Some consumers require more convincing than others. Whilst a detailed product description and expert review might suffice for some, there will always be those who want more. So why not give it to them?
A commenting system is a great way of developing unique on-page content as well as allowing visitors to share their insights. If they can read independent reviews of an individual item or service, they see how real users perceive products, not just the manufacturer or reseller.
Trust is a huge issue for any online business. Many consumers still have reservations when it comes to buying products from ecommerce stores. Whether this is driven by security fears or concerns over the reliability of the seller, you have to do everything possible to put your customers at ease. One such solution is to provide an area for existing customers to leave comments.
Developing Content and Reaching New Audiences
Thanks to the development of social platforms, your comments needn’t simply be restricted to your website. By using an integrated Facebook sign-up, product reviews can also be posted directly onto the walls of your customers. This can help to improve brand awareness and should also drive further sales, with the buyer providing endorsements for both the item and your business.
You should also look to include social bookmarking widgets to help users to share their recommendations with friends on Twitter and Google+. Working alongside your commenting system, it can open up your store to a whole new audience. It also provides an opportunity for you to promote any other social profiles you have, including Facebook fan pages and YouTube channel.
Of course, this all relies on the reviews being largely positive. If customers are continually leaving messages of disapproval on particular products, then sales could be severely impacted. However, this shouldn’t put you off.
If a product is proving to be unpopular, then it’s better that you are aware of the issues and take action. Continuing to offer stock that attracts criticism is only going to damage your reputation with customers. Again, offering an open forum for impartial comments can help you to identify any such problems, enabling you to investigate further and respond quickly.
Honest, Independent Reviews
Most consumers don’t expect to see hundreds of glowing reviews from anonymous individuals. Instead, they want honest insights into the products and services on offer. For instance, budget products are unlikely to offer the same quality levels as a premium alternative, but most customers will understand this.
Comparing the two directly would provide a false impression. This is why unbiased comments work so well. People that have purchased an item often have similar expectations as those who are likely to make the same investment in the future and so are in the best position to provide frank advice. Therefore, the more reviews you receive, the more shared opinions and insights your pages will have.
Adding Context to Product Pages
As you are probably already aware, on-page content plays an integral part in Search Engine Optimisation. It helps to provide context and can improve the authority of your site too. Consequently, your rankings should improve, resulting in increased traffic. Whilst some site owners may be concerned about comments watering down the keyword density on their pages, this really shouldn’t be an issue.
Remember, search engines are looking for context, not just a single word or term repeated endlessly. Just as with your product description, reviewers will naturally mention its name, features and even related items. This, for search engines at least, is just as important as a blurb full of perfectly placed keywords. Content adds context; therefore, if you were able to increase both on a single page, higher rankings in Google should be your reward.
You will have to be vigilant when it comes to moderation though. Whilst you don’t want to be seen to remove negative comments, you shouldn’t allow links, spam or bad language to infiltrate your pages. This could present you with a number of credibility issues with the search engines and, more importantly, your customers. So ensure that every comment is checked before it is set live on the site.
Whilst this might sound like a lot of extra work, it is an investment that can reap real rewards. Many of the major ecommerce sites are now employing commenting systems as a way of building trust and encouraging users to return in future. Whilst you shouldn’t immediately look to emulate what your competitors are doing, this is certainly one instance where you should give it serious consideration.
No matter how big your business is, or how many products your store offers, opening up your pages to customers is a fantastic way of increasing your conversion rate and site traffic in one fell swoop. As the site owner, you can remain in full control throughout, removing anything that you deem to be inappropriate. Essentially though, you should be looking at it as free content and impartial endorsements on your pages. It really can be a win-win situation, when managed correctly.