The internet is the information superhighway which has made the world a global village. People are connected across geographical boundaries and are talking about anything and everything. The unhampered flow of information has got people talking and presenting their views online. From comparing brands to reviewing new products and providing feedback, a whole lot of conversations are taking place every second.
Brands cannot afford to turn a blind eye to these views and opinions being uploaded for public consumption through blogs, vlogs, product reviews etc. Many of these content creators have transformed into influencers and opinion leaders whose voices are being heard by millions of buyers. Whether it is a brick and mortar set-up or an e-commerce venture, every business is in need for online reputation management (ORM) to stay in the good books of the users, buyers, prospective buyers and influencers.
This requirement is more prominent in the case of e-commerce companies as they are operating online and need to maintain a credible position in the market to survive. To shed some more light on the topic, our SEO professionals at Netvision have explained the significance of reputation management for e-commerce businesses. Let us take a look.
1. Monitoring Conversations
Reputation management was earlier restricted to big conglomerate which intended to safeguard their public image. However, with the evolution of Smartphone and fast-paced internet connections, everybody is online and actively using a variety of platforms to access information. Single negative feedback or review which goes viral on the internet can tarnish the goodwill of a brand which is accumulated through years of marketing and promotions.
Misleading comments, fake reviews, false allegations can be easily circulated by disgruntled employees, competitors or a hacker with hateful intent. These negative reviews and feedback can affect the buying decision of prospective buyers and hamper sales. In worst cases, the backlash on social media channels can lead to winding up of the portal.
Thus it is vital for e-commerce sites to carefully listen to what is being said about their brand.Just like an effective multi-channel marketing plan, you need a 360-degree approach to monitor all the brand conversations happening across platforms.
Unless you are not aware of the conversations, you won’t be able to respond and put the crisis management policy into action. Thus scrutinising becomes an important tool utilised by ORM wherein, you can remove the libel information by sending legal takedown requests to the sites and upload press releases on authoritative sites to debunk the rumours.
2. Building Trust
E-commerce companies in Australia are thriving as people are showing a greater interest in online shopping. The revenue generated by the e-commerce industry in 2018 peaked to US$ 18,628 million, and it is expected to grow at 7.6% annually. The sector is spearheaded by fashion sites which are attracting consumers with discounts and offers.
In 2017, 6.7 million people visited Woolworth’s website and 4.6 million people used the Amazon US website. In the case of an online purchase, the buyer must be able to trust the brand as he/she will get to see the product only at the time of the delivery. The buying decision is built on trust and confidence enjoyed by the company.
For an e-commerce business, reputation means everything as negative reviews influence the purchase decision. These reviews are beyond the control of the marketers. This is where ORM comes into the picture. It cannot get rid of the harmful comments, but it helps in pushing them down.
The digital marketing agency comes up with strategies which move these comments down in the search results page and help to take them away from the plain sight of the viewers. It is achieved by regularly posting relevant and positive content on your website, blog, various discussion forums, social media channels, and linking to authoritative sites to make Google pull up the positive stories on its results page.
3. Driving Sales
Several surveys over the past few years have revealed that consumers trust online reviews and most of them read the reviews to determine the credibility of the brand and the quality of the products. In the internet-dominated world, online reviews help in shaping the perception of the buyers which is similar to the influence of peer recommendations.
Although strangers post online reviews, they are considered trustworthy by buyers. The higher the number of reviews for a product, the higher will be its conversion rate. However, it does not mean that the particular product must only have positive reviews or five-star ratings. In that case, it can make the buyer suspicious about the authenticity of the reviews.
Thus a mix of good, average and bad reviews can work in your business’s favour. The more honest and user-generated reviews your site gets, the more products will get sold. The only consideration is that the negative reviews should not overshadow the positive ones.
Additionally, Google will be showing more love towards your site if it gets more reviews and clicks by ranking it higher. Thus maintaining a positive reputation online helps in improving the bottom-line. ORM helps in creating encouraging first impressions and boosting the brand image by highlighting strengths and downplaying the weak points.
4. Engage With Customers
The worst mistake a business can make is to avoid customer feedback. To connect with your customers and build relationships, you need to engage with them regularly. Engagement involves listening to their criticism, queries and confusions across platforms. Sometimes consumers tend to vent their anger on social networking sites or discussion forums or the review sites.
Responding to their grievances in quickest possible time can help in strengthening the confidence of the users in the brand. With the ever-increasing popularity of social media, brand engagement has become more pronounced. Presence on official profiles and responding to reviews is a part of ORM which helps in suppressing the negative comments.
The positive views must be thanked as well to support brand loyalty. Further, you must encourage satisfied customers to write reviews and testimonials which can be shown on the website. You can include the reviews in online receipts and thank you e-mails sent after the purchase.
Creating profiles on review sites with pictures and opening hours further amplifies engagement. Adhere to the review policies of these sites to stay away from danger. For example, Yelp has a strict review policy which removes fake or suspicious reviews.
5. Brand Building
A credible web presence and transparent policies go a long way in building a highly reputable position in the market. As you improve your business’s online ranking with positive reviews and conversations, the profitability of the organisation multiplies. You can achieve higher sales with an esteemed online reputation.
You gain better visibility online through higher ranking in SERP. You can hire the best people in the business to run your company as highly skilled workers love to get associated with brands which have a fan following and reputable image in the industry. As ORM manages the reviews being uploaded by ex-employees online, you can represent your organisation as a friendly and congenial place.
It can make people eager to work with you and bring referrals onboard. Additionally, as you grow with a better ROI, you will find that more and more vendors and suppliers will be waiting to liaise with your venture. Thus you will have access to the best talent, high-quality supplies and beneficial partners which will help in the development of the business.
For an e-commerce website, online reputation is the key to gaining traffic and conversions. As a marketer keep offering the best products and get them delivered on time with excellent customer service. Align your unmatched service with professional ORM strategy, and you will be taking your business to the next level pretty soon.