Small Businesses Should Feature Customer Reviews Ahead of the Holiday Shopping Season

Business.com / Sales / Last Modified: August 9, 2017
Photo credit: pichetw/Shutterstock

Small businesses should add reviews and user-generated content to their product and service pages ahead of the upcoming holiday season to compete with top retailers and drive more sales.

Across the landscape of in-store and online shopping, consumers are increasingly leveraging product and service reviews from other customers to inform their purchase decisions.

Small businesses need to keep pace with larger retailers who already offer ample customer reviews, user-generated content and customer recommendations to drive increased sales. Here's why small business should add reviews and user-generated content to their product and service pages ahead of the upcoming holiday season.

On-site reviews drive sales

According to a recent study of over 70 major retailer and consumer brands, those brands with user reviews typically saw stronger sales compared to their competitors with no user reviews.

A BrightLocal study found that 74 percent of customers would take the next step in the purchasing process after seeing user reviews on a product or landing page, compared to product or landing pages with no user review content.

Moz's 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors study noted that that positive online reviews had a significant impact on a brand’s search ranking: It was tied for fourth most impactful factor. Positive reviews make it more likely that your small business will appear in Google's Local 3-Pack listing as well as in the top organic search results. 

Bazaarvoice's research shows that online reviews also impact offline, in-store sales. Fifty-four percent of online buyers said they read reviews before making a purchase, and 39 percent of in-store shoppers read online reviews.

How to include review content

Reviews and user-generated images have the greatest impact on customers. L2's Content & Commerce report found that user-generated images led to customers spending 17 percent more time on a site and viewing 36 percent more pages per visit. L2 concluded that reviews and user-generated content grease the path to purchase for shoppers more than other on-site features.

As a great example of featuring review content, The Home Depot includes user reviews on their homepage and product grid pages to give viewers an overview before clicking through to the product. Products with higher review scores capture more clicks from the grid page view.

User-generated images can be featured on the homepage or search pages but should link directly to the corresponding product or service page. L2's study concluded that including user-generated images on home pages drops average bounce rates, drives consumers to spend more time on site and prompts users to view more pages per visit.

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