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6 min read

Enhancing Authenticity: Integrating User Feedback into Product Listings

Key Takeaways

  • 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.

Final thoughts

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.

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