure. However, many customers still think that any communication they receive from a brand—be it a TV commercial or a piece of web copy—needs to be taken with a grain of salt. After all, brands are going to portray their own products and services positively because they have a vested interest in the success of those products and services.
Reviews are a refuge for these customers because they provide an unbiased third party opinion. Shoppers are willing to take the word of another customer—even a stranger—because they feel like that person is speaking from a position of impartiality. The reviewer doesn’t have a vested interested in the success of a brand’s product or service and therefore seems more likely to speak candidly.
By including video reviews on your own product pages, you will harness this trust in multiple ways. First, customers won’t have to go elsewhere to read impartial views on your product. They keep shoppers on your product pages, improving dwell rates and increasing the chances of a sale.
Second, customers will feel like they have more opportunity to make their voices heard. Barring customers from reviewing products on your e-commerce site feels like a way of silencing them. Giving your shoppers a platform through which to speak—and responding to their reviews—increases brand loyalty and trust.
Third, allowing any customer to say whatever he or she wants about a product creates an opportunity for both positive and negative reviews. You might be worried if and when negative reviews come in, but you shouldn’t be. Studies have shown that customers actually trust positive reviews more when they are featured side-by-side with negative reviews, simply because they feel more genuine. You can also respond to negative reviews and find ways to address the grievances of your dissatisfied customers. Not only does this system give you a way to turn a negative customer experience into a positive one, but it also lets other customers see that you are making an effort to fix a negative experience. Both factors improve customer trust.
Enable Video Reviews on Your E-Commerce Site Today
Text-based reviews are powerful and will bring you all of the benefits mentioned above, but video review media takes these benefits to a whole new level. Video reviews add more personality into the mix and forge emotional connections between the reviewer and your shoppers. They take all of the trust benefits of text reviews and amplify them.