Monday, August 3, 2015

Shape Customer Reviews to Your Advantage

You’ve limited influence over what your shoppers choose to post in reviews about your store. Hard sell pitches for positive comments risk irritating even those consumers who do have praise for you. However, knowing the ways in which prospective customers interpret the reviews they encounter does allow you influence over how you use whatever reviews which are posted. A few of the research findings point out exceptions to the general rules you might expect:
  • People who aren’t highly familiar with your store will look at summary ratings, such as the average number of stars you were given by raters. However, researchers at Germany’s University of Mainz found that a single or small set of positive comments carries substantial weight, even if potential customers don’t perceive it as representing the average opinion. This fits with the general consumer psychology finding that a good story is usually more influential than a set of statistics. The implication for you: In portraying your reviews to prospects, accentuate the positive stories. 
  • In general, consumers consider recent reviews to be more valuable than old reviews. But researchers at China’s Fudan University uncovered an exception to this: When shoppers are thinking of purchases for use in the somewhat distant future, their interest dramatically increases in older reviews. It has to do with both the past and the future being more abstract than the present, so the consumer’s brain perceives a better match. The implication here: If there’s a review from the past you want to highlight, talk about it in terms of the prospect’s purchase being for the long-term. 
  • It might seem that anonymity would be helpful when a review about you is negative. Readers would figure the reviewer with the criticism is hiding out to avoid responsibility for their statements. This would make the review less credible and therefore less influential. Yet this power of the identification doesn’t show as reliably as you might think. Researchers at Ohio State University, University of Pittsburgh, and University of South Carolina say that when a reader is unsure about the identity of a negative reviewer, they often assume the reviewer is like them, adding credibility to the review. But when a negative reviewer’s clearly identified and the shopper’s already developed positive feelings about the store or product, the shopper often emphasizes the ways in which they are different from the reviewer. They want to continue liking the item. 
For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more: 
Craft Powerful Stories
Motivate Shoppers Using Their Time Benchmarks
Encourage Reviewers to Identify Themselves

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