We’ve all heard how important product reviews are to help make a business successful, but are they that important and do they drive sales?
This month we are talking to Mike LaTour, founder and CEO of Soundwave Art™. Soundwave Art offers a unique experience of converting any sound into artwork and jewelry.
What do you do at Soundwave Art?
We create unique pieces of art. Anyone can be an artist by providing a recording or uploading an audio file or even a video onto their
From there, you can style and design your sound wave from an endless array of colors. From a baby’s heartbeat to wedding vows or simply saying I Love You. Every sound has a unique signature, so it would be accurate to say that every piece created at Soundwave Art™ is truly
Our Ecwid store offers many finishings including Acrylic, Canvas, Prints, Metal and Solid Wood. Our jewelry line continues to expand with a wide range of rings and pendants.
Our newest and most exciting product is our Soundwave Media™ package. When adding this package to one of our many compatible artwork products, our mobile app will bring your art to life by playing the audio file, or a video on top of your art using augmented reality!
We’ve worked long and hard to bring this new technology to the art world, and we are very excited about it.
Why did you start collecting product reviews?
We launched our store in Q4 2012, interest in our products was slow in the beginning. Given the fact that we were a new company with a unique idea, we found some hesitation on the part of potential customers. We were confident that we had a great idea and just needed a way to give shoppers greater confidence.
If you have just launched your store and don’t have many orders, don’t make the mistake of thinking I’ll install it when I start getting more orders.
We started testing some product review apps in 2014. There were some decent apps available, but we just didn’t see a big increase in reviews until we installed HelpfulCrowd.
HelpfulCrowd installed in a matter of minutes; shortly after that, we imported all reviews we had previously collected with other apps. We then personalized the review request emails automatically sent to customers after their order is delivered. The number of features, control, and triggers we found was unmatched in any other review app that we had used on a free plan.
The best part is that HelpfulCrowd listens to its users. We had some suggestions, and they didn’t just agree, they acted on it and the next thing we knew the feature was live in the app! We can suppress products, like gift certificates, from being included in the review requests and control when review requests are sent, and there are many other features options we are yet to utilize.
Do you really believe that product reviews helped your business be successful?
There is no doubt in our mind that product reviews have helped us grow more than any other activity. Sharing real customer stories to increase sales was only one benefit that reviews offered. The more reviews we received, the more we learned what was working and what could be improved. Reviews became a yardstick to measure how we were doing as a business.
The end game for us was not just sharing the reviews with other customers to drive more sales but understanding what our customers wanted us to start doing, stop doing and keep doing.
Other than direct communications, product reviews was an essential way for us to build credibility with our customers, showing we were a real business, with real customers, creating unique products.
Did it take long to collect many reviews?
It definitely didn’t happen overnight. Collecting reviews can be a difficult task for any business. In the beginning, we didn’t have many sales, so reviews were tough to come by. We expected the number of reviews collected to increase as our sales increased, but that wasn’t our experience with previous review apps we used.
We saw a change when we switched to HelpfulCrowd. Their review collection process was different to other apps, and it works with all email clients including Outlook. We saw an immediate increase in the number of reviews, especially customers who purchased more than one product on a single order.
One of the other things we love about HelpfulCrowd is how their app looks on our storefront. You can tell they have spent a lot of time to ensure that the styling and design integrate with our store design rather than looking like a 3rd party plugin. This is super important for being a store that sells art where design is everything.
What advice would you have for other merchants when it comes to working with product reviews or selecting a review app?
We can only speak from our experience, but we believe that these are important considerations for any merchant when working with product reviews and choosing an app.
Start today. If you have just launched your store and don’t have many orders, don’t make the mistake of thinking I’ll install it when I start getting more orders. The value of one review cannot be underestimated, and you never know which customer will write it.
It also provides invaluable insight of how you can improve your business. Many of the review apps offer free plans. If you’re just starting out, you’ll want to choose an app that has lots of free features but also provides great value for the money and flexibility as your business grows.
Be realistic. Customers write product reviews for many different reasons. Whether they write one or not can be influenced by many factors beyond the actual product experience. They can have the best purchase and product experience but if the review process looks too complicated or too much hassle they simply will ignore it.
When we switched to HelpfulCrowd, we saw our conversion rates increase immediately. We think one of the key reasons is not only the way this app collects reviews, but also the ability to receive multiple reviews in a single email when multiple products are purchased.
Build relationships. The ability to directly communicate with your customers is essential, so commenting on reviews is paramount: a simple thank you goes a long way. While this is good business sense, you’d be surprised at the number of merchants who don’t prioritize this activity or have to pay for this simple feature.
Review comments show shoppers the type of business you run, how you handle complaints and also provide you with a unique opportunity to build a direct relationship with the customer. As a bonus, research shows that customers are also more likely to buy from you again if their effort taken to write the review is acknowledged. This has been our experience as well.
Answer questions. If you don’t already have a product Q&A service on your site, you should seriously consider it. One of the main reasons visitors don’t buy is because they can’t find an answer to a question they have or can’t ask a question. Q&A not only increases sales but reduces customer service costs through the building of a specific product FAQ references. If you don’t already have a product Q&A feature, you can get it free with HelpfulCrowd.
Be visual. Shoppers love pictures and videos. Real pictures from real customers build even more confidence and trust, much more than just stock or catalog photos. HelpfulCrowd just launched media reviews which let customers upload up to five photos/videos that you can then share. You can trial this cool feature free when you sign up.
Socialise. You already know that social channels, like Facebook and Twitter, are super important. One way to create refreshing and unique social content is to publish customer reviews on these sites. It not only creates brand awareness, but you can create conversations by asking followers about their experience with the product.
Be transparent. Post the good, bad and ugly. As long as the review doesn’t violate guidelines, you should post it, and respond to it. One study shows that 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad reviews while 30% suspect censorship or fake reviews when they don’t see any negative opinions.
Our experience has taught us that there is no magic bullet to success, only a good idea, great execution, hard work and a willingness to listen to your customers. Product reviews have been a critical part of our success, helping us improve and increase sales through the listening and sharing of real customer stories.
Sign up today to join HelpfulCrowd and start turning Shoppers into Customers.