Ecommerce is a never-ending game between your brand and your customers. In a highly competitive market, it is not enough to supply goods and services, with expectations of high revenues. Businesses need to conduct ongoing market research to ensure that their product quality satisfies the needs of their target audience, and seek ways to improve it.
Collecting and analyzing customer reviews is the easiest way to determine the needs of your customers. Often, product feedback is posted beneath product descriptions on branded websites, by customers who have already purchased the product and want to share their impressions. Also, companies can receive private feedback via special electronic forms.
Apart from branded online stores, reviews are often posted on independent business review sites
. These are public platforms tailored to online communities, focused on certain products and services. By utilizing this ecommerce environment, businesses can get a realistic picture of what people think about them, and answer frequently asked questions related to their products.
The Value of Reviews for Businesses
You can have a top-notch website and launch a large-scale promotional campaign, but customers may still perceive your advertising efforts to be artificial, a well-thought-out smoke-and-mirrors act that hides the drawbacks of your brand and dazzles customers with exaggerated advantages.
On business review websites, customers understand that nobody is there to deceive them into parting with their hard-earned cash. They communicate with other consumers to obtain fair and objective evaluations of certain products.
For businesses, customers can be the best advertising consultants. Their input is free of charge, and they give you an honest and objective idea of how well your company is performing. This advice is much more valuable and helpful than the opinions of brand managers and others you may hire for a high fee.
Of course, it can be painful to hear unpleasant things about your venture. But no project is perfect from the jump-start. You may have to travel a long and thorny road to create a noteworthy brand. Think of your critics as faithful assistants who want to help you succeed. At the end of your journey, you will:
- Cultivate a perfect reputation for your company. Customers will know that you are always ready to listen to their feedback and satisfy their needs. Brands who ignore their clients lose popularity very quickly. Do not repeat their mistakes. It is always easier to build a good name from the very beginning than to regain lost customer trust. Always respect your clients’ opinions.
- Make your company easily adaptable. Customer preferences and market trends are constantly changing. You should always be flexible and responsive, keeping your brand fresh, original, and attractive. Your clients’ posts on business review sites should be viewed as a source of inspiration and material for research. Regularly check customer comments to get unique ideas on how to improve your enterprise.
Positive feedback, on the other hand, can give you a boost in tough times. Reading the grateful testimonials of your loyal clients can be mentally uplifting and give you the strength to weather the storm. They will refresh your ambitious dreams and remind you that you bring value to the people who rely on your products and services.
Types of Review Sites
In today’s webspace, there are countless online platforms for collecting and sharing customer feedback. They all have specific features and can be divided into general categories.
As a rule, digital marketing experts distinguish three key review types:
The Big Three
The phrase “one size fits all” accurately describes the top three reviewing giants, Yelp, Google, and Facebook. No matter what you sell or produce, leveraging these online resources will be extremely useful. They are mega-popular and powerful when it comes to attracting new customers to ecommerce brands. Regularly check these websites for mentions of your store in reviews, and respond immediately to customer questions. This is a great way to boost your reputation in the online community.
Even though these resources are not as popular as the biggies, they can deliver value to your brand. They are mostly visited by web users who are well-versed in a certain niche, have an expert opinion, and want to share their ideas with like-minded users.. Customers who post feedback on industry review websites know what they want, and it is up to you to convince them that your product is a good buy.
Hybrid Review Sites
These platforms sell goods and services, but they also create review blocks to help visitors make well-informed choices. Booking.com is a good example.
This category has both advantages and disadvantages.
One the one hand, your clients do not need to go far to buy your products. Immediately after reading a positive review, they can push the “Buy” button and place an order. Also, the number and quality of comments will influence your exposure on the website. Brands with a good reputation usually appear at the top of internal search rankings, which makes them more visible to clients.
On the other hand, you will have to come to terms with the requirements of these platforms. Some websites do not provide contact data for users who post positive comments, meaning you will not be able to communicate with them in the future.
Top Review Websites
This platform is a great tool for establishing strong relationships with local customers. If you create a profile for your company on GMB, information about it will appear in Google Search. Taking into account the amazing popularity of GMB, your profile serves as the face of your brand. Collecting high-quality content and establishing open online communication on GMB should significantly boost your search results.
Most Facebook fans do not think of the platform as a business rating website. Nevertheless, this social network has a special section for customers to share their impressions of different brands – Facebook Ratings & Reviews. You can find it on the left side of your Facebook page.
Yelp was created specifically for reviewing purposes, mainly in the restaurant business. However, businesses from other niches now also take advantage of it. Yelp can be particularly helpful for promoting your business in the local arena.
Even if you do not have a Yelp account, your business is likely to be mentioned there. Yelp is super popular, and every local brand worthy of mention is discussed on this website, so take advantage of its great promotional power. Even newbies can quickly build an impressive online image and gain a loyal following on Yelp.
This review website has much in common with social media platforms. Ecommerce brands and their clients can communicate, share interesting news, give feedback, and provide helpful tips. Yelp is easy to use since this smart platform walks new members through the first steps and highlights its many advanced features. By adhering to Yelp’s detailed instructions, you can quickly build a great reputation for your brand.
This Denmark-based platform is currently used by brands and customers from over 65 countries, and offers both free and paid services. You can create a free profile for your company and collect feedback, or use advanced paid features that tailor review invitations to your clientele, share ratings on your social media accounts, and use collected feedback for the internal purposes of your website.
This resource is particularly helpful to providers of utility services for residual customers. You can create your own listing and skyrocket the reputation of your brand, which will be displayed within the platform’s internal search. Home Advisor is an actively growing platform, so investing your time and money in it is definitely a wise decision.
Angie’s is a review platform that began providing local listings much earlier than many of today’s analog websites, uniting local companies with customers. Despite a growing number of competitors, Angie’s List maintains a leading position in its niche, thanks to its advanced features. You can choose between a standard free membership and an extended paid program.
One of the best features of Angie’s List is its fair policy. Administrators take part in conflict resolution, preventing reviewers from posting offensive and false reviews that hamper the reputation of your brand. The staff at Angie’s List quickly deletes derogatory comments.
Members of the ecommerce community can use the open and free online Opporty.com platform to share opinions about different services and businesses, as well as contribute articles. Promote your services, build favorable relationships with your clientele, and find like-minded people.
BBB is a reputable online community with paid memberships. Displaying a BBB badge on your website will definitely add stars to your image. However, to achieve the honor of BBB membership, you will have to tailor your ecommerce strategy to conform to BBB’s strict code of conduct.
This platform is generally recommended for businesses with plenty of spare money and time.
In the quest for high sales, businesses often focus on customer feedback and overlook the value of positive testimonials from their current and former employees. Positive employee feedback goes a long way toward enhancing a brand’s image.
Glassdoor is designed specifically to promote information exchange among employees and employers. Workers can share their experiences of working for a particular company, while employers can get valuable ideas about improving their workplaces, to ensure optimal conditions for each specialist.
As a resource for job searchers, Glassdoor provides information about valid vacancies and reviews of the companies publishing them. For business owners, Glassdoor provides a pool of talented experts that can be an asset to their team.
Since Bing is one of the largest search engines, creating your company’s account on this popular platform should be among your top priorities. When reviewing your account, prospective customers will get an idea of who you are, what products or services your brand supplies, learn why they are better than competitors’ products, and find information on how to contact you.
Joining the Bing community is easy. There are no fees or strict rules, so don’t pass up this great opportunity to showcase your brand.
The CR team uses a well-established research and testing system (60+ labs and 300+ acre testing track) to distinguish between high-quality and low-quality products, helping customers make wise choices. Testing experts are not paid for their reviews. Their motivation is the satisfaction of ensuring fair market competition and warning consumers about the drawbacks of some brands.
After visiting this website, people have a clear idea of which goods are better to use and what nuances to keep in mind when placing orders. When CR specialists post positive feedback about your business, you can look forward to skyrocketing sales.
This directory for US small businesses provides a convenient environment for information exchange between enterprises and consumers, and has several other useful applications.
Foursquare originally began as a social network. As it grew and developed, administrators began supplementing it with new features, in particular, an internal search engine for finding the contact information of local businesses.
If you have a small retail shop and want to attract more visitors, be sure to leverage the power of Foursquare.
Companies in the travel and entertainment industries will find this platform especially useful. When planning a trip, people like to check out reviews about restaurants, hotels, museums, art centers, and other popular tourist venues. Positive testimonials and appealing photos on TripAdvisor will increase your chances of being chosen above other companies offering similar services.
Yahoo Local is one of the Google My Business analogs. The two platforms have almost identical rating systems and features.
Do not assume that registering your brand on several similar resources is a waste of time. Even though Yahoo is less powerful than Google, it is responsible for almost a tenth of online searches, so take advantage of the opportunities Yahoo provides.
16. Merchant Circle
This business directory has much in common with Yelp and Manta, but it is less popular due to an overabundance of ads and a less satisfactory user experience. Still, using it will not harm your brand. The more platforms you leverage, the more traffic you will attract to your website.
In addition, absorbing the knowledge and wisdom of market leaders through open communication will help you evolve into a successful entrepreneur, with unexpected insights, inspiration to take bold steps, and encouragement to reach a new level of brand development.
This resource is mainly for brands selling health and beauty products. Prospective clients can find your company by entering its name or the names of particular items in the search box. In both cases, people will be directed to your website or online store.
Since reviews on this platform are informative and comprehensive, your new customers will already know what they need, and you will have to spend less time consulting them.
This is a resource for restaurant owners and visitors. Initially, it only allowed users to make reservations, but today the website also compiles ratings based on customer feedback. Collecting many stars from satisfied clients will boost your restaurant to the top of search rankings.
19. G2 Crowd
G2 Crowd is a platform for software providers and a niche analog for Yelp. Visitors rate brands on a scale of 1-5, either improving or worsening a brand’s reputation. Various criteria are taken into account. Customers are invited to answer questions about a product’s usability, discuss its pros and cons, and share buyer tips. In addition, if you think a comment is unfair, you have the right to downvote it.
The oldest business directory in the world, Yellow Pages has been in business since long before the Internet era. Even though it now gives the lead to Google, it is still a highly valued resource. Yellow Pages features thousands of niches and lists millions of enterprises. It is very likely that your brand is already listed there. If not, make sure to correct this omission.
- Passively waiting for your clients to post positive testimonials is a futile strategy. As a rule, they are more likely to post negative ones. If people like your product, they simply use it, and do not waste time engaging in online discussions. It is up to you to take the initiative and politely invite buyers to share their impressions.
- Choose review websites that do not require new visitors to endure a complicated registration procedure. The option to sign in via social networks is an ideal option.
- If you want customer feedback to look natural and unbiased, do not ask your clients to post comments on your website. It is obvious to most web users that brands never expose their own shortcomings, and only post positive reviews to the Testimonials section.
We hope this article helps you build a 5-star online image for your business. If you have additional questions, do not hesitate to ask the Clever team. We are always happy to advise aspiring businesses on the ins and outs of web promotion.