Christmas; one of the the most charitable, heart-felt and eagerly anticipated times of the year. Shoppers look for the best gifts for loved ones and businesses thrive, making the 25th a day to remember.
What better way to find the perfect present and make sure your business is at the top of the wish list, by having content-rich reviews at your fingertips?
For some, Christmas shopping can be the very definition of bliss; wrapping up warm with the crisp air pinching our cheeks as we make our way through stores and markets, browsing items that would make lovely stocking fillers. And for others it can be a mission that just needs to be completed, with an online store-to-store checklist regimentally checked off.
Either way, there will be shoppers-a-plenty, and it's not your average shopping season. With Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) opening the gates to holiday shopping, go ahead and deck the halls to make sure your business and your wonderful shoppers' Christmases truly live up to expectations.
The lead up to Christmas
Any savvy businesses will have a solid strategy in place during the holiday season, but if you're looking to reinforce and build upon those methods, we've got your Christmas plan all wrapped up.
Before jumping straight in, we need to appreciate the whole of Q4, and the best way to view the lead up, main event, and New Year is like a 3 course meal.
Many shoppers began their wish list in October, narrowing their shortlist by November; this is where you should've caught your shoppers eye. Although your customers will have been shopping around, the majority will have waited until the end of the month when Thanksgiving kicked off the 5 days of sales, encompassed by Black Friday & Cyber Monday.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday at the end of November pave the way for the shopping season, and should be viewed as the appetiser of the 3 course meal. You gave consumers a delicious taste of what you offer, and due to the huge savings you'll have expanded your customer base. However, appetisers aren't filling and right up until the 25th the shopping will continue; the main course.
(If you didn't take advantage of BFCM this year, all is not lost as there is still plenty of time before Christmas drive shoppers to your business. You can read our BFCM post here to get your strategy ready for next year!)
A main course should be appealing, leave us feeling satisfied, and be so good we'll want to come back again and try something else on the menu! This is exactly what you want to give your shoppers up to and during Christmas.
So how can you meet those expectations? Collecting and publishing reviews helps cement your appeal, enables shoppers to make valued purchase decisions, and overall leaves gift-givers and receivers over the moon to come back for more, and ultimately spread the good word.
But how? How can reviews be like a Swiss army knife? The best thing since sliced bread? The answer is simple: everyone benefits.
Everybody's Christmas is different. For some it may be the process of getting the house ready; finding the perfect tree and adding decorations. Or it might be preparing, eating and sleeping off Christmas lunch or dinner. For others, it's all about the gift-giving to see a loved ones' face light up in joy. Or it might be the journey itself, travelling across the country, abroad or half way across the world to be with friends and family.
As a business your aim is to please your customers at every step of their journey, offer fantastic services and products, and build your business to see your bottom line grow.
For our Christmas traditions to be possible, we all need to spend a little, and for your business to reach it goals, this is your time to shine. And what shines better than some stars?
By asking customers for a review after they've made a purchase, or received an item from your bricks-and-mortar or online store, you have a peer-generated, information-rich handful of stars. Reviews highlight all your areas of excellence for you to build upon, as well as enable you to make improvements to do better.
Asking for reviews also speaks volumes to customers and shoppers alike. If you're asking you clearly care about what consumers have to say, and a review can make a one-time customer feel valued enough to be a repeat purchaser and a browser into a buyer - setting you in great stead for the upcoming year.
Review collection can be quick and simple, but Reviews.io makes it even easier with multiple ways to obtain your customer feedback. You can send customised review invitation emails, reach out to your customers whilst they're on the go via SMS, or ask your in-store or on-site customers there and then using our iOS In-store app.
But reviews aren't just for you to relish in, their real magic works when other shoppers read them.
Customer advice, thoughts and feelings about your business and products builds shopper confidence in what you offer, enables them to make wiser Christmas purchases and overall drives conversion. And with smarter purchases you'll see less returns in the New Year, meaning happier reviewers, less disappointment and time and money wasted all round.
You can showcase your reviews and review ratings using our extensive range of badges and widgets or API feature, which simply means you can add reviews to your site easily, in elegant and non-invasive ways, or do it your way entirely.
Our badges and widgets are also responsive and rich result-friendly, so shoppers can see that feedback with a tap and a swipe, and more importantly those stars alongside results in the listings.
Stars and seller ratings
Stars in natural SERPs are like baubles on a Christmas tree. In a mass of pine needles, or in this case result pages, they catch your eye over listings with nothing to their name. During the festive period, shoppers will visit a more diverse range of shops, including yours, and if you expanded your customer base after BFCM as well, you can expect to see a huge boost in traffic.
Traffic is great, but tyre kickers aren't, and competition during the holiday season is tight. This is but one reason why your reviews and the resulting stars displayed in the SERPs puts you head and shoulders above other sellers. If shoppers see stars in an initial search, they know 3 things right off the bat:
1) They know that what you offer has been tried and tested 2) They'll get all the information they need within one click, and 3) That your business cares about what shoppers think
Not only that, but you can see those purchase-affirming stars in your paid ads too. Enhance Google Shopping listings by getting your product review stars alongside them, and with a Google Licensed review partner like Reviews.io, you can see your Seller Ratings in your Google Ads as well.
The run up to Christmas is one of the best times to collect reviews. This is when you'll have the greatest influx of sales, and therefore the greatest number of customers, giving you a fantastic review injection. 73% of consumers form an opinion by reading up to six reviews - so it doesn't take much - but for each product, it's a goal to work toward. These reviews can then instantly be applied to your products, helping to entice even more customers.
The same principle applies for your Seller Ratings. Google's threshold for Seller Ratings is 100 reviews in a rolling 12 month period, for each country that your business operates in. Therefore, collecting reviews during one of the busiest shopping times of the year means you'll soon reach that target, making your business stand out in the crowd.
Seeing the year in
Your great deals and offers in November were the appetiser, setting yourself in good stead for Christmas shopping in December is the main course, so what is the sweet at the end? The indulgent, well-earned treat? The final step in your strategy is to acknowledge gains and pain points, assess your reputation as a seller and determine business growth in the New Year.
Once again, the final part of the 3 course meal, the dessert, is facilitated by your reviews. Now is the time to appraise all that you've done, reinforce your successes by listening to the people that nurture your business and improve areas of weakness, to ultimately make your business the best it can be to do even better for the year ahead. A satisfying finale.
Reviews.io not only enables you to view your reviews from one streamlined dashboard, but with Insights you can determine customer sentiments ranging from customer service through to store ease of use, and with our upcoming Competitor Analysis feature you can benchmark against your competition, giving you the inside scoop to stay on top.
Give your shoppers everything they wish for and more this Christmas by enabling your customer voices to sing out like a fanfare across your website, and in turn receive even more glowing feedback to continually grow your business.
Help that shopper looking for a non-malting pine tree choose the right one for their home; offer your top-rated cookbooks to make sure the turkey comes out golden; advertise your holiday train fares or flights in good time leaving no-one caught short; but most importantly, make your customers smile with great service, even better products and an abundance of feedback to make them see stars from start to finish!
For more advice on how to prepare for the season, visit our blog. Alternatively, talk to a member of the team today and we'll get you well on your way to a smarter business strategy using reviews.