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How to Manage Ecommerce Ratings and Reviews for Increased Trust and Sales?

Managing Ecommerce Ratings and Reviews

We all enjoy the comfort and convenience of online shopping. Who would give up the ease of finding what we need without leaving home? But sometimes, this convenience can lead to trouble. I found this out the hard way, but it taught me a valuable lesson.

I was after a popular mobile phone on big sites like Amazon and Flipkart. Unfortunately, it was either not available or not deliverable to my location. That’s when this lesser-known online store caught my attention

The site looked professional and had amazing deals. Though I was less familiar with it, the glowing customer feedback made me feel confident with trusting the site.

Successfully placed my order, filled in my payment details, and waited. Weeks passed, and my package never arrived. The customer service was abandoned too. It was a scam!

Let us walk through my experience, out of my eagerness to snag a good deal, I overlooked several red flags.

Why did I choose that new site? What made me trust those sites’ credibility despite being unfamiliar with them before?….
……
CUSTOMER REVIEWS!

The allure of positive reviews had clouded my judgment and got me to trust a fake site. Now, let’s take a different perception of these ratings and reviews.

Who are Reading Online Reviews?

Give it some thought. In my case, I was buying something from the site. Obviously, it’s the customer who reads the reviews. Now, who writes reviews? The same!

In the anecdote mentioned above, the scam online store didn’t collect reviews from real customers. Instead, the fraudulent site had convinced many like me, that those were real consumer reviews. And, this reminded me of something that Jeff Bezos of Amazon pointed out, If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.

Each and every review on product pages indeed functions as a modern form of word-of-mouth marketing. They play a crucial role in influencing potential customers’ decisions and shaping the reputation of an online business. According to recent statistics:

  • 92% of online consumers make purchasing decisions after reading online reviews including, google reviews, photo reviews, social media posts, and video reviews. (Source: BrightLocal)
  • 88% of consumers give importance to and trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. (Source: BrightLocal)
  • Businesses that maintain a 4-star rating or higher on review platforms see an increase in sales, with 94% stating this is true. (Source: ReviewTrackers)
  • 53% of online consumers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week. (Source: Social Media Today)

These statistics underscore the significant influence of ratings and reviews and their role in building trust and credibility for your online ecommerce.

Evolution of Online Reviews

How do you think we decide what to buy or where to go these days? We could not skip this question as buying is not just about asking friends anymore. We live in a world where ratings and reviews continue to shape our decisions more than ever.

From the early days of word-of-mouth to today’s social media influencers and detailed video reviews, you need to know how online reviews have evolved and why they matter so much now.

Word-of-Mouth Customer Feedback

Initially, potential buyers/customers shared their opinions on products and services face-to-face or through local networks. So, trust evolved out of personal connections and recommendations.

Whereas, today we share our opinions through online platforms such as social media posts and review websites. It’s like letting the whole world know what we think, instantly influencing others’ decisions.

Advent of Printed Media

Later with the advent of print media, the reviews in newspapers and magazines were seen as expert advice. Though they were detailed they only reached local readers and lacked interaction.

Now, we have online reviews that are read globally. We even have blogs and online articles that give us different perspectives, and reshape our product decisions.

Online Forums and Message Boards

The print media evolved into online forums where niche communities used to discuss specific topics and leave reviews anonymously.

These forums are still popular for detailed discussions. They have now become a part of bigger ecommerce websites and offer advice and customer reviews that help us decide what to buy.

E-commerce Platforms and Review Sites

Since the age of the internet and advancements, ecommerce platforms started growing, the Google Shopping websites display customer reviews that help with buying decisions. They were simple text-based opinions used to symbolize customer satisfaction.

Moreover, the search results provide you with varied sites like Yelp or Amazon, which have both positive and negative reviews combined, along with photos or videos to substantiate the potential buyers’ opinions. Today, ratings and reviews act as a bridge between customers and products, facilitating better decision-making, trust-building, and seamless Ecommerce navigation.

Social Media Influence

Coming to social media, it’s no longer a platform only for friends who share frequent updates. It is where influencers and friends easily manipulate what we buy. For example, Facebook though primarily not a C2C ecommerce marketplace allows individuals to list products for sale.

Users rate their experience with buyers or sellers and leave reviews. In most cases based on their posts, photos, and videos we try to decide what’s cool and worth trying.

Mobile and Real-Time Reviews

Mobile phones allowed us to type and send quick reviews via text or early apps. It was handy for sharing immediate thoughts.

Apps like Google Reviews collect customer reviews and give us instant feedback wherever we are these days. From the displayed customer reviews we can assume or understand what others think about a service or product right when we are in need of it and can make decisions on the go.

Video and Multimedia Reviews

Early online videos were like Telemarketing. We had regular folks showing products or services on platforms like YouTube. It used to be like a personal recommendation in most cases.

Today, video reviews have turned professional and detailed. We have dedicated channels and a separate stream of Influencers who create cool videos showing us how things work or why customers love something, they are not modifying the truth but, elegantly managing customer reviews to help us decide better.

Evolution of Ecommerce Ratings and Reviews

source: https://media.licdn.com

What Does This Evolution Say?

The evolution of reviews not only highlights the changing landscape of the review system but also reveals its profound psychological impact, with complexities emerging alongside its growth. Initially, in the print media era, reviews were primarily about sharing a user’s experience. While they helped attract users, their main purpose was to reflect personal opinions about products or services.

With the advent of the internet, reviews evolved into powerful tools, wielding double-edged swords. They could both authorize products by building trust with consumers and advertise them through positive word-of-mouth.

Technological advancements further integrated reviews into marketing strategies, allowing them to play a pivotal role, sometimes even acting as a devil’s advocate – potentially swaying consumer opinions through strategic manipulation.

As tech trends continued to evolve, reviews began to significantly shape online businesses. However, It was with the rise of this power came the caveat: the rise of fake reviews. This power has been exploited and used to undermine the very trust it was built upon.

This transition is both daunting and intriguing, prompting a deeper analysis of the underlying science behind the influence of ratings and reviews.

Why People Trust Online Reviews? The Science behind it

Now you’ll understand how we have navigated the vast landscape of products and services available at our fingertips from the beginning. And, there is one thing common among all the phases of evolution, we often turn to the experiences of other customers to guide our choices. But what is it about the valuable feedback? 

What makes ratings and reviews so influential? Why do we place so much trust in the words of strangers? To answer these questions let me delve into the psychology and social dynamics that drive our reliance on online reviews. keep reading to know the reasons behind their powerful impact.

Community Influence

Yes, humans are social animals and nowadays it would be apt to say A man is a social animal dependent on social media. We highly rely on the opinions of others to cross-check our decisions.

So, for us ratings and reviews seem to provide a sense of social proof by showing what others have experienced and this silently influences our own choices too. Let me take you back to my fake review experience again. So, I was ready to pay for the gadget as I felt safe.

And, I felt safe because so many others enjoyed it. The scam ecommerce website lured me because it looked as if the fake ecommerce store had excellent customer service and won many happy customers.

This means review in an ecommerce business offers more valuable information beyond what companies even advertise. They are the epitome of brand loyalty. Especially ecommerce product reviews provide us with a glimpse into the real-life experiences of others, help and at times manipulate us to make informed decisions.

Trustworthiness and Reliability

Trust me, you can relate to this! When was the last time you looked for a quicker way to accomplish some complex task? The answer would be ALWAYS. Yes, evolving tech trends have made us lethargic for sure. The tech advancements do influence us with the notion of “get it done with a click” and we skip the concept of checking for its authenticity.

Every one of you would accept this as you must have felt the same with AI and chatbots. Now, let me not deviate from the topic, similarly, reviews too act as mental shortcuts that help us navigate a complex world. Reviews act as a heuristic, providing us with a quick way to assess a product and convince us to trust the service’s trustworthiness without extensive research.

Now, let me take The Souled Store. Unlike some brands that heavily praise their own products, The Souled Store encourage customers and collect feedback from their customers regularly. This is then used for their marketing. Their marketing strategy is akin to the Dove ad campaigns, where real customers (though women entrepreneurs or celebrities they aren’t owners) share their stories and experiences with the products.

This affirms that we often perceive reviews from strangers as more objective than company marketing. We strongly believe that ecommerce stores’ marketing can be biased. And here, reviews are like unfiltered opinions, they shift to the shape of user-generated content and increase their perceived trustworthiness.

Emotional Connection

In the same souled store and Dove ads stated above, reviews create a sense of shared experience with the reviewer. And, customers are easily able to connect with their emotions and frustrations, making their opinions feel more relatable.

Reviews can validate our feelings. It is like a mirror. In my case choosing the Malicious site based on fake reviews, I had a negative experience, and when I started to see similar complaints, it reinforced my perception. Trust me it was comforting and reduced my feelings of what I went through.

This clearly shows that review has a greater impact on buyer decisions. All we need to do is find out how it impacts buyer decisions.

How Reviews and Ratings Affect Buying Decisions- The DED Phase

Understanding the science behind ratings and reviews is crucial, but knowing how they influence buyer decisions is equally important. So, take my recent experience as an example.

Discovery Stage

I needed to buy a mobile phone within my budget. So, I typed “best mobile phones under 35,000” and searched on online eCommerce stores.

From the search results, I sorted the options based on ratings and reviews, which helped narrow down my choices. 

Evaluation Stage

Once I had a shortlist, I looked for detailed reviews of the selected mobile phones. Websites dedicated to gadget reviews, like Gadget 360, or my regional review channels like Tech Boss, provided in-depth evaluations of these devices.

Decision Stage

Despite this thorough evaluation, I found myself still uncertain. To resolve this, I turned to the comments below the reviews. These comments often include additional insights on how well the reviewers have explained various aspects and whether others had positive experiences following their suggestions.

How many of you have similarly made purchases? The Discover, Evaluate, and Decide (DED) phase is heavily influenced by reviews. Reviews hold significant power in guiding buying decisions. Therefore, be smart and leverage them to build your online reputation effectively.

having understood the impact and importance of ecommerce reviews on your online business, the next step should be a shift in perception on how to build/ maintain a positive online reputation. You should make the best use of your reviews on your ecommerce site. You should harness the power of reviews to skyrocket your business’ reputation. And, the following video on the importance of product reviews validates my point.

Did you know?

Online reviews can indirectly boost your search engine rankings by building trust (more clicks) and providing these user-generated reviews are like fresh, keyword-rich content for search engines. While not a direct factor, customer testimonials, product ratings, video review, be it any form of feedback on a review site, is considered as an SEO superpower, especially for local businesses!

Building and Maintaining a Positive Online Reputation

If reviews are a powerhouse then how to be constructive with it? How to use it for the betterment of your online reputation? We all know building and maintaining a positive online reputation is crucial for your ecommerce business, and here’s how to get it done:

  1. Actively encourage your customers to leave reviews after their experience with your product or service.
  2. Respond to all reviews promptly, whether they are positive or negative. Thank customers for positive feedback and politely and professionally address negative reviews.
  3. Showcase positive reviews on your website, social media profiles, and marketing materials. This not only boosts your credibility but also encourages potential customers to trust your brand.
  4. Publicly address and resolve negative reviews whenever possible. This shows transparency and it is a proactive approach to customer service. Let the reviewer and other potential customers know how the issue was addressed and resolved.
  5. Letting your audience know how you use customer feedback to improve your products or services builds trust. This also shows that you value customer input in shaping your business.

In a nutshell, in the way of handling negative reviews lies the online reputation of the businesses. I can narrate a recent incident with Bajaj Finance to help you understand the value of managing negative reviews.

Handling Negative Reviews Constructively

First thing first, never get frustrated by negative reviews, here’s my experience that might change your perspective. Recently, on my EMI due date with Bajaj Finance, a well-known financing firm, I made sure there was enough balance in my account three days prior. However, to my dismay, the EMI wasn’t deducted. Concerned about my credit score, I took to their official Twitter account updated a negative review and also raised my issue.

Almost immediately, a customer support executive acknowledged my tweet and replied to my review, publicly assuring me that they would look into it. Within moments, I received an email link in my Twitter inbox to submit my request directly. Following this, the team promptly responded, confirming that my EMI would be auto-deducted within 3 to 4 days without any overdue charges.

Impressed by their swift resolution, I publicly thanked them on the same X page where I posted my negative review. Now, this is a prime example of how effectively handling a negative review can turn it into a positive experience.

Managing Negative Reviews

Now, how did they navigate the negative effectively, let’s learn,

  • Acknowledge the Review. The Staff acknowledged the review and also let me know that he had seen my feedback.
  • Analyze the Review. The official tried to understand what my issue was and he learnt the situation from my review.
  • Respond Publicly. On the same social media platform, he replied with a caring message to address my concern.
  • Respond Privately (if needed). He offered to talk privately and provided the link to connect with the team and sort things out.
  • Check for Fake Reviews or Legal Issues. And, he did make sure the review was genuine before sharing the link to get in touch with the team. The official asked for certain credentials like DOB and loan number to cross-verify.

As promised the issue was resolved and, I thanked the team publicly in the social media forum. So, what better example could have helped you understand the art of converting negative feedback into positive reviews?

Turning Negative Reviews into Opportunities

Bonus Tip:

Don’t fear negative reviews! Addressing reviews regularly, promptly, and professionally shows your care for your potential customers’ experience. Additionally, highly satisfied reviews with details and relevant keywords are seen as valuable insights than short, generic ones.

So, answer questions of your customers, encourage more ratings and reviews, and manage them effectively. This can improve your search visibility and signal search engines to attract more customers to your online store.

Now, that I’ve covered all nooks and crannies of the topic, you have enough information and facts on ratings and reviews and their importance. It is evident that they are social proof with the ultimate power to decide the destiny of your e-commerce business, so all that you need to know now is online review management.

How to Utilize Ratings and Reviews for Ecommerce Growth?

If you’ve considered deploying ecommerce review tools, you’re on the right track. You would even have surfed many popular review software. However, you would still wish to have a customized review tool that fits your business model. Just as your ecommerce business has a dedicated reviews page, its good to have a review management system (RMS) that meets your needs to manage the unlimited reviews and maximize its potential.

Why a Review Management System is Essential?

An online review management software helps you handle those ratings and reviews collected effortlessly with advanced technology. It streamlines the process of collecting feedback, answering queries, addressing issues, and enhancing your online reputation. And, in turn, helps to improve customer satisfaction. So, there are two main approaches to review management:

Standard Review Management Software

As stated earlier there are popular RMS. These off-the-shelf solutions provide you with a variety of review features at a set cost. Software like Birdeye, Trustpilot, Yotpo, etc provide an excellent balance between affordability and functionality and prove to be a great choice for many ecommerce businesses.

Customized Review Management Software

This allows you to tailor the system to your specific needs, ensuring that every aspect of your review process aligns perfectly with your goal of managing your customer reviews. It also allows you to optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of your review management, setting the stage for smooth functionality. Let me share with you my idea of a customized RMS for effective review management

Your Customized Review Management Software

Your customized review management software must carry out a lot more tasks than just handling ratings and reviews. Only then it could help you with having more return customers and a loyal consumer base. Here is how the RMS should work.

Step1- Collect Reviews

Initially, you need to send users the review requests via email or through a dedicated review platform. Then employ the review management software to collect the reviews from mail and the dedicated platform.

Step2- Segregating Reviews

The RMS should help you sort more reviews by sentiment (positive, negative, neutral) to understand customer feedback better. This categorizing is possible with the help of ecommerce personalization strategies, Ai and machine learning integration.

With this integration, the RMS will sort reviews as positive, negative, and neutral.
For reviews that have both positive and negative nuanced approaches to addressing concerns first and being grateful for the compliments later would help

Step3- Publishing Positive Reviews

In case of positive reviews the software’s dashboard should allow you to share positive reviews on your social media platforms, to boost your brand’s image. You can display your ratings and reviews regularly to help to boost your online reputation.

Step4- Handling Negative Reviews

Whereas in case of a negative review, your RMS must be programmed to send a prompt and professional response. The response should hold the link to let your users connect with the team to resolve the issue. Continuous follow-up is crucial until the issue gets resolved.

Step5- Converting Negative Reviews

Once a negative review or a concern gets marked as resolved by the team the RMS should promptly request a new rating from the reviewer. This way your negative reviews get turned into positive ones.

 Customized Ecommerce Ratings and Reviews Management Software

Step6- The Impact on Your Business

When this RMS gets deployed you will have many satisfied customers by effectively managing reviews, improving your online reputation, streamlining operations, and gaining valuable customer insights. This approach reduces stress and channels the power of ecommerce ratings and reviews to elevate your online business.

Step7- Security Considerations

Keep in mind that, any software that handles customer data needs to have top-notch security measures. You need to customize an RMS that prioritizes data security.

Only by adopting a review management system that fits your budget and needs, you can leverage customer feedback effectively and propel your ecommerce business forward.

However, developing such custom software is generally more expensive and time-consuming. The best approach often lies in finding an affordable and accurate developer squad. Only such a profound team will possess the expertise to consider your budget and specific needs before deciding between a standard or custom system.

Why Appkodes for Your Customized Review Management Software?

Appkodes continues to be the premier choice for developing customized review management software. Renowned for its expertise and a proven record of over 15 years of experience and has successfully delivered more than 2000 SaaS projects.

Who else could ensure your business receives a tailored solution that meets its specific needs? Read more to know why choosing Appkodes for your customized review management software is the best decision:

  • Appkodes has a proven track record of empowering over 280 global clients with transformative solutions, completing more than 35 successful enterprise projects. This track record highlights our ability to deliver high-quality, effective software solutions.
  • Our ecommerce app development services are focused on maximizing usability, accessibility, and user engagement. We can assure you of keeping your customized review management software intuitive and effective.
  • We are experts in building resource-efficient apps that guarantee optimal performance and a seamless user experience.
  • Our Dev-squad never compromises with security measures. we prioritize top-tier security to safeguard sensitive user data including secure coding and encryption techniques. Our solutions are built to scale alongside your business’s growth.
  • You have an array of options to choose from. Be it our flexible partnership models such as fixed-price options, direct access to our skilled developers, or onsite development for enhanced project understanding and efficiency.
  • With a global presence in Indonesia, Dubai, Vietnam, and Sharjah, our team makes real-time communication and collaboration possible. We make sure that your project receives the attention and expertise it deserves.

You may either be looking to enhance your online reputation through customized review management software or you may need a comprehensive enterprise mobile app solution, there could be no better-trusted partner than Appkodes.

Schedule a meeting today! Awaiting to customize your review management software and help you handle your company reviews like a pro!

Starting as an iOS developer and moving up to lead a mobile team at a startup, I've expanded my expertise into Project Management, DevOps and eventually becoming a COO in the IT sector. As a COO, I excel in team leadership, technical advice, and managing complex business functions, focusing on combining technology and operations to drive growth. I'm keen to connect for collaborations or to exchange insights in the tech world!

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