In today’s busy furniture retail environment, shoppers arm themselves ahead of time with as much information as they need to make a purchase. This process of pre-shopping online allows shoppers to make a decision based on a range of factors before walking into the store, and reviews can be an important component of that process.
Customer reviews are one of the most important and influential factors for shoppers at the researching and decision phases of the buyer’s journey, as well as all stages in between. Shoppers — especially millennial shoppers — have come to expect product reviews when shopping online or pre-shopping for in-store purchases. This is especially the case for big-ticket items such as furniture.
Despite the fact that 95% of consumers read online reviews before they make a purchase, not all furniture retailers have been eager to jump on the reviews bandwagon. Yet the importance of online reviews can’t be overstated.
Here are two more statistics to show you just how important product reviews are for your business.
- An average of 10 online reviews are read by consumers before they feel they can trust a local business.
- Consumers are 50% more likely to be motivated by an online review than by promotional discounts.
Let's look at the benefits your business could gain from customer reviews and how to get more.
Benefits of Reviews
Reviews are a type of user-generated content (UGC), which is a powerful tool to build buyer confidence. Let’s look at some of the benefits of reviews.
Online reviews can boost your brand and, ultimately, your bottom line.
A high percentage of people read them but surveys also show that 79% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Because reviews are such a valuable tool for decision-making, customers view them as brand recommendations and are more likely to make purchases based on them. In fact, one study suggested that five high-quality product reviews increase the likelihood of purchase by 270 percent!
The ultimate outcome is that potential consumers make purchase decisions based on what they read, and online reviews can boost your furniture sales. According to Harvard Business School, revenue can increase by 5% to 9% when a Yelp rating increases by one star.
Social Proof Drives Conversions
Social proof is when someone assumes that what others have done is the appropriate thing to do. Online reviews provide social proof for ecommerce purchases and drive sales conversions.
Although furniture ecommerce has grown significantly in recent years, many consumers still have a hard time making a big-ticket purchase without seeing or feeling the item in person. This makes social proof even more important for furniture ecommerce.
Online shoppers feel much more comfortable buying furniture from a retailer if they know others have done it and had a pleasant experience. Reviews paired with authentic pictures from previous shoppers provide valuable information for those who may be on the fence about purchasing a product.
Improved SEO Increases Website Traffic
Reviews provide objective, non-sales content that makes the product feel more authentic and trustworthy. As a type of user-generated content, customer reviews improve SEO, improve Google ranking, and increase website traffic.
Furniture retailers with both a physical and digital presence have a good opportunity to use online reviews to engage with potential customers. The higher your rating is for online customer reviews, the more your locations show up in local searches, and the more attractive your brand and locations will look online.
One often unconsidered benefit of product reviews is the feedback they provide. Business advisory studies may not fit in your business plan, but your inability to proactively ask customers their thoughts doesn’t eliminate this source of feedback. Product and company reviews give you access to amazing insights, allowing you to improve the customer experience as well as your furniture offerings.
How To Get More Online Reviews For Your Furniture Business
Here are some tips to get more online reviews and boost furniture sales.
1. Make It Easy to Leave Reviews
If a customer has a bad experience with your business, they will take the time to find a way to tell you what they think. But if a customer has a good experience with your business, they aren’t likely to go out of their way and leave a review. The best solution? Make it easy for customers to give a review.
The best way to get customers to leave reviews is to ask. There are many ways to ask your customers for a review. One way is to ask for customer phone numbers at the point of sale and send an immediate SMS text message with a link to leave a review of their purchase experience. You can also include a link on your website that brings customers directly to a review platform. Or use email marketing and automation to provide customers with a link to provide feedback on the purchased item after delivery.
2. Share Positive Reviews on Social Channels
Since reviews provide major benefits for your company, it is important for them to be easily found. In addition to displaying positive reviews on your website, sharing them across your social media channels is the most effective way for shoppers to find them. And nearly half of all people use social channels for product research!
3. Include In-Store Sales in Your Review Process
Tools, such as PowerReviews, offer retailers the opportunity to not just solicit reviews for products sold online, but also when the items are sold in their stores. Incorporating in-store sales into the review process will both further engage your customers as well offer the opportunity to significantly grow the number of reviews for your products.
4. Respond Timely To Negative Feedback
This may be surprising, but bad reviews can work in your favor. Only having positive reviews may give the impression that negative reviews have been deleted, so negative ones should be left alone.
Reviews should be regularly monitored, and a timely response to negative feedback may improve the business relationship with the reviewer. And based on your response, the customer may even change their review. Additionally, a response demonstrates that you care about your customers and want to make things right for them.
How to Leverage Online Reviews with the Right Tools
The data doesn’t lie — reviews are a win-win for both shoppers and furniture retailers alike. For shoppers, product reviews provide a critical part of the research journey to help them make a purchase decision. For furniture retailers, product reviews drive conversion, enhance positive brand perception, and increase traffic online. Using the tips in this article will help you get more online reviews and improve your bottom line. But you need the right tools to do so.
An omnichannel strategy can help you better collect customer feedback, as it allows you to manage customer interactions across all channels in one place. Automating the process by using Blueport Commerce as your omnichannel solution provider can make it easy to both collect and respond to customer feedback seamlessly through our native features and third-party integrations.
Blueport Commerce offers several integrations, and partners with the leading reviews provider PowerReviews, to give furniture retailers a reviews platform customized for furniture that’s fully baked into our ecommerce platform.
Are you ready to grow your business? Learn how to develop your omnichannel strategy, use leading tools, and increase your furniture sales.