Using customer feedback to increase sales, lower costs and improve your social media marketing

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1 Great Service Superb Products Good Value! I d Recommend You! Using customer feedback to increase sales, lower costs and improve your social media marketing

2 INTRODUCTION Asking customers for feedback after every purchase on your web site and publishing their comments is proven to increase your sales by up to 18%. This whitepaper explores customer feedback and combines the lessons of over 200 large and small ecommerce players who have implemented the feefo independent customer feedback system. It explores how B2B and B2C companies like Charles Tyrwhitt, Samuel Windsor, MandM Direct and Clifford James have increased their sales, and the whitepaper gives you the tools to evaluate the impact that adding feedback will have on your business. For those already using customer feedback systems, it provides vital insight into improvements you can make with your existing system. For those yet to implement any form of unmoderated customer feedback, it will help you understand and learn the lessons of those who have gone before you. For the team here at feefo, we are sharing the results of our experiences working with our B2B and B2C ecommerce customers, both here in the UK and indeed, globally. MATT EAMES COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR, FEEFO. Tel: PS. Should you wish to find out more, please visit and register for our free trial offer, giving you the chance to test the impact feefo s independent feedback system can have on your business.

3 5 TRUTHS OF FEEDBACK It is a widely known fact that internet shoppers and consumers are sharing stories, views and recommendations of their experiences with online shopping more than ever before. These conversations categorically influence decisions about what to buy, and where to buy it from. The age of Social commerce is upon us and consumers are talking about you, your brand and your products. THERE ARE SOME NEW TRUTHS THAT RETAILERS SHOULD BE AWARE OF CONSUMERS ARE SHARING THEIR EXPERIENCES 75% say that their choice of retailer was influenced by what they read on social media sites CONSUMERS TRUST FEEDBACK FROM PEOPLE THEY HAVE NEVER MET 90% of consumers online trust recommendations from people they know; 70% trust opinions of unknown users. (Econsultancy) Consumers were willing to pay between 20% to 99% more for a 5-star rated product than for a 4-star rated product (comscore/kelsey) CONSUMERS USE THE EXPERIENCES OF OTHER CUSTOMERS TO DECIDE WHETHER TO BUY One-third of all retailers who implemented feedback systems are improving their sales conversion rate by more than 10% (etailing Group) CONSUMERS TRUST HONEST, CANDID FEEDBACK Reviews are nearly 12 times more trusted than descriptions that come from manufacturers (emarketer) CONSUMERS WILL GO LOOKING FOR FEEDBACK EVEN IF YOU DO NOT PRESENT IT ON YOUR SITE 84% of consumers said they were more likely to check online for reviews prior to making a purchase compared to twelve months ago (Retail Bulletin)

4 KEY STRATEGIC QUESTIONS WHEN IMPLEMENTING OR LOOKING TO IMPROVE AN EXISTING FEEDBACK AND REVIEW SYSTEM, THERE ARE SOME KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK, WHICH HELP YOU CHOOSE THE RIGHT SOLUTION FOR YOUR BUSINESS. Are you concerned about what your customers may say? A customer feedback system means your customers help you identify and prioritise which improvements you can make. The amount of business intelligence you receive from your customers will be invaluable. Your customers know what s best and will tell you. Should you integrate reviews into your website? Customers need to be able to find all your reviews and feedback, so displaying it clearly and concisely on your site will keep them on your product pages, keep them interested, keep them shopping. How do you get the most SEO benefit? Fresh User Generated Content with content rich key words and descriptions will add SEO juice to your site. The more feedback and reviews you get, the better for online search. Having a third party that hosts your feedback will boost your inbound links too. Who do you allow to leave feedback - customers only or anyone? Restrict this to GENUINE customers who have bought from your site. You should never allow your site to be open to reviews from a competitor, an ex-member of staff or simply, anyone not qualified or genuine. Should you edit the responses? No. Today s online consumer is a much more savvy individual. They won t trust your reviews and feedback if it looks too clean. Show off the good and action the not-so-good. Should you let your customers comment on everything? Feedback is vital business intelligence. Ask your customers to tell you what they think. Their responses will shape and improve what you already do and show them you welcome their comments. Should you encourage sharing of reviews? Social media sharing is happening already. Let them post their positive reviews of your business - their friends get to see and might just buy too! Should you have independent branded feedback? Using an independent feedback system shows that you are not fearful of transparency with your reviews. Today s consumers are aware that no one gets it right 100% of the time (and if they say they do, it lacks credibility). Its how you put things right and how passionate you are about customer care and loyalty that counts. What about hosting my own in-house feedback system? It s great that you are asking for feedback. But so many sites are full of product pages saying Be the first to review Consumers are more likely to be inspired to post feedback and a review if they know its going to be made public.

5 SUCCESSFUL FEEDBACK SYSTEMS 4 Leading Review Companies one two three feefo Do not allow editing Reviews verified Ask for service reviews Enhance SEO Reporting tools Respond publically Market leading response rate On site review system Match feedback to orders Consumers are suspicious of purely positive feedback. The most effective approach is only allowing real genuine customers to leave feedback. You can then encourage your customer services team to monitor all the comments and respond immediately to any negative comments. Publishing customer feedback leads to less traffic into your customer services team (for MandM Direct, it reduced by 25%). Customers are leaving feedback in many places. Your own feedback forum means these conversations take place where you can monitor and respond. If these comments are made on an independent feedback and review site which carries credibility, then the feedback shows honesty, integrity and transparency. The alternative is to create your own feedback system. However, this approach carries suspicion with customers, who assume a degree of manipulation and moderation by you. It can destroy the credibility of the reviews - particularly if every single one of them praises your business. Your business is a great business of course but now and again, mistakes occur, deliveries fail, products break. The consumer knows this. Subscribing to an official feedback system means you control the feedback conversations. It reduces the threat to your brand, your reputation and your sales. If you have no direct relationship with an alternative feedback platform, you cannot be sure that those who leave feedback are, your genuine customers, and you are left at the mercy of the comments made by whoever chooses to publish them.

6 CALCULATE A RETURN ON YOUR INVESTMENT Most ecommerce organisations always strive to improve their web site conversion rate, as a small uplift can lead to substantial increases in overall sales and revenue... and profit! According to IMRG, pure play online and catalogue retailers have mastered the ability to convert clicks into sales, with a high conversion rate of 4.08%. Leading players are achieving significantly higher conversion rates - according to Nielsen Online, Amazon 17.2% on site conversion rate and CD Wow achieve 16.9%. since using customer feedback, we have grown 30% and forecast further growth NW, CEO, Charles Tyrwhitt CUSTOMER FEEDBACK INCREASES CONVERSION RATES A survey of eretailers by the etailing Group shows that this pattern is repeated across the industry: Conversion rate increase Respondents (%) 20% or more 11% 11% to 20% 21% 1% to 10% 5% CUSTOMERS OF FEEFO HAVE EXPERIENCED SALES LIFTS OF 18% AND MORE. ecommerce professionals who are considering investing in customer feedback can use this calculation to determine the uplift needed to pay back any investment. CONVERSION RATE Number of SALES = Conversion rate Number of Site Visits

7 LESSONS FROM SUCCESSFUL CUSTOMER FEEDBACK PROGRAMS USING YOUR CUSTOMERS TO SPREAD THE WORD Today, consumers are more socially connected than ever before. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms allow the users to share content and their opinions with a wider network of people. Asking for feedback means they can share the conversations they are already having about you with all their contacts. Since using feedback our most important outcome has been converting customers with issues into advocates CEO, Koodos 7 in 10 consumers share their reviews with friends, family or colleagues, spreading the message to like minded potential customers (Deloitte & Touche). 75% say that their choice of retailer was influenced by what they read on social media sites [Source: Econsultancy]. LESSONS Implement a feedback system you will be able to host the conversations that are taking place about you already Monitor negative feedback, act on it and respond accordingly, as this turns a negative experience into a positive one and converts the critic into an advocate Only let GENUINE customers leave feedback if you proactively contact them after every sale, you will increase loyalty and encourage responses Embrace social media marketing to promote all your positive reviews and feedback don t keep the good news to yourself 77% of website owners have found that User Generated Content increases traffic. 56% found User Generated Content lifts their conversion levels. 42% watched User Generated Content increase the average spend on their site. (Source: econsultancy survey of 360 website owners)

8 LESSONS FROM SUCCESSFUL CUSTOMER FEEDBACK PROGRAMS ENCOURAGE EXISTING CUSTOMERS TO RETURN TO YOUR SITE Asking your customers for feedback after every sale gives you the opportunity to re-engage with them. Your customers are most receptive to these invitations, so long as they are short and sweet and not the length of a survey! Response rates are typically close to 20%, compared to industry standard click through rates of 4%. Online UK retailers reported improved customer retention and loyalty by 73% once they implemented rating and reviews. (Source: emarketer) LESSONS Don t inundate your customers, filter the amount of times they should receive feedback. Your feedback system should allow you to set any number of parameters to maximise responses with the minimum of intrusion Avoid other follow-up communications at a similar time to the request for feedback MandM Direct is one of the UK s leading online clothing and sports outlets, selling up to 5,000 lines at any one time, and has over one million customers on its database. They offer discounted brands including Adidas, Bench, Superdry, Henleys, Timberland, Diesel and Puma with a constantly changing and updating range. feefo has enabled MandM Direct to gain a much better understanding of their products and what their customers are looking for at the start of each season. This in turn makes seasonal merchandising a much more accurate process, where it is possible to match customer needs with the actual product buying mechanism. This leads to a lower retailer stock risk, higher sell-through and less need for extreme end-of-season discounting. The business is now listening to the voice of the customer in all merchandising decisions. feefo gives us the opportunity for our customers to give other potential customers a feel for what shopping with us will be like both good and bad MandM Direct, Maketing Director, Neil Sansom

9 LESSONS FROM SUCCESSFUL CUSTOMER FEEDBACK PROGRAMS GET LESS PRODUCTS RETURNED Asking for customer feedback means the most common misconceptions about products can be identified and product descriptions updated accordingly. eretailers have discovered that products with reviews have a 20% lower return rate than those without reviews. Since launching feedback on our site we have seen an increase in sales of 15% now that prospective customers can review independent customer feedback from other satisfied customers, giving them the reassurance they need to proceed with a purchase Returns can be the costliest part of your online trading. Reducing your return rate can improve the profitability of your campaigns significantly. LESSONS Calculate the financial saving that could be achieved from reducing your return rate. Use this figure when considering investment in a customer feedback system Reducing return rates for retailers is a priority

10 LESSONS FROM SUCCESSFUL CUSTOMER FEEDBACK PROGRAMS MAXIMISE YOUR CONVERSION RATE The key driver for implementation of a feedback system is increasing the sales conversion rate. Displaying un-moderated and up-to-date customer reviews can make the most of retailing in a competitive online marketplace. In the case of Samuel Windsor, uplift of 18% in sales can be attributed to their implementation of a customer feedback system. Customer confidence will ensure more and more website browsers convert into paying customers and subsequently themselves become product and brand advocates. Conversions on our web site increased by 18% as soon as we put the feedback live on the site IB, CEO, Samuel Windsor and Clifford James LESSONS Displaying your reviews onsite ensures your customers are not navigating away from your website to find reviews and potentially buying elsewhere. Calculate your return on investment during trial or implementation of a customer review system. More conversions will result in more reviews which will drive even more conversions.

11 CONCLUSION Customer feedback systems are increasingly playing an important role in every ecommerce marketer s strategy. The best programs use candid, honest, feedback from genuine real customers, backed up with a proactive customer services effort to answer comments in an open, honest and transparent way. Most encouragingly, feedback systems are lifting site traffic, conversion rates and average purchase values, showing customers respond to this approach. Internally, it provides vital business intelligence regarding overall performance and a prioritised roadmap of product and service improvements, that will lead to better customer satisfaction and higher levels of loyalty. We ve relied on our experience of working with over 260 different ecommerce retailers to provide the insight in this whitepaper. In the true sense of customer feedback, we d welcome your thoughts and comments you can get in touch by at Perhaps most significantly, with proven uplifts in your business metrics, it is relatively simple to predict the impact of any investment in feedback programs, whether you are improving an existing system or launching a brand new initiative.

12 About feefo feefo is an extremely cost effective, automated customer feedback system for any business with an online presence. Clients use it to grow their business and consumers use it to gain confidence and trust, when they shop online. What makes feefo unique is that only genuine customers are invited to leave feedback, thus guaranteeing the responses received are genuine too. Our clients include Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts, Baker Ross, MandM Direct, The White Company, Lands End, Joe Browns, Crew Clothing Co., Fat Face, Gant and more.. To find out more, please contact: Matt Eames, Commercial Director Em: Mob: Tel: Url: Try feefo with our free trial. We ll ask your customers for feedback for free, and you can see the impact customer feedback has on your business. Visit for more information Published: March 2011 Author: Matt Eames Commercial Director, feefo

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