Boost Your Customer Reviews Strategy This Holiday Season

The importance of online reviews increases every holiday season as more and more consumers choose to conduct their holiday shopping online. A recent survey from PowerReviews reports that 99% of consumers will shop online this season, while half plan to do all of their holiday shopping online. 

Although price remains the factor with the greatest influence over consumers’ holiday purchase decisions, ratings and reviews come in a close second. According to the survey, nearly 3 out of 4 consumers indicate that reading reviews has an impact on which gifts they choose to buy. 

Furthermore, more than one-third of shoppers claim that online ratings and reviews will have a more substantial influence on their purchase decisions this season than last. Among Gen Z shoppers, this statistic was significantly higher at over 50%. 

This means having a strategic customer review strategy in place when the holiday shopping frenzy begins is essential. As the season of shopping nears, keep the following in mind to leverage reviews in a way that instills trust in potential customers, loyalty in current customers, and enables you to extend your reach.

4 Customer Review Insights

1. Reading reviews starts at the window-shopping stage.

While you may think that customers don’t start delving into reviews until they’re close to making a purchase, the truth is many consumers will check reviews even when they’re just trying to get a feel for what’s on the market. Because online reviews are displayed prominently on so many different platforms, consumers are starting to form opinions about products and services more quickly than ever. At a glance, they can get a feel for what a business offers and what their customers think after making a purchase. 

As a result, having solid reviews can help keep you on the short list of potential customers when they start narrowing down their gift ideas.

2. Reviews aren’t a one-way street.

Consumers know by now that businesses can respond to reviews at will – both the good and the bad. When a company responds to reviews in the right manner, this can boost their online reputation and instill trust in window-shoppers, leading them closer to that all-important purchase decision. 

Responses also give shoppers a good idea of the personality and identity of the business, details they may reflect on should they be interested in making a repeat purchase. Whether you choose to “like” the comment or respond with a personalized thank you, you’ll impress current and potential customers alike. 

3. Negative reviews aren’t the end of the world. 

It’s not always easy to keep your cool when you receive what feels like an unfair negative review. After all, a one- or two-star review can make a serious dent in your overall rating unless you have a significant number of reviews stacked up. 

However, the key here is to remember that negative reviews don’t have to be a negative for your business. Consumers understand that unfair reviews happen – they see them all the time. Even negative reviews that aren’t unfair won’t necessarily ding you in a window shopper’s mind; they realize making mistakes is part of growing as a business. 

What matters is how businesses react. A respectful response is a necessary first step, as is actually acting on constructive criticism whenever possible. A real win is when you’re able to win the customer back by going above and beyond to resolve the issue, something that will stick in holiday shoppers’ minds much longer than your overall rating. 

4. Stay on Santa’s “Nice” list. 

Hiring someone to write fake online reviews will put you on the “naughty” list in a jiffy. Most platforms can quickly detect reviews that aren’t authentic. Not only will they remove these reviews, but they might even penalize your business for trying to cut corners. 

Should you be so lucky as to avoid catching the eye of the hosting website, chances are the very consumers you’re trying to attract may call your bluff, which will only cause you to lose credibility. Stay on the “Nice” list and you’ll be rewarded with real reviews from customers whose trust you’ve earned.