One of the constant challenges eCommerce sites face is how to draw new customers while keeping a lid on expenses. It’s the reason that eCommerce VPs keep such a close eye on their customer acquisition costs (CACs)—a key metric for any online store.
Some new data suggests there’s a surprisingly low-tech way for online retailers to drive new shoppers to their sites. It’s also pretty old school. It’s word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing.
Word of Mouth Beats Search for Discoverability
A new poll from Yes Marketing reveals that a fair number of digital shoppers use their offline personal networks to learn about unfamiliar retailers.
In fact, Yes Marketing found that 45% of online shoppers discovered a new retailer through a recommendation from a friend or family member.1 That was nearly three times the number of shoppers who had stumbled across a new retailer through a Google search.
But retailers should also tread carefully regarding word-of-mouth. Unsurprisingly, a bad reputation can have a harmful effect on your bottom line. Yes Marketing reported that nearly 70% of shoppers were swayed to avoid a retailer after seeing a negative review from family, friends, or news media.
Of course, drumming up some good word-of-mouth around your online store is easier said than done. You need to deliver quality products at a good price, offer a superior user experience, and provide shoppers with top-notch customer service—no small feat.
One way to improve your word-of-mouth marketing? Yes Marketing suggests giving your existing customers a reason to share their satisfaction by providing them with an incentive. That could consist of an exclusive offer, or a discount for those who recruit a new customer on your behalf.
Get Your Digital WOM On
eCommerce sites can also improve their word-of-mouth marketing with some digital strategies. Ratings and reviews, for example, can serve the same purpose as a personal recommendation. And while they might not provide all the benefits as a recommendation from a friend or family member, ratings and reviews perform a key task: providing shoppers with the social proof they need to overcome their hesitation about a purchase.
Yes Marketing noted that almost 20% of online shoppers were influenced by reviews or customer testimonials when considering making a purchase from a new site. And more than a third of shoppers said getting enough product information from a new retailer would help them to build trust.
When done correctly, Customer-Generated Content (CGC) can address those shopper needs.
Yes Marketing also suggested using content from product reviews and other testimonials in advertising campaigns.
It makes perfect sense. Your most satisfied customers are handing you some of the best ad copy you could ever come up with. Take advantage of it.
TurnTo Can Help
It’s helpful to think of your product reviews, customer testimonials and other CGC as a form of digital word-of-mouth marketing.
CGC can help retailers flesh out their product detail pages with information not normally found in a product description, such as fit or durability.
Sometimes those details are all that’s needed to push someone browsing your site into making a purchase.
TurnTo’s products are designed to collect more Customer-Generated Content like Ratings & Reviews and Visual Reviews so shoppers have a surplus of information at their fingertips. And research shows that the more reviews you have, the better.
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1 The Retail Shopper’s Journey to Loyalty; Yes Marketing, June 2019