In late September, I’ll be making my way down to the coast of Connecticut for my cousin’s wedding. This occasion is exciting for a number of reasons. First, I get to witness my cousin marry the love of his life. Secondly, I’ll be joining my other cousins who I don’t see nearly as much as I’d like to. And lastly, this gives me an excuse to get a dress from Rent the Runway!
For readers who are not repeat customers like I am, Rent the Runway is a fashion company that rents designer apparel and accessories to partygoers. I often find myself using Rent the Runway for special occasions not only because of their great selection and easy end-to-end experience but also because it eliminates any doubt I have about my final decision: Rent the Runway is a site that has fully embraced the consumer review. Whenever I spot a dress that I think I may want to rent, I immediately scroll to the reviews to read feedback from former customers. Whether the review is good or bad, Rent the Runway proudly displays comments on overall fit and satisfaction.
Unlike Rent the Runway, many brands have a fear of consumer reviews—a fear that some reviews spurred by emotion may spread the wrong message and deter future patrons. The key is to look at reviews as organic, user-generated stories that unlock opportunities. Think of consumer reviews as mini stories. Here’s why your brand needs them.
Every day millions of people turn to social media to share their thoughts and feeling about products. They check into stores, Instagram a picture of a new product they bought, and Tweet about how they’re using it. What if your brand was able to steal some of that engagement for your site? Encouraging consumers to tell their story enables brands to create a community around their brand consisting of individuals who actually use their products. By positioning reviews as a forum, your brand is enabling open conversation, facilitating trust and transparency, two traits that buyers seek.
Marketers are always concerned about nurturing their leads. Customer testimonials allow you to trade hats and provide customer service. Replying to reviews, both positive and negative, allows your consumers to put a face to the brand, and taking the time to read and process their story will be appreciated and in turn foster a deeper connection.
Gaining audience insight is another helpful takeaway from consumer reviews. Real consumers are sharing their honest use of your products. Brands are able to get a look into true use cases for their products and see what features their users value. Their unbiased feedback allows brands to understand potential upgrades and fixes that their audience is looking for.
It’s time brands take reviews for what they really are: mini stories. After all, they have all the elements of a good story: a character, setting, conflict, and an emotional appeal and response. If brands can leave their fear of negative reviews at the door, they can open the way for greater dialogue and relationships with their consumers. The above are just some of the great opportunities that can come out of consumer reviews. The next step is to develop the right strategy for your team to promote and nurture these reviews.
If you want to read more stories on building a loyal audience, subscribe to the Content Standard Newsletter.