And thanks to its partnerships with REVIEWS.io, it's an opportunity they grasped firmly with both hands.
Wave Spas was founded three years ago, along with parent company Wave Direct, with the goal of providing a first class leisure experience for all its customers through better value, better innovation and better service.
During lockdown, the company experienced an incredible 1600% increase in sales, an achievement Managing Director, Tom Jefferey, puts down to more than just a rise in demand. In Tom’s view, around 50% of that increase came from the exposure and credibility gained from authentic customer reviews.
REVIEWS.io Senior Developer, Rich Ball, caught up with Tom via video chat to find out what reviews mean to Wave Spas, and how they contribute to company growth.
A lot of other big brands that I follow - that I look to for inspiration - they were already using REVIEWS.io, so it was just a natural step to choose them.
The benefits of online reviews are many. For Wave Spas, the main advantage has, of course, been a boost in sales:
When we started growing our business I knew from day one that to give the business integrity, reviews were essential. People need that confidence. As soon as we started getting user generated content - pictures, videos, things like that - we definitely saw a sharp increase in sales.
Reviews are a unique marketing tool, in that they increase conversion rates whilst simultaneously reducing costs. Product ratings and stars in Google Ads have brought down Wave Spas ad spend, and they now have a marketing budget that runs at less than 2% of their overall business costs.
Tom has also seen a huge uptake in customers leaving video reviews on products, and told Rich just how beneficial this highly personal content has been:
I absolutely love it — It gives you a bit of inspiration about what kind of environments these hot tubs are going into, what kind of gardens they’re going into, and we can change the way we bring new products in for next year to more suit these environments. — It gives us an insight into our customers which we never normally would get.
Video reviews are great tools for product development. They help you understand exactly how your products are received, how they fit into customers' lives, and how you can improve them to meet consumer needs
They don't give a description. They capture a personal customer experience that's incredibly revealing - where they are, who they are with, what they are doing.
Video content is driving UGC for brands and is used as a powerful marketing asset. One that has real influence:
User generated content is definitely the future — It gives new customers confidence and gets existing customers involved in the brand which is what we want — We want to create a Wave community of people, almost brand ambassadors. And I feel that’s kind of the first stage to that happening.
Tom’s approach to reviews is so proactive that he now has a full time member of staff dealing with them, as well as customer feedback from other sources. COVID-19 has seen the Wave team working from home, ultimately resulting in a delay in response times.
Tom’s mission is to return to a 24 hour turnaround on customer enquiries, improve the buyer experience, and prevent any potential negative reviews:
The whole point of Wave Spas is it’s a fun enjoyable brand. Every time someone gets a hot tub and has a really good experience, they come out smiling. — It’s actually the dream product, so really we should only be getting positive reviews. And if there is an issue, we should be able to turn it round and turn something negative into a positive again.
Tom hopes to build on the success of the past few months and is looking for new ways to use reviews to further grow the business. In addition to Wave Direct, Wave Spas, and its US counterpart, Wave Tubs, he hopes to add more sites to the portfolio.
Working with a brand like Wave Spas has many benefits for us too. It helps us understand our own product better, and improve it for the end user.
Tom’s experience has given us some great ideas that we’ll be looking to implement in the future, like promoting more UGC with customer gallery widgets, and aiding purchase decisions with featured reviews that address commonly asked questions:
I think the future of REVIEWS.io is really positive. I think what we really need to do is constantly work on ways to give customers confidence in our products.
We agree. And since our ethos is develop for one, give to all, the features we introduce for Wave Spas will be available to everyone, at no extra cost.
One of the nicest things about these little Q&A zoom call sessions is we get to know why people came to us over other providers.
REVIEWS.io is a very open and transparent platform when you compare it against Trustpilot and see all the negativity that’s out there about it.
We’re not the biggest review company, we know this, so to compete we need to understand exactly what make our customers happy.
It just made us feel a little bit more comfortable moving to something which gives us a voice, it’s a lot easier to set up, it’s functional. It’s also good value for money in comparison to competitors. All those things combined meant that it was almost an easy choice.