Word-of-mouth is a retailer’s most powerful selling tool.
Depending on your sources, 70% to 90% of us trust word-of-mouth recommendations, even from people we don’t know. While only 10% to 20% of us trust a company’s advertising and sales messages.
Word-of-mouth is the elusive payoff that marketers seek from social media marketing. It’s why Facebook is worth one-hundred and fifteen billion dollars – on just $12 billion in equity.
And it’s why many ecommerce marketers add customer text review apps to their websites.
Online Text Reviews
Despite some ecommerce retailers’ reluctance to use online reviews, for fear of a bad one, giving your customers the opportunity tell you and the world what they thought of your product has major benefits:
- Word-of-Mouth – reviews are pure word-of-mouth advertising
- Conversion Rates – According to the e-tailing group, 37% of ecommerce retailers report an increase in conversion rates after adding customer reviews to their sites
- SEO – Content is king in SEO and reviews mean more content
- Market Research – Your customers tell you what they like and don’t like
- Branding – Negative reviews give you an opportunity to address concerns and reinforce your brand
Text reviews have become the validation shoppers look for online to help them choose what to buy. The familiar yellow stars ratings system is now nearly ubiquitous on ecommerce product pages from Amazon to Zappos.
Regaining a Competitive Advantage
If there’s a downside to text reviews, it is their popularity. They are so universally used on ecommerce sites that, like product pictures, having them no longer offers the competitive advantage it did just a few years ago.
Instead, customer reviews really just avoid a competitive disadvantage.
Customer reviews are no longer enough of a competitive advantage. Online customers increasingly share their stories through images. It’s why image-based social media like Instagram and Pinterest have emerged. And why social media stalwarts like Facebook and Twitter have all become more visually oriented.
And they’re not just doing it because images are popular. Photos on Facebook generate 53% more Likes and 104% more comments.
Why do images increase engagement? We are visual people. 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual and our brains process images 60,000 times faster than they process text.
It all presents ecommerce marketers with an opportunity to regain the advantage they used tio get from user generated content (UGC) like text reviews.
And easier, faster consumption of information is just the first advantage of image-based UGC:
- Images Improve WOM – When's the last time a written review went viral? At least in a good way. Images are more often and easily shared, exponentially increasing the spread of your WOM.
- Even Better Conversions – While reviews help people make buying decisions, a user generated image of your product can actually be a call-to-action.
- Shoppers who interact with a user-generated image on a site convert at two to three times the rate of the average shopper
- Visual Website Optimizer considers adding your customers’ instagram images to your website the top ecommerce conversion trend of 2013
- Images Boost SEO – Ever googled something you were shopping for, like ‘red shoes’? Notice the preferential treatment Google gives images on the first page of search results.
- No Bad Images – We overwhelming share images of things we like.
- Images Sell – Pinterest users spend more than twice what Facebook users spend per transaction.