Zoom? Reviews? Hotspotting? Figuring Out What Web 2.0 Can Do For You, Part 2
Last week, eM+C Weekly ran Part 1 of Meugniot's article, "Zoom? Reviews? Hotspotting? Figuring Out What Web 2.0 Can do For You, Part 1," where he offered a Web 2.0 checklist of merchandising techniques to make it easy for people to spend money on your site. This week, he offers a checklist of best practices around product recommendations and reviews.
People do much discussing, comparing and recommending, so let them do it on your site. Here's a checklist to make sure you are doing all you can around recommendations and reviews:
1. Get your online buyers talking about your brand or products with other shoppers. This can take the form of user reviews, product ratings, message boards, blogs, live chat or other capabilities.
According to a study conducted by PowerReviews and the e-tailing group, 82 percent of online shoppers prefer customer reviews to researching a product in-store with a sales associate, and 68 percent of shoppers read at least four reviews before making a purchase. If you don't offer reviews, you risk losing those consumers to other Web sites that do. So give them every reason to stay on your site and complete the transaction.
2. Create a forum through which users can review products, make recommendations and even ask and answer each other's questions. This can result in a lively community of brand advocates.
The fear related to this, of course, is the inevitability of some negative feedback. But successful retailers will see that as an opportunity -- a chance to engage directly with consumers, answer questions and correct any misconceptions. It's also a chance to build credibility as a straight-shooting company that's not trying to hide the valid viewpoints of its customers. Bottom line: Open dialogue is always good for the brand. And you may as well host it on your site, since it will happen somewhere online anyway.
3. Make your own product recommendations. There are a few different ways to do this:
- A "YMAL" ("you may also like") shows users a list of products they may be interested in purchasing based on their previous purchasing, viewing and/or browsing habits.
- A "Purchase Trends" feature shows users what other customers have done after viewing the item the users are looking at now.
4. Finally, make it easy, easy, easy to buy, buy, buy. One of the best ways to do this is to offer single-page checkout. Anything that moves people off the checkout page -- to do things like changing a billing address or shipping preferences -- risks losing the buyer.
All this innovation can sometimes be overwhelming. But just remember, you have access to the most important source of information you need: your customers. When in doubt, ask them what they want. Then give it to them. They'll come back.