Christmas has come early - at least, for your shoppers. Black Friday is the day many consumers look to get stocked up on gifts for December 25th. And with demand high and the clock ticking, it's a day every eCommerce store should have scheduled into their marketing calendar. The challenge? Standing out in a sea of low prices, amazing offers and well-known retailers. It's time to get a little help from customer reviews.

The average customer will visit 3 stores before they make a purchase.

They'll be comparing discounts along with delivery and returns costs to find the best deal they possibly can.

Remember: your customers are smart. And during Black Friday especially, they'll be extremely sensitive to even the smallest price savings.

But what happens when customers find everthing even across the board? You lose your competitive edge, that's what.

So you need to have a backup plan. You need to have customer reviews at your disposal.

58% of consumers say that the star rating of a business is most important. In other words, if it's an even playing field but your star rating is 4.8 and your competitors 4 - or better still, they don't have one - you're very much likely to win over more consumers.

And even if your competitors do manage to pip you on price, it's unlikely that Black Friday shoppers will pick a pound saving over a history of excellent customer service and quality.

After all, Black Friday may mean deals, but it doesn't mean standards slip.

Here's how to make sure you have the upper hand when it comes to standing out with a stellar Star Rating this Black Friday.

Check in with your Review Strategy

Have you got a solid Customer Review Strategy in place? If not, we'd recommend getting one in check, pronto.

Every business' Customer Review Strategy will differ, but it should always contain clear guidelines around review collection, management and publishing.

You should be attempting to reply to your reviews as standard in order to showcase excellent customer service.

We also recommend sending reviewers to multiple third-party review sites to maintain a consistent platform across the web. You can do this easily using our Local Reviews feature.

And of course, it's essential - especially for pipping your competition to the post during Black Friday - to collect with a Google Licensed Partner, such as Reviews.io, so you can obtain Google Seller Ratings during one of the busiest, yearly online periods for eCommerce.

<Check out your competition

You may be keeping tabs on your competitors pricing and discounting tactics on the run up to Black Friday, but what are their customer reviews saying?

Our Competitor Analysis feature gives you all the tools you need to get a rounded impression of your competitors performance. We aggregate more review data than any other platform to give you amazing insight into your customer's reputation.

Identifying both strengths and pain points now will give you plenty of time to get perfect scores across the board come Black Friday and knock your competition out of the park.

Give your reviews a boost

review-booster.png

When Black Friday arrives, you want to have as many reviews at your disposal as possible. The goal here is to have enough customers singing your praises to form a choir.

This means putting in some leg work in the run-up. You'll want to do all you can to collect reviews for your eCommerce store.

With Reviews.io, this is easy. Our customisable, review collection email templates make on-brand communications a breeze, and you can even add things such as discount codes or vouchers to boost your collection conversion rate.

It's definitely worth experimenting with incentives in the run-up to Black Friday.

You may also want to accelerate your review count using our Review Booster. The Reviews.io Review Booster enables you to send review invitations to old customers as well as new ones.

The more reviews you can collect, the more persuasive and competitive your value proposition will be when the day arrives.

Ask more questions, show more data

data-collection.png

It's not just more reviews you should be collecting, it's more quality reviews.

As we've already discussed, the competition gets even tighter during Black Friday, so you want to embrace anything that will differentiate your eCommerce store.

That means showcasing as much positive information about the experience you provide as possible.

You can do this by vamping up your review collection to encourage things such as Photo Reviews and also asking additional questions.

Adding questions about delivery or quality to your review forms will give even more trust signals to your customers when it matters most. Additionally, the more information you collect, the more information we'll be able to show for your store on your Company Profile Page.

Merchant Metrics are based on the review data you collect and give potential customers valuable insights into your delivery performance, customer service, ease of returns and more.

They could just be your secret ingredient to success this Black Friday.

But don't just collect more written information. Start encouraging your customers to submit Photo Reviews now too and you'll be able to use them later on during the run-up to Black Friday in all sorts of marketing assets.

Trust us - there's nothing more compelling that user-generated content.

Fill out your Expert Answers

We've already covered the benefits of collecting and showcasing more information from your customers.

But it doesn't all have to be left down to them. Reviews.io have a clever 'Expert Answers' feature that provides a place for customers to ask questions, and for you, the company, to respond. You will be alerted every time a customer asks a question using the widget and can then reply either privately, or publically, thereby reducing friction for other customers later on.

Any extra information you can provide your customers is both a chance to offer extra trust signals, and also stand out amongst your competitors.

Try a new widget

Now, what to do with all that amazing feedback?

Put it on display in an amazing widget, of course!

And whilst it may be a little biased to say, Reviews.io really does have some great ways to get your reviews on all the most important customer touchpoints.

The key here is putting as much high-quality information out there as possible. It's why we'd recommend our Elements widget.

Elements is a multi-tabbed widget, enabling you to showcase multiple feeds of review data, including product reviews, company reviews and expert answers. You can also display Photo Reviews and pull in images from your Instagram account.

It provides customers with the ultimate review experience and will really help your brand stand out this Black Friday.

We'd encourage you to check out our Widgets Library and try something new this November!

Use your reviews on social media

social-media.png

Where are your customers hanging out on the run-up to Black Friday? The place they always hang out: social media.

In fact, social media was responsible for over $74.6m worth of sales over Thanksgiving and Black Friday in 2014.

Facebook and Instagram are the biggies here, but that's not to say you can't show your reviews a little love on Twitter too.

Incorporating customer reviews into your social media ads is a sure-fire way to make your content more compelling.

After all, whilst only 38% of consumers trust social media ads, 88% of users say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

So, adding UGC to your content across your social platforms on the run-up to Black Friday is a great way to build trust and stand out from the get-go.

We know how important customer reviews are for boosting your ad performance, which is what inspired us to make the iOS Customers Voice App. Our application enables all Reviews.io customers to login and use their company and product reviews to create highly-shareable social media content in a matter of minutes.

It's a great way to incorporate your customer reviews into your Black Friday social media marketing.

And best of all? It doesn't cost a penny.

Download the Customers Voice app today and start having a play!

Collaborate with an Influencer

influencer.png

One of the best ways to stand out during Black Friday is to get yourself a new USP, or, in this case, a VIP.

If you're yet to give Influencer Marketing a go, now's the time.

Not all customers were made equal, and the 'review' of a powerful Influencer could help your brand skyrocket to success over Black Friday.

The key to making your collaboration a hit? Authenticity.

It's something else our never-ending list of features can help you with. We launched Influence to help brands identify Influencers that had already shown an interest in their brand. These are people with large followings that have already shopped with you, left you a review or mentioned you online.

Unlike traditional Influencer Marketin - which is often heavily geared towards follower count - our solution helps form authentic collaborations between brands and Influencers that understand one another.

An authentic sponsored post from an Influencer with thousands of loyal followers could be just what you need to make this Black Friday your best yet.

Plus, it's completely unreplicable by your competitors.

In Summary

Black Friday will have been and gone before you know it, so you'd better get planning. Never underestimate the power of your customer reviews - they could be one of the only ways of standing out in a sea of tough competition this November!

Not yet collecting reviews or want some help with your Customer Review Strategy on the lead up to Black Friday? Reach out to one of our advisors today. We'll help you make it a hit.