For years we’ve been able to buy everything from jewellery to mountain bikes in a few simple clicks online. To stand out against other ecommerce sites, websites have had to innovate.
Customer ratings and reviews have grown in popularity and are set to stand the test of time. They’re great for visitors. And even more so for search engines. Let’s explore.
Ratings. Reviews. What’s the difference?
Ratings and reviews, although commonly grouped together, are different.
Ratings are scores given to items, usually shown as a star rating out of five.
Reviews are the other side of the coin. Users have the freedom to write down their individual thoughts and feelings about a product.
Both are very helpful to users and search engines.
They build trust with users and help increase conversions
Lots of users read reviews before they purchase a product. Genuine reviews help to build trust and can answer questions that might not have been covered by the product description. This reinforcement is incredibly powerful. Reading the thoughts of those who’ve actually bought and used the product is reassuring for customers.
Even bad reviews have been shown to increase conversions by 67%. Combined with ratings, reviews can make a real difference to a website’s conversion rate. They also aid a websites organic ranking.
Improve search rankings and click throughs
A major issue that plagues ecommerce websites is duplicate content (content that is very similar to one or more competitor websites). Typically, ecommerce sites take stock photos and descriptions from manufacturers and list them on their site. If the manufacturer sells to several websites, they all end up with the same content. This is where reviews can come in to play to work for you.
Reviews written by users are unique and add valuable content to your website. They help to counteract duplicate content and give pages a much better chance of being indexed by the search engines.
What’s more, Google has started to take reviews and display them directly on results pages. If a page is coded correctly, Google can read these ratings and use them – this usually leads to improved click through rates as your enhanced listing is far more eye catching for the user.
Ratings and reviews are the future
Visitors will come to expect to read what buyers have said about the products they’re interested in. Websites that don’t offer ratings and reviews will fall to the wayside against those who do.
No ecommerce site should allow this to happen. Customer ratings and reviews are easy to collect as part of the purchasing process; for example, a simple email a few weeks after the purchase can be used to prompt buyers to leave feedback.
With the trust they help to build and the search benefits they offer, they’re well worth investing the time and effort into achieving.