When building a website, there are a number of integration options for businesses to consider. A web design company may recommend adding a contact form, for example, to make it easy for prospective customers to ask questions and get in touch. There are all sorts of options to consider — everything from two-factor authentication (an important aspect of ecommerce website design) to integrated image galleries. But perhaps one of the most important for modern businesses is adding review functionality.
What is Review Functionality?
Quite simply, adding review functionality means enabling your website visitors to contribute towards the growth of your website, by leaving their own reviews on your products, your services, or even on the company itself. There are many ways in which you can do this, and your web developer will usually ask you how much control you want to retain over the reviews. You may wish to allow visitors to add their own text or images, to rate a product through icons only, or approve reviews prior to site publication.
Why are Reviews Important?
We can break website content down into two categories: website content that we create ourselves as part of an ongoing content marketing campaign, and peer-generated content, which is website content that has been added by a visitor, rather than by the business – or by that business’ web design company.
Traditionally, owner-generated content has dominated web design. That’s because ecommerce was typically considered to be a one-way street, and customers wanted businesses to take an authoritative role. Today, however, customer expectation is evolving. With the introduction of social media networks, doors were opened up to two-way communications between buyer and seller, and the B2C relationship has changed significantly. Today, there is much more equality in terms of the business and the consumer.
Equality has redistributed the balance of value, and today’s website visitors place just as much value on peer-generated content as they do on owner-generated content. Consider that 90% of consumers read online reviews, and that three quarters of people trust a business more if they have positive reviews.
What we can clearly see is that including review functionality in web design can help to influence purchasing decisions, but there is another very important reason for allowing your audience to share their experiences: insight. Adding review functionality provides a unique opportunity to analyse visitor opinion, learn what your audiences like and don’t like, and make tweaks, enabling you to offer a fantastic experience.