Product reviews have become standard practice for most online retailers, yet many brands are simply not implementing it on their own websites for their products. Whether you go to Amazon.com or Best Buy’s website for purchase, the presence of the consumer reviews of products is unavoidable. These reviews can have significant impact on consumer purchasing decision.
A consumer reviews practice on a brand’s website has a different purpose than that of an online retailer. It is about communication and PR and less to deal with sales. There is stronger link to sales only if the brand has an online store selling directly to consumers but otherwise it is mostly about brand perception management. This is why a product review practice accomplishes several things.
The top three benefits from my perspective are:
- Communicates that the company is listening to consumer feedback on its products. While reviews are pretty structured in format, it is still an avenue for the consumer to channels their views back to the brand about the product, short of calling the customer support line. It also allows the consumers to voice both positive and negative views about the product. It is important to understand that while the views are specific to the product, simply having review practice in place also communicates volumes about the brand itself, which brings me to my next point.
- The willingness of a brand to listen to its consumers communicates greater transparency, which in turn can increase trust in the brand. If consumers think that the brand is open to not just praise but also “constructive criticism” about its products, it creates the perception of honest dialog between the two parties. As such, this is as much about brand perception management as it is about marketing to improve product sales.
- A review practice on the brand’s website can draw in people searching for product reviews through increased SEO value. As more reviews are written, a brand’s page can increase its SEO value and become the source for information on a particular item or rank high in a given category of products.
However, the a review practice simply can’t be a replacement for quality improvements on a given product or service. If a product is not improved upon after countless feedback from consumers, it can not only have negative PR implications, it is also poor business management as sales will suffer in the long-term. However, a product review practice can certainly help with brand perception while giving time for improving based on the feedback received through multiple channels with consumer reviews being one of them.
Are there any other benefits that should be included in this list? Do let me know in the comments below.