2D Sales Drawings
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Image credit – Reevoo
Our recent blogs about industrial suppliers using Amazon Business, Amazon; Friend, Foe or Frenemy to Industrial Suppliers and 2 Industrial Suppliers Share Advice on Using Amazon, threw up the recommendation to ensure industrial suppliers use online customer reviews and customer ratings to differentiate their products from competitors – “Customer reviews really can make or break your success when selling on Amazon“. Also, some leading industrial suppliers already use online customer reviews, for example the W.W.Grainger and MSC Industrial websites both invite customer reviews. For those two reasons we’re following up with this blog to share the latest research on customer reviews and ratings.
Why Have Customer Reviews Become Important in eCommerce?
The reason is simple – they work! If you’ve purchased much via eCommerce recently you’ve probably been asked, even pestered, to write or video reviews and give ratings on your purchases. What works in B2C eCommerce usually transitions to B2B eCommerce and so it is with ‘customer reviews and customer ratings’. As you likely know from personal experience they work very effectively in B2C – think of Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, Amazon – and many studies have shown that displaying online reviews increases eCommerce revenue.
How Much Do Customer Reviews Increase Revenue?
One study found that customers are 63% more likely to buy from sites that display customer reviews. Reevoo (graphic above) found that displaying product reviews increased online sales by an average of 18%. This 2017 study by the Spiegel Research Center reports that displaying online reviews can increase conversion rates by up to 270%. Their summary: “We found that online reviews have a significant and quantifiable impact on purchase decisions – but the degree of that impact depends on a number of factors, such as star ratings, the nature of the review content, the number of reviews, the price of the item, and the source of the review.”
As you can see, the percentages span a wide range and it’s unpredictable for a particular company without enough comparable data. What we do know is that the presence of ratings and reviews, presented well, can have a significant positive impact on your eCommerce revenue.
As we’ve previously discussed B2B eCommerce is a far bigger revenue opportunity than B2C so it’s not surprising that big B2C eCommerce players (such as Alibaba and Amazon) have entered B2B too and that has accelerated the trend of B2B websites becoming more like B2C websites. B2B is bigger partly because B2B pricing is often significantly higher than B2C pricing and it turns out that customer review importance and usage goes up with the price!
Are Customer Reviews As Important in B2B as B2C eCommerce?
The answer is YES. B2B customer reviews are a product research priority for 49% of buyers according to this 2018 B2B Buying Disconnect research by TrustRadius into B2B purchases of technology products. Product demos remain the #1 information source for B2B customers, but user reviews moved up to #2 this year (vs. #5 last year). TrustRadius says, “Buyers are still interested in what analyst[s] have to say, but ultimately they want to hear from people like themselves. Their peers and others users are more relatable and provide a trusted view into what it is like to actually use these complex technology products”. TrustRadius also reports that, “B2B buyers want feedback, but they are also open to sharing feedback to help their peers. 84% said they would be willing to share their perspective with other buyers. Overall, 22% of buyers have written a review, 14% have served as a reference, 11% have provided a testimonial and 9% have participated in a case study.”
Why Do Customer Reviews and Customer Ratings Work?
As discussed here today’s buying process is often 70% over before buyers even talk to your salespeople. Buyers do their own research online. Assuming they find your website and product detail pages, those pages need to elicit trust in your product and brand. What could be better for achieving that than customer feedback from people in similar roles or similar needs? Isn’t that the best differentiation from competitors? You can’t change their buying process but you can make it more effective for them and at the same time make it more likely your part will be selected.
Look at it from the buyers’ point of view:
Here are our recommendations for B2B Industrial suppliers (manufacturers and distributors):
At CDS we review and share all available research, like these reports, as we continue to develop our industrial marketing technologies and services to help B2B industrial suppliers succeed with online marketing and eCommerce. As always, please share your comments below or, if you’d like our opinion on your B2B eCommerce plans, please call us or click either button below: