That said, not all reviews were created equal, and to truly understand the impact they have, we need to understand how they differ from each other, and which types of review hold the greatest power over our decisions.
Written feedback sits at the top of the review impact funnel and is the most popular, but least persuasive type of review. Text reviews are the foundation of any good campaign, but they do have a downside in that they can be easily faked or manipulated. This raises questions around credibility and, as a result, text reviews can lack those important trust signals sought out by consumers.
Of course, text reviews can vary in themselves and some hold more sway than others. Written feedback accompanied by a photo or video, or left by a person of influence, is far more powerful than a standalone text review.
A picture paints a thousand words, as does a photo review. Images add substance to written reviews, acting as proof of ownership and leaving potential buyers in no doubt as to the validity of the customer feedback.
Photo reviews have been used to great effect for some time and drove the surge in authentic user-generated content before the all powerful medium of video became widely accessible.
Video takes review content to the next level. Far from offering a mere opinion, this form of UGC sparks emotion and allows consumers to share in an experience. Ultimately, video brings products to life in a way no other review type can.
Historically, online stores have lacked the ability to demonstrate the tangibility of a product, unlike physical stores that are able to offer hands-on demonstrations. Video reviews have solved this dilemma and actually place online stores ahead of their offline counterparts. Digital retailers now have the upper hand by being able to show a variety of experiences and highlight the emotional impact their products bring.
Influencer reviews are a bit of a mixed bag. As consumers, we’re aware that influencers are generally sponsored, and this begs the issue of true credibility. However, we’re still highly susceptible to the weight a well-known name offers a brand. And since we continue to follow those we admire, the impact of influencer reviews prevails.
What’s more, the increasing popularity of video reviews is likely to result in the rise of ‘mini influencers’ – everyday consumers with no affiliation to a particular brand. This new wave of independent influencers is likely to be far more credible than those we know today.
Regardless of what form they come in - be it written feedback, text attached to an image, reviews posted as video content, or from a buyer with a significant following - negative reviews should always be addressed.
It’s important to remember that they’re not the end of the world. In fact, handled right, they too can have a positive impact on purchase decisions. If potential buyers see you are responsive to complaints, you’ll gain additional trust in your standards of customer service.
When it comes to how to handle negative reviews, do so quickly, politely and with a suggested resolution that meets the customer’s needs.
You can also minimise negative feedback by taking a considered approach with your review requests. Avoid bad reviews by including support options and clear customer service tools in your invitation template – and be sure to ask for reviews at the right time.
A well timed review invitation should consider delivery, the nature of the order in question, and how long the customer needs to develop a well informed opinion on the product or service.
For your reviews to have the greatest impact on purchase decisions, they need to be displayed to full effect.
Place your reviews at the point of purchase with widgets embedded on your website. You can choose from multiple widget designs with REVIEWS.io – each offering a dynamic way to showcase customer feedback in real-time.
Keep the momentum of positive reviews going by turning them into eye-catching images or videos to share on your social platforms and other digital assets. Our social proof feature allows you to do this quickly without any additional editing software.
Lastly, be sure to respond to reviews, regardless of their sentiment. And in the case of negative reviews, public acknowledgement is a must. The REVIEWS.io response tool allows you to publish review replies that show potential buyers you’re engaged with customers and responsive to consumer opinion.
It should be clear by now that customer feedback has a major impact on purchase decisions, so if you’re not collecting reviews, you’re missing out on valuable marketing material.
It should also be clear that certain types of review are more impactful than others. To really ramp up your review collection, take the time to understand how to use video reviews to promote a product or service, and start requesting them to strengthen your campaign.
The key to it all is balance. It might be tempting to focus solely on influencers, but in doing so you potentially limit your reviews, and those you do have will appear heavily sponsored and lacking authenticity.
Instead, aim for a combination of text, photo and video reviews that offer detailed written content, trustworthy images and powerful footage that shows feedback through experience.