Letting Your Customers Drive Sales with Their Reviews

Neal Creighton

With the holidays swiftly approaching, there’s no doubt you’re gearing up for a season riddled with uncertain sales and a fight for the last disposable dollar to keep the business in the black, and keep the red for holiday decorations only. In early estimates for the holiday season, Global Hunter Securities predicts anywhere from a one percent increase to a one percent decrease in sales when compared to 2008.

There certainly are numerous strategies to help carry the business through the season, like hiring support for customer service and offering promotional discounts and extended hours. But with the limited time left for preparations, you should consider adding product reviews to your Web site as an additional low-cost option to drive organic customer feedback and endorsement, not to mention boost SEO for your company and product offerings.

Not only will your business reap rewards for proactively seeking feedback to products and services rendered, but your customers are looking for it and will appreciate the candid sharing as well. According to research by Deloitte & Touche, more than eight out of ten (82 percent) consumers who read reviews said their purchasing decisions have been directly influenced by those reviews.

When launching product reviews for your business, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Be open to the feedback and utilize it: Not every piece of feedback is going to earn you a stellar rating, but there is an interesting and useful take to not-so-perfect feedback. Having these reviews not only provides your business credibility from a third-party customer, but also the opportunity to make improvements with the products or services based on feedback. After all, what business is perfect?
  2. Trust your products and let them return the favor: As a business owner, it’s only instinct to stand by the products and services you offer. While it may be uncomfortable to give customers the power to provide carte blanche feedback on your offerings, be confident that your products and services will do the business justice and generate more sales through reviews and referrals.
  3. Showcase and support your goods: Highlight your customer feedback by quoting the feedback throughout the Web site (where appropriate) or in promotional campaigns (e-mail, direct mail and newsletters, etc.) you develop throughout the year.

Sprinkler Warehouse (Disclosure: this is a RatePoint customer), one of the largest online retailer of lawn sprinkler system and irrigation parts & supplies, recently increased sales by more than 26 percent by implementing product reviews. Within 48 hours of launching and proactively soliciting product reviews feedback from its current customer base, Sprinkler Warehouse received more than 500 product reviews on its Web site.

Business owners shouldn’t be afraid of feedback, but rather use it in a proactive and productive way. In a recent study by RatePoint, small business owners found reviews are six times as likely to impact a business positively as negatively. Twenty-four percent of small businesses say an online review has had a positive impact while only four percent of SMBs reported a negative business impact from an online review.

Neal Creighton, co-founder and CEO of RatePoint
Copyright 2009. All Rights Reserved.

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