By Kat Matfield
One of the fundamental principles of social commerce – in whatever form – is that it only works for businesses if it works for consumers.
Reviews, recommendations and other social commerce tools are only able to increase revenue for businesses because they’re helpful for consumers, giving them more information and more confidence in a vendor or product. And this can only happen if these social tools are carefully designed to work well for consumers, offer the right features and be as easy to use as possible.
So if you want your social commerce strategy to deliver real results, you need to think about the usability of the tools you’re offering consumers. Make sure your team – or your review provider – recognise how important this is, and bear it in mind at every step of building, customising and implementing review solutions.
How well do your reviews perform?
One of the easiest ways to benchmark how good your social commerce tools are for your customers is to run some user-testing for yourself. Using one of the many online user-testing tools makes this quite simple.
The video below comes from our own user-testing, in which we asked a few normal shoppers to browse around the site of Jessops, one of our clients, and two similar retailers that use other review solutions, recording their thoughts as they went.
Review features that really work for consumers
Of course, it’s a great ratification of our focus on usability that our review service is the most popular with the consumers in this video. But, more than this, the video lets us start to make a list of features that consumers really value. Here are some of the key features of a successful review solution, as confirmed by the rest of our research.
- Separating review comments into positives and negatives makes reviews easier to read quickly and to understand.
- Sorting and filtering makes it easy for consumers to find the kind of information they’re after – but bad sorting and filtering tools can be frustrating and confusing.
- Granular ratings. Don’t just show the overall score: show the breakdown for individual features, like value, performance and appearance. Better yet, show these breakdowns for individual reviews and averaged across all reviews, and let users sort or filter by them.
- A trustworthy reputation elevates reviews from a quite useful feature that has a moderate impact on sales, to an immensely useful consumer tool that significantly increases revenues. Using an independent review service or prominently displayed a ‘review policy’ increases trust, which increases conversion.
- ‘Ask an owner’ style Q&A adds a great deal of value to your review service – and consumer trust is increased if they are able to get in touch with reviewers. (Just make sure you don’t disappoint them when it comes to ensuring questions are answered).