Making Ratings and Reviews Part of the Online Experience

Content Manager

Customers love to know what other customers think of a product when it comes to making a purchase. That is why retailers are making ratings and reviews part of the website experience.

David Meidam, infor­mation system man­ager at Saddleback Leather, said the rat­ings and reviews have been perform­ing well for the com­pany. Customer com­ments both positive and negative alike help their purchasing choices.

“We believe in our designs and prod­ucts and we wanted people to find that eas­ily and give feedback,” said John Bergquist, connector at Saddleback Leather. “We put very little money in advertising so we believe in customer’s advocacy.”

Bergquist said he would like to en­hance customer advocacy by allowing customers to not only share their review, but also share it anywhere they want. One way is to have social login; whatever they are doing on the site, that they are plugged into the tool.

Phil Minix, executive vice president of Rod’s Western Palace, said ratings and reviews are used everywhere the company can. This includes email campaigns and recom­menders. The company uses it to monitor internally and sending it off to merchants to fix whatever people aren’t liking.

Colin Hynes, partner at UX Strategy and Research, said in recent years, ratings and reviews continue to be an extremely im­portant part of the shopping process itself. It gives users the ability to trade-off in the decision-making process.

“What I have seen more recently is their use in marketing both online and of­fline,” said Hynes. “For example, using rat­ings and reviews that are gathered online are being leveraged in the physical retail environment. “

Hynes said both positive and negative reviews build credibility for a retailer. The old-school thinking of hiding negative re­views of a product has gone by the wayside for more progressive retailers.

“They realize showing a balanced ap­proach of the pros and cons of a product is what users want and expect,” said Hynes.

Hynes said often times users are look­ing for the downside of a product and weighing in whether that downside is applicable to them. Or is it enough of a downside that they should care about it and should it influence the decision on the product until they realize every product has a downside.

Hynes added that the negative reviews of a product help the customer in the de­cision-making process and reinforces that the retailer values transparency.

“We’ve had them for a long time on our site, on our product detail pages and believe they are making a huge impact on conversion,” said Bouchard. “Recently we worked on increasing volume and cover­age so we can have as many products as possible with at least one review.”

The North Face hears from custom­ers all the time that they trust what other customers have to say about their prod­ucts more than the company itself, added Bouchard.

“Make sure that customers can easily see both good and bad reviews, being able to sort by ratings, and provide both visual cues as well as the full content of reviews,” said Bouchard.