Engaging your customers Article 5: Use moderated ratings and reviews and e-mail to a friend functionality

In this fifth article in our series on how to engage online customers, we will talk about allowing ratings and reviews on your site to enable your customer to post valuable content directly on your product detail pages.

They will be able to provide priceless feedback that might facilitate the purchase decision of other potential customers.  The ratings and reviews functionality can be used differently depending on the type of products you sell. For example the industrial floor manufacturer sells paints, and repairs and maintenance products, for this reason they renamed the ‘Review’ feature to ‘Tips’.  Their expert sales persons are able to provide valuable product tips on how and where to use a specific product. Moreover their customers are able to help other potential clients by providing valuable ‘How to use instructions’ for products that they actually used.

Amazon’s review feature is really popular amongst its clients. It also goes a step further by sorting its reviews by ‘most helpful’ instead of by date and it is the visitors themselves that decide which reviews they found helpful.

This feature is so important in B2C eCommerce that major eCommerce platforms such as Magento offer reviews and ratings in their out of the box solution. Magento also provides reports that can provide you with information such as the ‘Most reviewed products’ or the customers that posted the highest number of reviews.

The concept is that of encouraging your customers to provide valuable content that may help other customers to make a purchase decision and to provide unique product content that may also drive Search engine traffic.

Do not forget that one of the main features that improve search engine ranking is that of having unique and valuable content. Moreover your past customers’ opinion is valued more than any traditional marketing method. (Fortune3.com, Census.gov)

To encourage clients to review your products you can offer incentives to those customers that offer the most valuable tip or if you use Magento you can use its Reviews report to identify the customers with the highest number of reviews and then offer vouchers, loyalty points or discounts to those customers.

Tip: It is important to moderate all the reviews that are posted on your site otherwise you might risk being spammed. Major eCommerce tools such as Magento provide the ability to read the reviews prior to posting them to the site.

Use email to a friend functionality

In today’s social environment your customers might want to ask for their friends’, managers’ or colleagues’ opinion prior to making a purchase decision. Therefore having an  ‘email to a friend’ feature directly on the product detail pages of your site will allow them to do that from your site. It is true that if this feature was missing from your customers might opt to copy the link and send it to their friends using their own Gmail, or personal mailbox.  However do not forget that we must keep distractions to a minimum, and help the visitors to keep focused on the site. If they open their own personal emails they might get  distracted by other emails or adverts and we may risk losing the attention from our site.

Popular eCommerce tools such as Magento have ‘email to a friend’ functionalities out of the box so you will be able to make use of this functionality without any additional cost.