Point of Sale
Online reviews empower your customers to let you know what they really think. That prospect can be scary, but customer feedback can also help you make smarter decisions store-wide, including inventory decisions. When you see a pattern emerge in negative reviews, such as concerns about a product, long checkout times, or a frustrating return policy, it’s an opportunity to fix whatever products or services are missing the mark.
Some customers will call you, email you, or return a product when they have a negative experience with it. Others will simply move on, perhaps replacing your faulty product with one from another business.
When you prompt customers to share feedback, these relationships become much easier to salvage. You have a chance to make things right, rebuild trust, and earn the trust of potential customers impressed by your incredibly helpful service. Not to mention, you’ll reduce the number of returns you’ll process.
A product with lots of reviews is less likely to be returned than one with less than five reviews. Online reviews help inform people about each product in a richer, more detailed way than with a glowing product description or a basic FAQ. When customers know exactly what they’re getting into, they can make better purchasing decisions, which means a drastic decrease in the return rates on your products. The result could even be more positive customer reviews for your business on online review sites.
The difference between these types of online reviews can be key to your strategy. If you notice a lot of negative reviews about one product but consistently positive business reviews, you can consider eliminating the product. If customer reviews praise your products but not your storefront, you might have some work to do on visual presentation or employee training.
Among dozens of third party sites out there, here are a few of the most popular used by brick and mortar establishments:
First off, get your business registered on Yelp, Google Business Profile, Facebook, and other key online review sites. Take a moment to make your pages more appealing to potential customers – high-resolution images make a greater impact than blurry, outdated camera phone snaps, for example.
To supplement your presence on review sites, try updating your social media pages, such as your Facebook page, at least once a week. Even if you can’t update your social feeds often, your business still appears more credible with a broad online presence and frequent updates. And if you need an easy content idea, try to post reviews that customers have already shared, like a Google review shared to your Twitter page.
If a customer shows that they like your product, that’s a great time to ask for a review. For example, if someone tags your Facebook page in a picture of you wearing a cute and cozy sweater they bought in your store, that’s a great time to encourage that happy customer to leave feedback on other review sites. Conversely, if your customer seems unhappy, train your employees to hold back.
The best way to request reviews can look different from business to business. You may want to consider:
Figure out what works best for you, and then set workflows that ensure the customer receives a review request. The key is to make it simple for a motivated customer; take them directly where they need to go. More Yelp reviews, Facebook reviews, and Google reviews should result.
Some customers might not respond well to explicit requests for reviews. But what if you reached out to the customer and asked how they’re feeling about your products? This way, you can start a meaningful conversation about the customer’s needs and show your commitment to meeting them. If you receive positive feedback, you can eventually ask for an online review.
To get a customer to do something they’re not obligated to do, you need to make it easy. So when soliciting reviews via email, include links to several popular review sites. Couple these links with a prompt something like, “Can you share how you’re feeling about the products you bought from us?” A prompt and a review link together can quickly open the door to an even quicker – but still genuine – online review.
Showcasing reviews on your Facebook page, website, or another platform may be just the motivation a customer needs to share their experience as well. When you share positive reviews, it also helps to show your best side to prospective customers and existing customers alike.
You might think that when customers leave negative reviews, you’ll have to make things right despite the customers who are presumably never returning to your storefront. However, if you deal honestly and fairly with an upset customer and stay positive and helpful, you can actually make a lifelong customer.
Most people expect a giant hassle when they raise a concern, so they might appreciate it if you offer them great customer service. If you fix the problem promptly, you could convert negative reviews into positive reviews! Better yet, other prospective customers may see these positive interactions and be further encouraged to check out your shop.
Keep it simple while acknowledging that the customer felt slighted and you’re acting to take corrective measures. Implementing this approach into your product review strategy can make your storefront appear professional, forthright, and still worth visiting.
If you need some help responding to a negative review, try language like: “I’m sorry you had that experience. Thank you for bringing it to our attention. We will take immediate steps to address this. Please come by again and give us another chance. Ask for the manager by name and he/she will personally see that you are taken care of.”
Mistakes are inevitable, but if your online reviews show that you’re repeating the same mistakes, you might struggle to find new customers who are discouraged by the patterns they see across reviews. When a stream of negative reviews identifies a recurring problem, you should work quickly to find a permanent solution.
For instance, if you have multiple poor reviews regarding out-of-stock products, consider implementing an inventory management system to better meet your customers’ expectations.
Making the necessary changes to avoid future customer complaints is the endgame for improving your local business. You’ll quash recurring problems and identify potential future problems – and stop them from happening in advance.
Being proactive about customer satisfaction enables businesses to thrive where another small business may fall short, and customers will notice how much you care. Put systems in place that make your business run a little better every day, and soon, negative reviews will be a thing of the past.
The bottom line is: Consumers trust online reviews. Even if the vast majority of your sales happen in person, your business benefits tremendously from online customer reviews. And good reviews are much easier to obtain when the products your customers love most are always readily available. And they, in turn, will be ready to give you great online reviews.
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