So you're standing in the dressing room and can't decide if you really like the dress. I mean, it's cute, but is it really cute? #firstworldproblems
We've all been there. Where's that friend when you need her. The one that will either tell you, "It's hideous. What were you thinking?", or "Buy it. Now."
Online reviews are that friend.
When making a purchase from an unknown brand or store, 88% of shoppers are influenced by online reviews. These reviews can not only turn a browser into a buyer, but your response can turn a buyer into a lifelong customer.
The data overwhelmingly points to online reviews as a standard part of online purchase behavior. But what's happening is a bit more complex than simply looking for stars and sorting positive or negative feedback, particularly for fashion shoppers.
So why are online reviews so important?
Power in numbers
If you had to choose between an empty restaurant and one with a happy looking crowd, which one would you chose? I think we all know the answer.
Well reviews are the online version of power in numbers. Online reviews reassure customers that others have passed through, survived, and even had success! It lets them know that you, the merchant, are legitimate.
Models look good in everything
An online image, no matter how well it's produced, just doesn't have the same tangibility of a product you can touch. And, let's be honest, we may not all have the same body as the 5'10", 105 lb model who's wearing it. We sure as hell know that we don't (damn you Shake Shack).
But, the process of reading fit and size feedback via online reviews makes the product "real", and gives shoppers the details that they need to decide if a product is right for them. What's the quality, fit and texture? These questions would normally be answered in the dressing room or on the shop floor, so it is crucial for shoppers to have the answers in the form of online reviews.
Reviews = free feedback
Finally, online reviews are a powerful tool for merchants to understand and respond to the experiences of their customers. They help you learn how shoppers find your online experience and provide you with concrete, actionable feedback. For example, if a lot of people love your products but note that shipping is a little slow, you know where to focus your efforts. The best part, reviews are free! Well, at least they are on ShopVenture (shameless plug).
To Sum it Up
Think about how many times you've read a review on a restaurant, hotel or product, and how that nudged you to take the plunge and make that purchase. Reviews are crucial to the shopping experience, and even more important in the online-only environment of e-commerce.