Consumer reviews are a great sales driver, and many shoppers rely on them to make a decision on whether to buy a particular product or not.
They are most commonly used on product pages, but recently brands have started to think of other ways in which they can be effective.
Here are some great examples..
On the product page
The obvious place, and I do think every product page needs reviews.
It’s hard to look beyond Amazon for examples of consumer reviews, as it gets so much right.
First of all, there’s the key information: average customer rating and number of reviews.
These two pieces of information allow the customer to make a quick judgement. If that’s the average from 77 reviews, it must be good right?
Further down the product page, we get into the detail of the reviews.
The table showing the distribution of reviews provides some useful info. It’s not such a bad thing if there are one or two negative reviews, as this serves to make the positive reviews more credible.
The genius of Amazon’s presentation of reviews is the way in which users are given the tools to make them more useful.
It was, as UX expert Jared Spool explained, a system which allows users to surface the most useful reviews, good and bad. All Amazon had to do was to ask users if a review was helpful:
Amazon quietly bumps the three most helpful reviews to the top. It tries to balance positive and negative reviews, so shoppers get a balanced perspective. An interesting side effect is how these selected reviews get more votes. If they are controversial (in that not everyone agrees they were helpful), their ratio goes down, allowing the most helpful reviews to bubble up past them.
This makes it a self-managing system, letting the reviews people find the most helpful to maintain their standing at the top of the list. The result is an understated implementation that works great.
In local listings
Reviews are a big deal for local and mobile SEO as they have an effect on the positioning of local search results.
If Google only shows a few business listings, then good reviews will help your business to feature.
Besides that, the reviews can be a significant factor in the decision to click through or visit a business.
Take this result from a search for pizza in Covent Garden. Given the fantastic ratings, Homeslice looks like a good bet. And it is.
In print ads
If they work online, why not use them in print?
Brands like Kia and British Gas have used this tactic, and I think more will follow.
Here, Burns pet food uses reviews in an ad at Blackfriars station in London:
At the store shelf
I’m surprised how slow retailers have been to use reviews in stores, as it seems such an obvious thing to do.
Waterstones and others have had a version of this – staff recommendations – for some time and this works well.
More retailers are starting to do this though. Here, Kia uses reviews in its showrooms:
Product reviews form a key part of shoppers’ purchase decisions, so why not use them as a filter to aid product selection?
Here, ao.com adds average user scores to the available product filters.
In TV ads
Car manufacturer Kia may not be as glamorous as some other car makers, so it decided to make reviews the focus of its advertising.
This TV ad used the great reviews its models have received from owners, and was a first for the automotive industry.
For competitive sectors like insurance, where keywords are expensive, the use of seller ratings help your results to stand out, and should improve click-through rates.
In email marketing
Reviews aren’t used in email as much as they perhaps could be. For example, it surprises me that Amazon will display products in emails, but omit the average user review scores.
Here Millenium Hotels shows its customer rating at the foot of emails.
In search results
You can use markup to add reviews to your search results. As with PPC ads, this helps your listing to stand out from the rest and can improve CTR.
On shopping basket and checkout pages
I haven’t actually been able to find an example of this during checkout, but showing reviews on the basket page as Schuh does is a way to overcome customers’ second thoughts before checkout.
And one more example…
This is one of my favourite examples. Sonos had a underground ad which simply invited people to search for reviews of the brand and its products.
It’s beautifully simple, and works because the products have attracted some excellent review scores online:
Reviews are a great sales driver, so it makes sense to use them wherever they can have a positive effect.
These examples showcase some different ways to use reviews, but I’m sure theres more. Let me know in the comments if you’ve seen any…
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