Ecommerce Panel, Week 3: Six Ways to Leverage Reviews to Fuel Product Recommendations

User generated content (or UGC, as the cool kids call it) is the cherry on top of a successful ecommerce personalization strategy. Why? It’s simple – consumers trust in their fellow shoppers to help make educated purchasing decisions. Our final guest post in Nosto’s Ecommerce Panel comes from PowerReviews, who will share their insight on how to leverage reviews to fuel your website’s product recommendations.


From Amazon and Google to brand and retailer sites, today’s consumers have nearly limitless options when it comes to researching and purchasing products. In order to be successful during the holidays (and throughout the year), it’s key to focus on what you can do to deliver memorable experiences to your consumers in order to compete and win.

For starters, one important rule to remember: “one size fits all” is a marketing strategy of the past. Businesses must now deliver personalized content and experiences in order to attract and convert shoppers. Your ticket to doing that? Leverage reviews to fuel your product recommendations. Here are six ways to get the ball rolling during the holidays and beyond.


Enhance On-Site Recommendations with User-Generated Content

One of the best channels to serve up product recommendations to your shoppers is your own website. For example, if one of your visitors is from Chicago, you can show them popular products for others living nearby. Or, you can provide personalized recommendations based on past site behavior. For example, if a shoppers recently spent time browsing for baby clothing, you can serve up recommendations in this category.

Think about ways you can incorporate review data into these on-site recommendations. A key way to do this is by displaying the average star rating alongside each recommended product.


Compile Gift Guides Based on Review Data

During the holiday season, consumers are often shopping for products they know nothing about. For example, a man in his early 20s could be shopping for a holiday gift for his five year old niece. Or a woman could be shopping for a bottle of perfume for her mother-in-law.

Take the guesswork out of holiday shopping by analyzing your review data and compiling products into various shopping guides to help consumers find great gifts for everyone on their holiday shopping list. Some examples of shopping guides include:

  • Holiday favorites
  • Most loved gifts
  • Best gifts for teachers


Add Reviews to Targeted Email Campaigns

Email marketing continues to be one of the most effective ways to reach consumers. According to data from Campaign Monitor, for every dollar spent on email marketing, a business can expect an average return of $44. But today, more and more consumers want personalized communications from brands. In fact, 44% of buyers prefer to receive emails with personalized content.

Yet despite the growing demand for personalized content, MarketingProfs found that 42% of marketers don’t send targeted email messages, and only 4% use behavioral data to send relevant messages to their audiences.

One powerful way to stand out is to deliver communications that are personalized based on any number of factors, including past purchases or the amount of time that has passed since a shoppers’ last visit. Use ratings and reviews to make these personalized communications even more powerful. For example, let’s say you’re a clothing retailer, and a consumer who purchased men’s clothing from you in the past hasn’t returned to your site in a while. Send him a triggered email that includes a collection of top rated men’s clothing options. Or, if there’s a consumer in your database who recently purchased a skirt, send her a triggered email recommended related pieces. Be sure to include the average star rating for each item to build her confidence.


Enhance Cart Abandonment Emails with Star Ratings

Cart abandonment is an ongoing challenge for all ecommerce brands and retailers. According to data from SalesCycle, during the second quarter of 2017, 77.3% of retail consumers added items to their online shopping cart, but left the website before completing the transaction. During the busy holiday season, it’s even easier for consumers to get distracted and leave a site without making a purchase.

One effective way to entice shoppers to return to your site to complete their transactions is to send cart abandonment emails, reminding them about the items that are in their shopping basket. In order to make these emails even more compelling, include star ratings and written reviews for the products the consumer has in her cart, similar to what Crocs does in their cart abandonment emails.

Reminding a shopper about the great experiences other consumers have had with your products will give her confidence she needs to return to your site — and convert.


Include Reviews in Retargeting Ads

According to a Microsoft study, the average human attention span is quickly declining. In 2000, the average human attention span was 12 seconds – today it’s eight seconds. So it’s no surprise that it’s quite easy for your site visitors to become distracted and leave without making a purchase.

Retargeting ads can help by bringing attention to the items a consumer was shopping.. Consider enhancing your retargeting ads — and increasing your click through rate — by adding star ratings and excerpts from review written for the products the consumer was browsing for.


Add Reviews to Social Media Campaigns

Social media channels like Facebook and Instagram allow businesses to specify audience criteria that’ll make their ads as targeted as possible. For example, let’s say you’re a toy brand that has released a new toy for toddlers. You have the ability to put together a Facebook advertising campaign that’ll serve up an ad for this new toy to parents with toddlers. Add an extra boost of social proof to these targeted ads by including star ratings and an excerpt from a product review written by a parent raving about how their child loved the toy.

In addition, consider using social media advertising to direct consumers to the various gift guides you’ve created based on review data (which takes us back to point #2).


Wrapping Up – and Planning On

The last couple months of the year are a busy time for brands and retailers. At the same time, consumers have nearly limitless options when it comes to holiday shopping. Be sure you’re leveraging user-generated content — including ratings and reviews — to enhance your personalization strategy during the last couple months of the year and beyond. Happy holidays!

About the Author

As Chief Product Officer, Sara Rossio leads the product and design teams in defining and creating solutions that our customers love.

Watch a 4 minute demo
Let us demonstrate why over 2,600 leading retailers worldwide have chosen Nosto’s AI-based personalization platform.