with Cory Mitchell, Manager
How do online shopping trust symbols (e.g. McAfee, BBB, Bizrate’s Customer Certified Medal) affect a customer’s online shopping experience? According to a Bizrate Insights study of online buyers, trust symbols are a key factor in a consumer’s comfort level on a site – 50% have used a trust symbol as a deciding factor in whether or not to purchase from a website. Understanding how consumers interpret these symbols, why they look for them, and where they expect to find them can help retailers take action to continue to move the needle on conversion.
Trust symbols offer consumers a sense of security when they are unfamiliar with a retailer
85% of consumers find trust symbols to be meaningful, and most interpret them to mean “security” (66%), “trustworthiness” (45%), and “reliability” (33%).
Most consumers search out these symbols when they are unfamiliar with a retailer, or if it is their first time making a purchase regardless of retailer familiarity, and 48% have clicked through on one of these symbols to verify information. Ratings and reviews also instill confidence and impact conversion, as 75% of consumers have read them when determining whether or not to make a purchase.
Consumers stop to look for trust symbols most often during checkout
79% of consumers look for trust symbols while on a retailer’s site. The sense of security the symbols bring is most important once they’ve gotten their wallet out and are ready to make a purchase.
Trust symbols should be easy for consumers to find
Location is key, as consumers look for trust symbols in very specific places. Since 40% look for a trust symbol at some point during the checkout or payment process, and 31% search one out on the homepage, retailers should ensure that trust symbols are prominently visible in more than one place in order to maximize their benefit.
It’s clear that despite the prevalence of online shopping, consumers still need reassurance before opening their wallets, and trust symbols are a key factor in tipping the scale towards the decision to purchase.
About the Study
The Bizrate Insights Trust Symbols Study and the Online Shopping Safety Study were conducted via the Bizrate Insights survey platform and offered to online buyers immediately after purchasing from the Bizrate Insights Network of over 5,000 e-commerce retailers in the US and Canada. Data from the Online Shopping Safety Study was collected from 5,106 online buyers from August 19 – 25, 2013. Data from the Trust Symbols Study was collected from 6,027 online buyers from August 27 – September 2, 2013.
For over 12 years, Bizrate Insights has helped retailers listen to their customers in a way that is fast and measurable, resulting in insights, action, conversation, and customer loyalty. The Bizrate Insights customer feedback and ratings platform allows retailers to collect seller ratings directly from verified customers.
Standard ratings are published across the leading comparison shopping site, Bizrate.com, and syndicated across the web’s largest search engines to help drive conversion and traffic. Collecting over 20 million surveys annually, Bizrate Insights is one of the largest sources of consumer-generated review content in the world, delivering actionable insights and valuable shopper data to key decision makers in e-commerce. Bizrate Insights is used by over 40% of Internet Retailer Top 500 retailers, as well as thousands of smaller boutiques.
Visit http://bizrateinsights.com to learn more about our FREE and paid buyer and site abandonment survey and reporting products.
For more information, please contact:
Vice President, Bizrate Insights
12200 W. Olympic Boulevard Suite 300
Los Angeles, California 90049
Our standard point-of-sale survey captures these 8 metrics to help track factors that influence conversion:
- Ease of finding what you’re looking for
- Overall look and design of site
- Clarity of product information
- Selection of products
- Charges stated clearly before order submission
- Prices relative to other online merchants
- Variety of Shipping options
- Shipping Charges
These metrics are found on our daily VitalMails and Vital Signs where you can track performance on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. You can also contact us to sign up for the free BizAdvisor report which not only provides regular snapshot of your website’s performance, but also how you compare to other retailers in your category. Couple that with our abandonment reporting which breaks out visitors, cart abandoners, and check-out abandoners and you have a quite a comprehensive outlook…FOR FREE. Yes. For free.
In the past few years, Bodybuilding.com has collected over 100,000 ratings (becoming Customer Certified in the process) and just won its first Platinum Circle of Excellence Award – a huge accomplishment! In light of this success, I wanted to talk to Colin about how Bodybuilding.com uses BizRate’s Ratings & Customer Feedback tools, and what they find most valuable.
Bodybuilding.com has integrated BizRate’s Ratings & Customer Feedback into their weekly Executive strategy meetings, paying close attention to both their survey scores and their customer comments. “We live and die by these numbers,” Colin stressed. Colin utilizes tools such as VitalMail, Vital Signs and a respondent level data file to put together these weekly reports. While the Executive Team looks at all of the survey scores, three areas of focus are the Net Promoter® score, customer support and shipping charges/options.
Bodybuilding.com constantly looks to their customer feedback as a guide for where to make improvements. While they are known for their superior customer support, their scores related to shipping were due for some improvement. Colin mentioned that while reading through customer comments recently, they noticed numerous complaints about the type of packing material that was being used in their shipments. After taking that feedback into account, they decided to make the switch from butcher paper to air bag inserts. Customers have been happy with this change, and it has had a positive impact on Bodybuilding.com’s ratings.
They also tried out a new shipping promotion a couple of months ago to see if that had an effect on their scores. According to Colin, “We take these numbers seriously, and take action where needed.” Having constant access to ratings and feedback helps Bodybuilding.com zero in on where changes need to be made, and to measure the effects of the programs they implement.
Upcoming initiatives for Bodybuilding.com include utilizing Data Pass Through (for country code and product sku (currently in beta)) to look at how scores differ between domestic vs. international customers, and to delve into product-level satisfaction.
Hot Topic’s commitment to customer satisfaction is evidenced by the 16 collective years that they’ve been using the BizRate Ratings & Customer Feedback Platform. Hot Topic has utilized the BizRate Ratings & Customer Feedback Platform since 2000, during which time it has maintained its Customer Certified standing and has collected over 150,000 customer ratings! Torrid.com has been using the ratings and feedback platform since 2002; it too is Customer Certified and has compiled over 50,000 customer reviews.
During our call, we talked about the feedback tools that Hot Topic uses, how they use them to validate insights, and some of the features and services they’d like to see us offer.
Hot Topic uses the BizRate Customer Feedback Form to collect customer ratings and reviews, as well as our very popular VitalMail and VitalSigns service. The Hot Topic team uses data collected through our feedback survey to monitor trends in overall customer satisfaction. But, more importantly, they use the data to validate feedback they receive from their customers. For example, the team believed that they could better serve customers’ needs with respect to order shipping, in terms of both rates and the range of shipping options. Using the responses from the BizRate Feedback Form related to customers’ satisfaction with shipping, the team was able to validate their belief. And, with this data, they are a introducing some programs and promotions that will better address their customers’ shipping preferences.
Hot Topic’s most widely applied use of the ratings & feedback tools is in understanding what their customers are saying about them and their shopping experience and customer service experiences. Joy Hussey, who’s been with the company for about 8 years, shared with me that the team also relies heavily on our VitalMail and VitalSigns products, both of which provide specific customer comments that are collected through the feedback form. In cases where customers grant permission (in the feedback form) to share their email address, Hot Topic proactively contacts their customers to follow-up with them about the comments they made.
I also asked Hot Topic what they’d like to see from us going forward. They identified four opportunities where we could better serve them. They are:
- Offer the ability to customize questions on their customer feedback form
- Better support on customers’ questions about survey incentives and promotions
- Faster turn-around time on adding subscribers to VitalMail
- Offer a visitor and cart abandonment survey product
I was able to address most of these areas of opportunity during our call.
Custom Questions: Merchants can customize question in their feedback form; this is offered as premium, fee-based service.
Better Support on Survey Incentives: We utilize various incentives and promotions, such as our popular Daily Cash Giveaway, to help drive response to the surveys. We have a dedicated customer service team that handles all inquires about these incentives and promotions. When your customers contact you with questions or issues related to these promotions, you may simply direct them to our customer service team; we’ll immediately and professionally follow-up with these respondents on your behalf and, then we’ll circle back with you on the resolution of the issue.
Faster Turn-Around on Adding Subscribers to VitalMail and QuickResponse: We’re aware that this is an issue. We hope to better address this in the coming year by offering self-service subscription management to these products.
Visitor & Cart Abandonment Survey: We are currently in beta with a product that offers precisely this. Currently, we have one well-known, branded retailer using the product. (In the coming weeks, we’ll reveal in this blog who it is and what their thoughts are about it).
So, while in our first user interview with Backcountry.com, we heard about how they rely on the BizRate Ratings to help boost their rankings in Google Product Search, in this second interview, learned about how Hot Topic uses our products to find out what their customers are saying about them.
Thank you Brita, Deanna, Joy, Tracy and Tricia for taking the time to speak with me.
As its website states, Backcountry.com is a pure online retailer focused on outdoor gear for the serious recreational athlete. Backcountry.com has been using the BizRate ratings platform for nine years, has collected over 100,000 points of customer feedback, is BizRate Customer Certified standing, and is a Circle of Excellence winner five years running! Their commitment to customer satisfaction is as genuine as their passion for the outdoors.
The primary purpose of our talk was to discuss how Backcountry.com used BizRate’s suite of customer insights & feedback tools. Their biggest application of our tools is in running monthly reports on trended views of customer satisfaction, and using the data to provide training and feedback to their Customer Service Representatives.
But, Greg Goodson expressed another really interesting benefit to using the BizRate Ratings platform: better ranking in Google Product Search. Backcountry.com, along with just about every other online retailer, uses Google Product Search to drive traffic to their site.
Google has done a great job of crawling, from various sources, customer-generated seller ratings. And, they seem to ascribe a decent amount of importance to seller ratings that are compiled from the BizRate platform. When shoppers search for products, the results also include a reference to those sellers’ ratings.
In Greg’s opinion (and he’s been at the traffic acquisition game for a couple of years), the seller ratings help boost the rank of a seller’s product search results, all things being equal. With an aggregate rating of 4.5 stars (out of 5) in Google Product Search, Backcountry.com seems to show up quite prominently. When I searched for a Kelty Villa Tent, they are in the third and fifth positions; and, when I filtered by stores with a rating of 4 stars or more, they occupy the first and third positions.
And, the Googlejuice didn’t seem to stop there. I search for Arc’Teryx, one of my favorite brands of ski apparel. For the term, Arc’Teryx Softshell Pant, Backcountry.com (and related properties) occupied positions 1 – 4 in Google Product Search.
In addition to helping boost positional rank in Google Product Search, both Gregs noted that their ratings also helped instill buyer confidence, which tends to result in better conversion rates.
So, if tapping into the voice of your customer and enabling a feedback loop isn’t reason enough to use BizRate Ratings & Customer Feedback Platform, perhaps getting a boost in Google Product Search and seeing better conversions on that traffic might appeal to you. In this economy, I’d say: Yes!