Bereft of the opportunity to meet you, form a brief relationship with your business or even touch the product, up to 90 percent of online buyers rely on ratings to help them decide whether to purchase or not.
Most sellers cannot influence the quality of the product they sell; they are at the mercy of manufacturers. And so their influence is limited to price and reputation.
Reputation scores vary from those that exist on ratings-only sites, such as Trustpilot and Google reviews, to those that more obviously influence the order in which your products are listed, like eBay or Amazon seller ratings.
While many sellers will watch competitor pricing, and some use sophisticated repricing tools to change their pricing, most sellers are remarkably passive when it comes to managing their reputation. They sit and wait for those increasingly time-poor customers to visit their site, or whatever platform they purchased from, and enter a rating.
But they can—and should—ask for reviews from their customers. Why? Just like a five-star hotel compared to a three-star option, higher ratings make for higher prices.
In the example below, two Amazon sellers are shown with the same product.
Notice how Amazon has listed the more expensive £13.81 price ahead of the cheaper £12.70 price? The products are identical so surely the cheaper price will always win, yes? No.
In our second example (below), the two sellers have the similar ratings, but Amazon has chosen to list the one with the greater number of ratings at the top.
Three pieces of data—price, ratings and number of ratings—all contributing to the listing order.
Amazon order levels are in the region of 1 million per day. That’s a whole lot of data to analyze. And their analysis, motivated solely by the desire to sell—and hence make more profit for Amazon—has lead them display product in the order shown. Their algorithm is trying to replicate the emotions a buyer goes through in selecting from whom to purchase and to beat them to the punch—putting the product most likely to sell right there in position A.
And while different rating sites and platforms have different algorithms, it is clear that the greater the number of positive reviews, the higher the likelihood of completing a sale.
So, I just write to all my customers and ask? Right?
You could. Most of the platforms provide a method to contact your previous client to solicit a review. And from your own site, you might use an email tool to write to all customers asking them to hit Trustpilot for a quick review.
This, however, takes time. And while it might well increase the quantity of reviews on your product, imagine what could be achieved if you focused your attention on growing your five-star ratings.
Remember, seller ratings are just that—seller ratings. They are not meant to be a rating of the product, just a rating of how well the order was processed and on how you delivered on your promise as a seller. Did you deliver the right product, at the price, in the right time frame?
To blindly contact every customer you sell to every week has a number of weaknesses:
- Even with some process automation, it can still take a lot of time.
- Some of your product mix may include products that are complex to set up or use and so you are likely to have a number of people who consider the product you sell rather than your service.
- You may suffer negative reviews when something beyond your control has delayed delivery.
To achieve the best results, we would target the well-served customers who bought products with minimal complexity.
Try it for yourself. For the next week, spend one hour of every day sending well-worded review invitations to buyers of simple products to whom you delivered on time. You’ll be tired but amazed. Typically 15 percent of these customers will, happy with their recent purchase, take a moment to put a positive review online. You’ll see a clear uptick in review count and an uptick in the score given.
Manual processing of these invites is possible, but you won’t notice an improvement in sales until you have a significant number of positive reviews. To that end, you need a tool that can filter through sales and send target emails.
xSellco’s feedback software was built to solve this problem. Priced from $79 per month and designed to work with all your Amazon and eBay channels, as well as Magento and Shopify, it can deliver thousands of platform-compliant review requests to your customers every month by specifically targeting buyers of certain products. In addition, it can exclude those with whom you’ve had support interaction, so you don’t risk further damage by asking an unhappy customer for a review.