The Power Of Reviews To Boost Conversion

Around five years ago, Argos announced plans to reposition itself as a ‘digitally-led business’ in the wake of dwindling sales.

Among other tactics, Argos has been harnessing the potential of online reviews. In September 2008 they introduced ratings & reviews to their website and then ‘ran a successful email-based reviews promotion that added 90,000 reviews to their site within two weeks’.

ArgosI knew that Argos welcomed and encouraged reviews but it wasn’t until this email (pictured left) landed in my inbox last week that I started to think about what reviews and recommendations can actually mean for a business’s bottom line.

After a little digging I found that upon examining conversion for products that had been reviewed against those that had not, ‘Argos found that reviewed products have a 10% higher conversion rate than those without reviews’.

A year after they introduced the review feature to their website, they sent an email to their customers who had bought something from them online in the run up to Christmas (their busiest time of year no doubt). In just 24 little hours their customers had submitted over 70,000 reviews and 4 months later they’d collected over 200,000 responses!

Perhaps even more impressively, 53% of the reviewers that responded awarded Argos a top product rating of five stars. Bazaarvoice, the company that supported Argos’s review feature implementation have said that although the results are impressive, they’re not surprising. They say that Argos’s review success supports their “J-Curve,” theory ‘which has found that, across their UK clients, 88% of all reviews are positive (four or five-star ratings)’.

So, why am I harping on about Argos? The practice of collecting reviews in a similar fashion to Argos is probably easier to replicate than you may think. While it’s unlikely that you’ll collect anywhere near a quarter of a million reviews in less than six months, it’s certainly a tactic worth trying with the customer base that you do have.

An online survey tool like dotMailer’s can relatively easily be moulded into a review collection tool. Simply craft your questions around a product, service, price or promotion and embed it on your website, seed via social and/or email your contacts should you have that information readily available.

The key to success here is simplicity. Nobody will want to give you more than a few minutes of their time so think about your questions carefully. You can pretty much find out all you should need to know with three or four short questions:

  • How satisfied are you with xxx?
  • Would you recommend xxx to a friend?
  • Please rate xxx on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest:
  • Any other comments:

Once you’ve captured this content, not only can you use it for marketing purposes, it will also help you to make purchasing decisions, shape your processes and signal areas for improvement.

Do you ask customers for their feedback on your product or service? What do you do with the data once you’ve collected it? Let us know in the comments section below.

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