Customers are trying new retailers. Use their feedback to win the sale - ClickZ

30-second summary:

  • Customer feedback is critical to understanding how people feel about your company and your products.
  • Consumers are testing new brands, and authentic reviews are one of the biggest factors in their decision to purchase something.
  • Collecting customer feedback helps set business benchmarks, ensure customer satisfaction, win superfans and reduce the cost of acquiring customers.
  • If you aren’t gathering feedback, you better start before it’s too late.

As humans, we love to share our opinions and feedback. Giving others advice, recommendations or guidance is as ingrained in our daily lives as that morning cup (or two) of coffee.

For retailers, those word-of-mouth recommendations have become a Lingua Franca, and merchants that choose to pay attention have an infinite opportunity to improve their business and their bottom line.

Collecting and analyzing customer feedback is one of the most effective ways to keep a pulse on customer perception of your brand and products. It’s also an important way to help your business grow.

The merchants that pay attention and show they care by implementing changes based on customer feedback are the ones setting themselves up for the most success.

Between tried-and-true retailers and the new crop of direct-to-consumer brands popping up daily, today’s consumers have more choices than ever for where to buy.

They also have more access to information about the products they’re shopping for, and customer reviews go a long way (Read more...) help them make informed purchases.

According to Yotpo, 98% of online shoppers say authentic customer reviews are the most important factor influencing their buying decision, and even negative reviews can have a positive impact by creating more trust in the positive reviews.

In my current role and as the former CMO of ratings and reviews software company Bazaarvoice, I have a deep belief in the power of public opinion.

Now, more than ever, brands must establish credibility with consumers. We knew online retail spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic, but new data shows that consumers experimented more with new brands over these last few months.

Nearly 40% of more than 8,000 shoppers surveyed bought something from a new brand during the pandemic. The trend was even more pronounced among younger shoppers: 55% of those aged 18-24 bought something from a previously unknown brand.

These numbers tell me brands have an immediate opportunity to win new customers, and demonstrating credibility with product reviews will ensure those shoppers actually buy products and keep coming back long after the effects of COVID-19 have subsided.

Here are four ways collecting customer feedback can help your business:

Establish better business benchmarks

As the saying goes, you can’t improve what you can’t measure. When you measure customer satisfaction, you create benchmarks that you can track over time.

You’ll be able to see what works – or what doesn’t – much faster than if you’re just relying on anecdotal evidence.

As a first step, figure out the metrics that provide an accurate picture of your customer’s buying experience and overall brand perception – things like how long they spend on your site, social media engagement and repeat purchases are great starting points.

Monitor customer experience

For every customer who complains, there are dozens more who say nothing. They simply leave your site to never return.

By monitoring satisfaction rates throughout the customer’s decision-making process, merchants learn what people really think about their business and products. Over time, you can analyze the results to improve the purchase process and make it easier for shoppers to buy from you.

Monitoring the customer experience is an opportunity not a burden. Start small with website feedback boxes, social media monitoring or automated surveys to current customers. With just those few basics, you should get insights to improve your customers’ experience, and help your business grow.

Create superfans by showing that you care

We’re all customers too, so we know the importance of feeling valued when we decide to spend our hard-earned money.

Taking time to connect with customers, whether through social media, email or collecting feedback shows you care – and creates a customer who not only wants to come back but is willing to talk about your brand.

Word-of-mouth marketing is an ecommerce marketer’s dream. Every retailer needs loyal customers who love your products so much they tell their friends, family and colleagues about them in person or on their social feeds.

This creates brand awareness, credibility and ongoing sales for your business, at no cost. Solo Stove is a great example of this. Its website allows fans to submit stories about their camping trips and other experiences with their products so other potential customers can see the product in action.

Lower the cost of acquiring customers

This naturally follows the previous points. When you understand your customers, you can provide a better experience for them, which in turn keeps them coming back.

The result? Lower customer acquisition costs. Positive experiences also make customers more likely to write product reviews, which will help you win additional customers.

Plus, since you will have a better understanding of your customers, you’ll be able to improve your website content and marketing language to better speak to them.

The idea of implementing these tips might be new to your business, but it will absolutely be worth the effort – and will bring long-term rewards.

Lisa Pearson is CMO of BigCommerce.

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