When deciding where to shop, the vast majority of today's consumers look to the internet and online reviews to learn more about nearby businesses where they're considering spending their money.
The 2023 Local Consumer Review Study found that 98% of consumers surveyed use the internet to find information about local businesses and 76% read online business reviews "regularly." What's more, 69% of consumers said they would feel positive about shopping at a business with reviews describing a positive experience.
As a retailer, given that so many of your potential customers are letting your business reviews play such a key role in their buying decisions, it's crucial to ensure your online listing is full of honest, positive reviews that paint your store in the best light.
So how do you get more of the types of reviews your prospective customers are looking for? Read on for the tips you need, plus an insider tip on how clienteling software like Clientbook can help.
Why are customer reviews important in the retail industry?
Before we dive into our tips on how to get more positive reviews, let's go over why putting the time and effort into getting them is worth the effort for retailers.
- They help with customer acquisition: When a prospective customer checks out your business on Google Business, social media platforms, or another review platform, they're looking for a reason to shop with you. A positive story shared by one of your loyal customers may be all they need to drop by.
- They influence customers' purchase decisions: Buyers don't just leave reviews on your business, but also on specific products. So if you're a furniture store owner and a buyer sees a lot of negative experiences others have had with a specific couch from its product reviews, they'll think twice before buying it—and you may want to reconsider if it's worth keeping in stock.
- They foster a sense of community: By hosting a place for buyers to leave a business review, you're giving them a place to share your business with others who are looking for a brand with products like yours. And the more entries you get, the more you'll foster customer loyalty with your buyers.
Five ways to get more customer reviews
Whether you're just getting your online business profile started or are looking to clean up your current listing, the below tips in review generation will point you in the right direction.
1. Get to know your clients through clienteling
First and foremost, before you can earn a review from someone, you need to get to know them. And the best way to get to know your shoppers is through clienteling.
Clienteling is a technique retailers use to build long-term relationships with their buyers by having sales reps focus more on creating a connection with shoppers over just closing a sale.
Doing things like using relationship selling techniques, asking open-ended questions, getting to know buyers' likes and dislikes, and following up with them often are all part of clienteling.
As your retail sales associates make a habit of clienteling, they'll earn your buyers' trust, and over time, their 5-star review.
2. Offer a personalized shopping experience
Going hand in hand with clienteling is offering a personalized shopping experience. This is what will set your business apart from the competition and meet your buyers' expectations.
The Business Impact of Personalization study found that shoppers are 40% more likely to spend more than they planned when their shopping experience is highly personalized. What's more, 49% of shoppers think their shopping experience would be better if retailers offered promotions or deals specific to their past purchases.
If your sales associates are doing their job clienteling, they'll be gathering important client data—including their purchase history, product preferences, and who they like to shop for—allowing them to make personalized offers that will keep them coming back to your store.
And what shopper wouldn't be willing to respond to a review request after being treated like a VIP?
3. Know who your happy customers are
Next, it's important to know which of your buyers are happy and which aren't. How you decide this is up to you, but metrics like customer lifetime value, how frequently a buyer visits your store, or simply their attitude when they're in your store will all give you a clue at who your happiest customers are.
Once you've identified which of your buyers are happy with their experience, these are the ones you'll want to focus on when looking for customer feedback.
This also means no mass-messaging all of your customers at once with a direct link to fill out a review. After all, you don't want to risk getting a negative review because you were in a hurry to get the word out.
4. Don't be afraid to ask for reviews directly
While it may seem forward, if you've followed all of the tips above, you're ready to start asking for reviews directly from your loyal buyers.
This could be in a follow-up email after they've made an online purchase, in person from a sales rep (we recommend putting a QR code to a review link on their business cards), or as a pop-up on your website after a buyer has completed their online shopping.
You can also automate this process to make it simpler on yourself. For example, you could have an email triggered after a buyer has made a certain number of purchases, after a certain time period has passed, or whatever makes sense for your retail store.
5. Showcase the reviews you do have
Finally, once you've gotten close to the average star rating you're looking for, be sure to insert product reviews and customer stories where your prospective customers can see them.
Whether that's in social posts, on your website, or even around your physical store, make the most of the kind words shared about your brand. You've earned it!
If you have a lot of detailed reviews on your business profile, you can break them up into several bite-sized quotes that are more shareable. However you share them, putting positive customer reviews where others can see them will ensure your brand is being seen in the best light possible.
How Clientbook can help
Earning loyal clients and generating positive feedback from them is a process that takes a lot of time, effort, and dedication. However, the process becomes far easier when you have a software solution by your side to streamline and automate the more tedious tasks.
That's where clienteling software like Clientbook comes in. Clientbook is a client management software that helps retail sales associates keep track of client information, automate clienteling activities like client follow-ups, identify your top buyers, and even send out requests for reviews.
If you're interested in seeing how Clientbook works, take a free tour of the software yourself to get a first-hand look.
Earning a 5-star rating from your buyers is a badge of honor that many retailers strive to earn for their business. By following the tips in this article, you'll be well on your way to building an online business profile you're proud to have prospective customers read.
Plus, by investing in a clienteling tool like Clientbook, your sales associates will be set up for success and exceed your buyers every expectation. Schedule a demo today to see how Clientbook can help you reach your goals for your retail business.