A new study by PowerReviews found that 95% of consumers consult customer reviews while 86% consider them to be essential when making a purchase.
The study found that approximately 13.5% of reviews in the last year had at least one helpful vote and about 24.6% of them had at least one review with a helpful vote.
There are certain characteristics of a “helpful” review. For example, the longer the character count of a review, the more helpful votes it generates.
The study found that reviews with fewer than 20 characters had an average of 2.3 helpful votes, while a review with 500 or more characters had an average of 5.3 helpful votes. Longer reviews provide more detail for customers.
The study also found that one-star reviews on average generate more “helpful” votes than any other star rating. This is because in addition to adding a level of authenticity to review content, negative reviews steer customers towards products that best fit their needs.
Consumers also want to hear the worst thing someone has to say about a product, with the study finding that 82% of consumers seek out negative reviews. This helps them determine the relevance of the negative elements.
Visual content such as user-submitted photos or videos is important as well. Eighty-eight percent of consumers said they look for visual content prior to making a purchase.
Reviews that include more photos and videos got more helpful votes than those without them. Also, consumers depend on user-generated visual content to inform them on purchases. It’s imperative to make it easy for shoppers to submit photos and videos as part of the reviews.
Based on the survey results, here are six recommendations from PowerReviews to help brands and retailers get the most out of their ratings and reviews.
Identify Helpful Reviewers: Analyze different components of the reviews. Which ones provided video and photos? How many “helpful” votes did they get? Also consider the length of reviews.
Everyone Loves Awards: Award reviews for optimal content. Once you have identified helpful reviewers, ask them to contribute additional content. This is a way to tie in award points to reviewers whose content meets certain review criteria, such as a specific character count.
Focus on High-Ticket Items: Reviewers are more impactful for higher-priced items. PowerReviews found this is because consumers are spending more time reading reviews on these items. It’s a good idea to identify higher-ticket items in your product catalog and prioritize generating reviews for them.
Let Your Customers Sort Out Your Helpful Reviews: Your website probably allows consumers to sort reviews for a given product by factors such as a star rating and recency. Let them also sort reviews by the number of helpful votes received. It allows them to easily identify content that has been most helpful to others like them.
Helpful Reviews Should Be Prominently Featured: Make it easy for your customers to find the most helpful review content for each of your products. Ask your reviews provider if they offer a “faceoff” which will provide customers with an “at a glance” summary of the most and least helpful reviews of a product.
Embrace the Negativity (Just this Once): Negative reviews can be helpful too. While you certainly don’t want to aim for negative reviews, they help customers decide which product will fit their needs. It also offers a level of authenticity to your content and allows you to identify insights that can lead to product improvements.