What’s the secret of success?

You’ve created an online store or maybe you think about founding it, and now you wonder – how to succeed in it? Is it connected with products that you sell? It’s surely connected with the popularity of your store. Or maybe it’s connected with low prices? It’s also extremely important for customers. But what’s the most important for customers?

People are like sheep

Customers usually base their decisions on the opinions of other customers – it’s always been like that and it will always be like that -especially in this type of stores. In traditional stores we can touch products, try them on or rate them, because we see them ‘live’ Unfortunately it’s not possible in the Internet. That is why the customer can only base his decision on the opinions of others. When we go to the traditional store and look for a particular item, we choose that one, which seems to be the best for us and whose price is adequate to quality. In the online store we try to do the same thing, but it’s based on the somebody’s else opinion.  

Who should we believe? The producer? The distributor? The seller? It’s obvious that everybody will praise his product. Even if it has some defects, they won’t be mentioned and the values of the products will be emphasized – that is how the good advertisement and sales look like.

Only the customer is honest. He buys a product, and when he gets it, he rates it according to his expectations. And then two different worlds collide: customer’s vision about the product and the reality. After all he rates the product and the sales service, and the ratings can be different (it depends if the sales fulfilled his expectations).

How to encourage customers to write the review?

The customer buys in our online store a product. The sales went well. The product fulfills customer’s expectations. The shipping was fast and trouble-free. However the customer didn’t rate our store and didn’t write a review. As we know, positive reviews build our market  position and help us to stand out from our competition. Customers will come to us in the first place, if they see that we have many positive reviews, because it means that they can trust us. They don’t have to be afraid then that they buy the product on spec, so maybe the seller won’t send it? Or maybe it won’t be possible to return it, if it turns out to be something different than we expected?

So how to encourage the customer to write the review? We can offer him some discounts – writing a review usually takes several to several dozen seconds, and even the 5% discount is tempting. Consumers love discounts. Thanks to it they buy more and more often. We can also offer them a loyalty program – customers will get some points for every purchase, which they can then exchange into some discounts. Writing a review could increase the number of points, collected on the customer’s account.  And what about a free shipping? If the customer writes the first review he gets a free shipping for the next purchase.

Building reviews based on content

There are many online stores in the Internet and there isn’t any field in which we wouldn’t try to sell something. We already know what the customer is guided by when he chooses the online stores -he’s guided by the reviews of other customers. So how to build your position in the Internet when you’ve got many competitors? How to encourage customers to buy exactly in our store? The answer is: positive reviews. Take into consideration the fact that content is still very important in the Internet. However many people don’t care about itt, so if you concentrate on having a good content you can be ahead of your competition.

Does it mean that we should leave only these positive reviews and remove those negative ones? What should we do with negative reviews? Should we react to them or not and if yes – in what way?

Negative reviews – remove or leave?

Remember that there is no one thing in the world that everybody would like. We can’t satisfy everybody, even if we would try very hard. That is why we should remember that no matter how much effort we will put into our work there is always somebody who will write a negative review for us. What to do with that? Remove the review? Leave it? Answer to it or maybe ignore it?

An average customer knows that there are no online stores with only positive opinions. And if there is such a store -it’s probably dishonest. If you start removing negative reviews and leave only the positive ones you can be sure that customers will become suspicious and will have a limited confidence to you. So if we should leave them, what to do with them next? Answer to them or ignore them?

When the customer writes a review he does it in good faith: for you -as an owner and the seller,  for himself – we just like to give opinions as people, for other customers – to help them make decisions. It’s good to answer to these reviews, especially when they’re negative – you can then try to explain some misunderstandings. A basic rule of each business is communication.

Recipe for success?

There is no one recipe for success, but people are the most important in business. If we respect them and take care of them, we will surely benefit from it. Another issue is the popularity of particular products at your competition’s stores. If suddenly a specified product gets many reviews it may mean that this product is a special price product or there is a demand for it. You can then consider extending your product range or offer a special price for a product. Ok, but how to track these reviews? You can do it manually, but if your competition is huge, it’s pointless.That is why tracking should be automated. You can use, for example, Price Expert tool, which allows you to monitor comments and opinions automatically. Thanks to such a solution you save your time and develop your store more quickly. 

Marek Kosno

CEO at Price-expert.net. Has many years of experience in managing IT projects and automating the price management process in e-commerce.