Ratings and reviews are crucial signals consumers use to determine a product’s quality. They provide “social proof,” letting people see what previous customers have thought after purchasing the product.
Your potential customers are trying to get a preview of what their experience will be like if they buy your product. Reviews and ratings help them answer:
Did people regret this purchase? Did it exceed their expectations? Did it work as advertised?
Most brands understand the importance of social proof. Your website probably uses quotes, testimonials, and ratings and reviews from actual customers to persuade people to buy your products.
But here’s the thing: what your potential customers really want to see are ratings and reviews from a retailer’s website. The ratings and reviews you display on your website are helpful—especially if they look like they come from real people. But when it comes to social proof, your retail partners are always going to have the edge.
Major retailers almost always have more reviews
A single stranger’s opinion doesn’t carry much weight. If you don’t know someone, and you don’t have much context about them, there’s little reason to trust that their experience and perspective will be just like yours. It’s just one data point.
But add hundreds or thousands of other strangers echoing that first person’s comments and all of a sudden you have a pretty compelling reason to trust their thoughts.
That’s the power of social proof. And it’s one of the main reasons why consumers turn to major retailers like Amazon, Walmart, or Target when they’re trying to evaluate a product online. These large retailers have millions—in some cases hundreds of millions—of customers. As a result, their product pages tend to have a lot more reviews.
This is especially important for niche product categories with a small pool of potential customers. It’s harder to find products with social proof. So potential customers may have to look at the same handful of products on several different websites before they find a page with what they deem to be a useful number of reviews.
Unfortunately, even if you have plenty of reviews on your website, some consumers will remain skeptical. And that’s because some brands abuse ratings and reviews to fake social proof.
Some manufacturers use reviews to mislead consumers
We’ve all seen it before: a product that looks too good to be true, from a brand you’ve never heard of. Most suspicious of all: there’s not a single rating under four stars.
The sad reality is that some manufacturers—especially obscure, young brands or those with poorly made products—use cheap tactics to make their products look more appealing to consumers. They hide negative reviews on their site. They may use bots or employees to create fake reviews. And they might not even sell their products or have an online presence in places where they can’t control which ratings and reviews get displayed.
All it takes is one experience with a brand like this—or hearing about one—for a consumer to be suspicious of ratings and reviews an unknown brand controls. And that means even if you post every rating and review on your site and don’t create fake ones, customers who haven’t learned to trust your brand yet are still going to be on guard.
Retailers are third parties
Retailers often carry several products in any given product category. And while there may be slight advantages to highlighting one brand over another, at the end of the day, they just want to ensure their customers buy from them and not another retailer. So they’re not going to hide negative reviews and low ratings, because that helps their customers decide between one brand and another.
Since retailers aren’t directly affiliated with your brand and they’re more motivated to serve their customers than serve your brand, consumers are naturally more trusting of retailers.
They’re not always unbiased. But they are third parties. And that distance can make customers more comfortable relying on a retailer’s ratings and reviews.
Start displaying retailer reviews on your website
At PriceSpider, we believe more credibility leads to more conversions. That’s why we developed our Ratings & Reviews tool. As part of our conversion optimization platform, the Ratings & Reviews tool is designed to increase sales by bringing product reviews left on retailer websites right to your own. You can also use it to track conversions that happen off of your site.
Want to see how it works?
Request a demo of our Ratings & Review tool.