Fast forward to today, and we see a significant change. We’ve entered the age of the active consumer, where brand perception lies largely in their hands. Businesses of all shapes and sizes must now contend with customers that are expressing their opinions openly, and have multiple channels through which to do so.
On top of that, they have higher expectations of the brands they deal with. So how does all of this apply to the world of online retail, and how can you successfully manage your reputation as an eCommerce brand?
Reputation management refers to the tools and techniques a business uses to influence how it is perceived. In the context of eCommerce, we’re talking more specifically about online reputation management, something 57% of businesses now see as more important to revenue than paid advertising.
But it’s not simply a case of collecting and publishing verified reviews on your store. As we mentioned earlier, today’s consumers are not shy about voicing their opinion (particularly if they have an axe to grind) and have no shortage of platforms to speak up on.
If you’re not actively engaged in these conversations, you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to a poor reputation.
A strong approach looks at the complete customer journey. It considers the channels used for brand discovery, where consumers look for trust signals, and where they prefer to make their purchases. It also focuses on engagement, loyalty, and brand advocacy.
Essentially, strategic online reputation management ensures your brand is seen in its most positive light at every digital touchpoint.
Reputation management shouldn’t be overly complex, nor should it be expensive. The key is having the right tools at your disposal and knowing how to leverage them, so here’s three effective techniques you can implement using one single solution - REVIEWS.io.
Brand perception has always been driven by word of mouth. As much as a business attempts to shape its own reputation, what its customers have to say about it has far greater influence on public opinion. In the digital age, that word of mouth comes by way of online reviews.
Most brands understand this, and already have review collection practices in place. The problem is the reviews they collect are typically confined to two channels - their own store, and their review provider profile.
Meanwhile, disgruntled customers are leaving negative feedback on other review sites - sites like Trustpilot and Facebook for example, where anyone can hop on and leave unsolicited comments.
The end result is a distorted reputation. Where customers have been invited to share feedback, the brand has a good star rating, but on sites it’s not actively managing, it’s not such a positive picture.
Not only does that block potential custom from these third party platforms, it also brings into question their reputation as a whole.
The Solution: REVIEWS.io's Reputation Management feature fixes the issue. Unique in the review space, it allows you to send a percentage of the customer feedback you collect to other sites - including Trustpilot, Google My Business, Etsy and Facebook.
You can switch this allocation up as and when needed to build a consistent trust score wherever customers may find you. And you can manage it all through a single user interface.
This rating is far more consistent with iStrap’s trust score on its own site, and on additional platforms like Trustpilot, Facebook and Google My Business, all of which it manages through REVIEWS.io.
“A fair and even collection split across all of the platforms we are on is integral for us, so the fact we can do this easily with Reviews.io is amazing. It’s also important for our customer service team that everything’s in one hub. It allows us to reply, action, follow up and internally flag every customer review.”
Of course, it’s not just traditional review sites where your reputation exists. Around half of Instagram users use the platform to discover new brands and products, and those stats are pretty much the same for TikTok.
When you consider that each has around 1 billion monthly active users, it makes sense to encourage positive conversations on these channels.
To do this, you need to be sharing a particular type of content - user generated short form video. This is what drives the most engagement, and is also an increasingly popular way for consumers to voice their opinion on a brand and its products.
Basically, we’re talking about video reviews. If you can generate more of these, you’re arming yourself with a library of authentic, sharable content that drives positive word of mouth.
The Solution: This is where REVIEWS.io’s Video First tool comes in. With this, you can create campaigns specifically geared towards video review collection.
The review request is sent as a video of your own creation. This presents itself as if you’re talking directly to the recipient, adding a personal touch that shows their opinion is valued. You can also include a tips video explaining what a strong video review looks like.
If the customer then wishes to do so, they’re directed to a custom collector page to film and submit their video review (they also have the option to leave a text review if they’d prefer).
For a really smart strategy, you can use REVIEWS.io Flow to automate Video First campaigns off the back of 5 star text reviews. If the customer in question has already shown brand advocacy, they’re far more likely to submit reputation building UGC.
One of the best ways to build your reputation is to create a community of loyal customers that are visibly invested in your brand.
This plays on the concept of social proof - in this instance meaning that if a large group of people value what you offer, there must be something there to value.
Building a community is a long term strategy (as is online reputation management), so don’t expect it to happen overnight. It takes a little time and effort - and some savvy marketing - but the good news is it's a cost effective approach with a high return.
Loyalty programmes have a big role to play here. By rewarding points for certain actions you can encourage behaviours that will help your community grow, and fuel your other reputation management efforts at the same time. For example:
Whilst most brands use loyalty programmes solely for retention, those that are looking to grow at scale should also consider them a key part of reputation management.
The Solution: The solution here is pretty clear - design and roll out an effective loyalty programme. For this we recommend Influence.io - REVIEWS.io’s proprietary loyalty solution.
The two platforms integrate seamlessly to form a powerful eCommerce toolkit.
No brand can afford to leave its reputation to chance. Whether you invite them to or not, your customers will talk about you online, and if you’re not actively encouraging positive word of mouth, you’ll struggle to drown out the negative.
Sure, there are other solutions available, but when it comes to complete online reputation management, REVIEWS.io really pushes the boundaries. And what’s more, it does so at a competitive price point.
Affordable and flexible, the features it offers enable a 360 approach - so you can easily monitor and manage your reputation everywhere.