Let me know if this situation sounds familiar to you. You’re in the middle of binge-watching the latest season of House of Cards, but only half paying to the political machinations of Frank Underwood. What you’re really focused on is gathering intel on your smartphone to help you make a big purchase like a new car, a pricey piece of electronics, or a kitchen appliance. Something you don’t necessarily feel comfortable with buying online, but you want to be prepared when you go into the dealership or big box electronics store to make the purchase.
The scenario described above is known as ROBO, which means research online, buy offline. Even though e-commerce revenues continue to rise – Internet sales accounted for nearly $455 billion in the US alone in 2017 – they still only make up a small percentage of the US GDP. What that means is your business needs to be prepared to deliver a frictionless buying experience, regardless of whether the purchase is made online or in-store. Additionally, you need to make sure customers are able to easily find the information they are looking for when conducting online research about your business.
Priming the pump
So what exactly are your customers looking for before they make a purchase? A common misconception would be that they are looking for a lower price, but that isn’t always the case. What they are oftentimes looking for is validation from their peers that they are making the right decision, and they get this by scouring online business reviews.
But this research doesn’t necessarily happen beforehand like in the scenario described at the beginning of this post. The research frequently happens in-store, in real-time during what Google describes as, “.” Consumers nowadays are similar to the character of Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, who much to the chagrin of the Oompa Loompas, want things NOW! They don’t want to have to wait the day or week or whatever it would take for the item to be shipped to them.
Smart businesses are taking advantage of this opportunity to educate potential customers and push them toward making a purchase by proactively collecting online business reviews. According to a recent , for every $1 of online revenue that is influenced by online reviews, more than $4 of in-store revenue is also affected (actual amount varies depending on the type of product).
Automating review collection
Because reviews can have a positive influence on your business’ revenues – both online and in-store – you should be making every effort to collect them. One way to do this is implementing an online review management platform that allows you to streamline the invitation process.
We’ve found that the more immediate the invitation is sent the greater likelihood your customer will review your business. In fact, our customers have seen 15x higher completion rates of review invitations than traditional email-based platforms. And the more happy customers you can get to review your business, the higher your overall star rating will be, which in turn will .
, The Complete Guide to Online Reviews, to learn more about how online reviews are driving purchases. The ebook will show your business how to: