Enhancing Authenticity: Integrating User Feedback into Product Listings
- To be truly authentic, businesses need to display both negative and positive customer reviews.
- When you integrate feedback into your product pages, you reduce the number of returns and encourage leads through the sales funnel.
- Integrated review sections need to be sortable, moderated, and UX-optimised.
In the world of business, customer feedback is an invaluable compass for guiding companies towards greater success and authenticity. The insights gleaned from customer reviews can illuminate loads of opportunities for refining products, improving product descriptions, and enhancing user experience overall.
In this article, we’ll delve into several ways customer feedback can be harnessed to elevate and enrich your business. But first, let’s get to grips with the basics of customer feedback:
How does social proof work?
Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people mirror the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behaviour. In the world of business, social proof plays a pivotal role in purchasing decisions. Here’s how it works:
When consumers see others endorsing a product through reviews, ratings, or testimonials, it creates a subconscious validation of the product’s worth. This validation often alleviates the uncertainty associated with trying something new. In summary, if many others have found value in a product, it increases the likelihood that a potential buyer will too.
The power of social proof can be harnessed in today’s digital age through online reviews and ratings, as this is the accessible medium many customers use to understand products. Businesses that engage with this phenomenon can influence purchasing decisions significantly. By showcasing genuine feedback from customers, they can drive sales and foster trust.
Why authenticity is important
In the bustling marketplace of today, authenticity isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a cornerstone of successful business operations. Authenticity plays an important role in customer feedback because businesses can choose how transparent they are.
Though the idea of complete transparency can be intimidating, it’s crucial that businesses are authentic. Here’s why:
1. Minimising returns
One of the primary repercussions of inauthentic product listings or misleading information is product returns. Returns not only affect the bottom line but can also tarnish a brand’s reputation. By ensuring that customers see precisely what they’ll receive in the post, businesses can drastically reduce the likelihood of returns.
2. Quenching the thirst for information
Modern consumers are hungry for information. They appreciate detailed, accurate, and honest information about products or services. We’re not talking about pages and pages of detail, because that would be terrible UX. Equally, a lack of detail in the name of minimalism can be just as frustrating.
By catering to this need for authentic information, businesses can engage customers more effectively and guide them towards making informed decisions. They’ll be more likely to spend time on your product page when gathering details about your offering. Plus, they’ll be less likely to consult third parties for information about your products.
3. Navigating the research stage
Most purchasing journeys involve a research phase. During this stage, potential buyers are evaluating their options, comparing products, and seeking out the best fit for their needs. Authenticity in product listings and descriptions can make all the difference, ensuring that a product stands out for the right reasons.
And as above, if your product page provides all the juicy details about your offering, potential customers aren’t likely to consult third parties for information. They’ll stay on your site, increasing the likelihood of a completed purchase.
4. Building trust through transparency
Trust isn’t given; it’s earned. And one of the most effective ways to earn it is through transparency. When businesses are open about their products, showcasing both strengths and potential shortcomings, they foster a sense of trust with their customers. This trust, once established, can lead to long-term loyalty and advocacy.
When site visitors trust you, they’re way more likely to stay on-site, return in the future, make a purchase, and tell a friend.
In essence, authenticity is the bridge that connects businesses to their customers, ensuring mutual satisfaction and lasting relationships.
Should I display negative feedback too?
Yes. Displaying both positive and negative feedback is crucial for businesses aiming for transparency and trustworthiness.
Positive reviews undoubtedly highlight a product’s strengths, but it’s the negative feedback that offers a holistic view, allowing potential buyers to make informed decisions.
By showcasing a mix of opinions, businesses demonstrate authenticity and openness, signalling to customers that they have nothing to hide. This balanced approach not only fosters trust but also provides businesses with invaluable insights to improve and adapt.
In addition, what does your business really have to hide? Unless your products are terribly flawed, any negative feedback will be reasonable. Most potential customers appreciate that people have different tastes and budgets, and therefore will take negative feedback with a pinch of salt.
We’ll go into further detail later about how you can best display negative feedback but remember that embracing both accolades and criticisms ensures credibility and encourages continuous growth.
4 Ways to Boost Authenticity with Customer Feedback
There are several ways you can use customer feedback to enhance authenticity. If you haven’t already joined the club, here’s what’s in store:
1. Display customer reviews on product listings
Reviews and ratings are among the first things potential buyers look for. They provide social proof and can significantly influence purchasing decisions. Therefore, product listings are somewhat ‘missing something’ if they don’t include a review section.
To ensure this can be done, you’ll need to make your review system user-friendly. If it’s easy to use, you’ll receive the full amount of customer feedback instead of the select few who have bothered to work through a confusing system.
To encourage feedback, make sure your review system is prominently displayed on product pages and follow-up emails. Ensure the copy shows your keenness for all customers to share their experiences, as any open and transparent business would.
2. Highlighting both positive and negative feedback to show a balanced view
As discussed above, showcasing a mix of feedback types enhances credibility. If only positive reviews are shown, potential buyers might be sceptical about the authenticity of the reviews.
To ensure your reviews are balanced, you’ll need to lift any heavy moderation, with the obvious exception of reviews that violate certain guidelines.
We understand you may feel scared to display negative feedback on your site. One way you can mitigate this is by allowing site visitors to sort your reviews by date and rating.
It might be that the bulk of your negative feedback is from years ago before you improved your product or service. Therefore, sorting reviews by date can show potential customers that you’ve changed. Alternatively, sorting feedback by rating may show users that most of the feedback is positive.
3. Use user-generated content to give potential buyers realistic expectations
Photos or videos of your products from actual customers provide a realistic perspective on what you’re offering. Though they often lack the professionalism of your product photos, they can be much more relatable and convincing.
To obtain UGC, you need to make it really easy for users to take photos of your products. Some may even require incentives such as featuring the best submissions on your social media platforms or in prominent positions on your website.
Ensuring the feedback system is UX-optimised will do wonders, especially if filling out a review form is gamified for customers.
4. Using feedback to update product listings
Product listings need to be accurate so that customer purchases meet their expectations. One way of enhancing this is using feedback to update product listings. An outdated or inaccurate product description can lead to returns, dissatisfaction, and negative reviews.
You could create a system that ensures product listings are periodically checked against customer feedback. This will iron out any discrepancies and guarantee that your listings are as accurate as possible.
Feedback for product development
Alongside these methods for enhancing authenticity, feedback also allows businesses to improve their products and services. By analysing feedback to identify common issues and concerns, brands can continually improve their offerings.
Reviews are goldmines of information. They can reveal product flaws, areas of improvement, or even new feature requests. Make sure you’re regularly reviewing customer feedback and categorising the issues raised. Then, speak to your team to discuss product design and development opportunities.
Once you’ve relaunched your offering, you could even include old feedback in your marketing materials. This will send the message to potential customers that you listen to and value them.
The Technical Stuff: How to Integrate Reviews into Product Pages
Now you know the benefits and uses of integrating reviews, it’s time to investigate the technical side of things. By that, we mean how you get reviews to appear on your product pages. Here’s what you’ll need to consider:
1. What system will you use?
You might want a custom-built review system. This would work perfectly if you wanted to design your own forms and perhaps add gamified elements.
On the other hand, you could go with a third-party service such as Trustpilot, which will have plugins or widgets to integrate into your e‑commerce platform.
2. How you’ll integrate it
As above, many review platforms offer widgets or plugins that are compatible with popular e‑commerce platforms such as Shopify.
Alternatively, a custom-built system will need an API (Application Programming Interface) to fetch and display reviews on product pages.
3. How you’ll moderate reviews
You can moderate customer reviews manually, or with automated filters or community flagging. If you’re building your own review system, you’ll have to create these criteria yourself.
In contrast, third-party review platforms often come with built-in moderation tools to filter out inappropriate content automatically.
4. How you’ll design your review section
To get the most user-friendly layout, you might want to contract the services of a UX designer. They’ll show you the best place, size, colour, etc for your review section. They’ll also help ensure your design is responsive and displaying correctly on different devices.
It’s best UX practice to allow site visitors to sort your reviews by date, rating, or relevance. Plus, you might need to implement pagination if you have a high volume of reviews, as this will ensure the page’s loading speed isn’t hindered.
Customer reviews are invaluable on several fronts. Integrating them into product development, product pages, and social media will ensure you’re being as authentic and informative as possible.
To learn how you can best navigate customer feedback, read this article.