When it comes to committing to an online purchase, do reviews influence buyers?
Think about it. When purchasing a new product, which do you implicitly trust more: the sales-pitch copy found on a product’s landing page or the customer reviews of the product? During the buyer’s journey, people consistently consult reviews and testimonials to see if they trust the product, service, and seller.
Reviews are one of the most valuable informational sources used by buyers to inform their purchase decisions. Though your business may offer a variety of useful content, customers still rely on personal experiences to learn more about your brand and products. And a review is just that: an honest reflection of a customer’s experience with your products and brand.
Objectivity & Authenticity
Customers don’t want to hear how great your products are just from your company alone—they also want to hear from real people who have used your products. Reviews from verified customers and reviews without your business’s marketing buzzwords secure the buyer’s trust. Verified, authentic reviews allow your potential customers to get a sense of how your products or services perform and how your business treats its customers.
Though customer reviews may be featured on your website or social media, they are viewed as objective information from an outside source. Why? Because they are coming from people who are unaffiliated with your business. Most importantly, they are coming from people who were previously in the same position as the potential buyers reading reviews. Consequently, potential buyers can connect and trust these unofficial ambassadors of your brand.
Customer reviews also serve to validate your potential customer’s perception of your products and brand. For example, a buyer may view your website and immediately feel your products are high quality based off of the first-rate website design, copy, or product images. Once the potential buyer reads positive reviews on the brand, their initial reaction to your brand is socially validated. Why is this important? Because this potential buyer now immediately becomes a part of a community based around the love of your business. This sense of social belonging is incredibly strong and effective in triggering purchases and brand loyalty.
Using Reviews during the Buyer’s Journey
As more and more content becomes available online, it can be difficult for buyers to determine what’s relevant and needed to make important purchase decisions. Though customer reviews are usually short and simple, these candid summaries of your brand and products can provide just as much informational insight as a long-form blog or guide. As a result, customer reviews and testimonials can be used as every stage of the buyer’s journey (awareness, consideration, and decision).
In the awareness stage, a person becomes aware of a problem or need and look for answers, resources, research data, opinions, and insight. Reviews and testimonials that detail how a product or service solved the customer’s problem or need are particularly useful in the awareness stage because it helps the buyer understand their problem more and it alerts them to a potential solution.
Conversely, the customer may start their buyer’s journey with a certain type of product or service already in mind. As a result, the customer will search for the product, generally without any awareness of existing brands that may meet their needs. Businesses with reviews on their products will show up in the search results.
Consequently, your potential customer will lean toward products with reviews rather than products with no reviews. These product reviews will then jumpstart the buyer’s journey specifically with your brand. Generally, customers are not aware of the brands they are interested in until the decision stage. But customer reviews can jumpstart their awareness of your brand. Potential customers then may go to your brand’s website, product landing pages, or your social media.
Buyers using reviews during evaluation want an efficient way to find specific details about how a product works in different situations. Reviews can also help them compare the strengths and weaknesses of products on their shortlist and gather important surface information.
Customer reviews are perhaps the most important during the decision stage of the buyer’s journey because they have the potential to “seal the deal” for both buyer and seller. At this stage, the buyer is committed to making a purchase, but they are uncertain where from. If customers are looking at an unknown brand or an expensive product, they are even more likely to assess customer reviews before purchasing. In this stage, customers want to be certain of the product quality and the brand experience.
Does Your Business Have a Customer Review Strategy?
Is your business ready to benefit from customer-generated content like reviews and testimonials? Customer reviews have a powerful impact on your brand and your success—we’ll help you put a review strategy in place that increases the participation of your current customers and secures new ones.
Contact Sun Sign Designs today for a free strategy session!