The internet has changed the relationship between businesses and consumers, and across all industries, customers are placing lots of stock in a firm's online reputation. Today, online reviews and ratings are fundamental tools used to choose where to shop, eat, visit, and more.
According toBrightLocal, the average consumer reads 10 reviews before they can trust a business. This means how your firm gets reviewed and ranked is critical to building customer rapport.
What can you do to obtain a positive online reputation? Unfortunately, there's no hard and fast answer.
A great place to start, though, is by looking at companies that dominate online reviews. The following five have a superb online reputation and are consistently ranked high by customers and review sites: ASOS, HubSpot, Shopify, Rakuten, JustFab.
Let's take a look at each of these companies and dig into why they're so well-reviewed. That way, you should get some excellent ideas for improving your company's reputation.
But, before we get to our examples, let's touch on why online reviews are so important. After all, how your company gets rated and talked about online can have a significant impact on profits.
The Importance of Online Reviews
There are six ways in which online reviews are vital to your business::
Driving purchases by social proof.
Improving brand visibility.
Expanding brand reach.
Aiding consumer decision making.
Providing a new channel for feedback and communication.
Social proof is the idea that consumers adapt their behavior based on what others – even strangers – think and do. In short, we're more likely to buy something if other people agree it's the right decision. For companies with an online presence, online reviews are a clear source of social proof.
Online reviews also make your brand more visible on search engines. It's widely understood that reviews are a ranking factor with Google and that local search gives a 6.5% weight to customer reviews.
A stream of positive reviews helps build trust as well as visibility. Consumers will often avoid firms whose ratings are consistently low. The chart below shows how online ratings play a significant role in a customer's decision to buy your product.
Online reviews measure your online reputation and companies with consistently high reviews are likely to grow organically through referrals. And, some consumers will find your positive reviews on third-party sites and may even read about the excellent customer experiences on your blog or external publications.
Online reviews also give you an extra channel to communicate with customers. Replying to reviews is a hallmark of firms that deliver superior customer service. It shows customers you care about their experience and are using their feedback to improve your processes.
Now that we've laid the groundwork for why reviews are so important, let's circle back to those examples and see what we can learn from them.
5 Companies That Dominate Online Reviews
You should, by now, understand the importance of online reviews. But, this leads to the obvious question, how can you improve your online reputation? The best place to start is by looking at what other businesses do to receive excellent reviews.
The following are five examples of firms with a superb online reputation. Some are software companies, and others are e-commerce outfits. They all exist in varying niches and serve different customers.
Founded close to two decades ago, ASOS is now a globally-renowned clothing brand. The firm sells its own line of clothing and accessories from over 850 brands and it serves and ships items to customers in 196 countries.
When businesses like these achieve such a scale, their reputations can sometimes suffer. That's not the case with ASOS because the brand is lauded online and inspires great loyalty from its customers. Here are two factors that play into ASOS's popularity.
Customer-Focus – ASOS is an online-only business and that makes it different from many other clothing retailers. The brand plays on this difference, by selling itself as a community. It incorporates customer-first policies and always keeps customer satisfaction at the forefront of its strategies.
Inclusivity – On the ASOS site, the firm states that they "believe in a world where you have total freedom to be you, without judgment." Those ideas of inclusivity are core to the ASOS brand, so the company promotes body positivity and uses "real people" for its models.
Logistics and shipping is the area that ASOS excels the most, though. The delivery and returns from ASOS are exceptional and the brand serves hundreds of countries, yet still offers same and next day delivery options.
ASOS manages to shine in this area thanks mostly to its forward-thinking warehouse management. The business has invested heavily in warehouse management software which has helped ASOS streamline logistics across the board.
That allows them to offer a delivery service that more prominent brands can't match. ASOS provides fast and efficient delivery and its standard delivery option is free in most countries. It also ensures the arrival of items in just two to three days and has an affordable next day delivery option as well.
By focusing on logistics as it's differentiator, ASOS found a way to improve the buying experience for its customers.
2. HubSpot - Understand the customer journey.
HubSpot's vision is to help businesses "grow better." The company offers an all-in-one marketing package for SMBs that may have only one marketing employee. As such, ease-of-use is important since it ensures HubSpot's product is accessible to its target audience.
Another key to the brand's success is the range of features incorporated in its product. Users can edit, personalize, and track email campaigns all from one location. And, campaigns can be tied to other tools like your CRM, so you can create content that's specific to individual customers.
Perhaps one of the best selling-points for HubSpot's platform is its original, yet straightforward, pricing plan. The business operates a freemium pricing plan where its base package is free to use, but still includes useful tools and features. As you "grow better" with the software, customers can buy premium tools at a higher price.
That style of pricing is ideal for small businesses. When they're starting out, the free plan will offer all they need. Then, as they grow, they can quickly scale up their service to suit their new needs.
What helps HubSpot maintain such a strong online reputation is its understanding of its customers' needs and goals. If you look at its positive reviews, you'll see that HubSpot offers solutions that are valuable to its target audience.
But, it's not only on Shopify's site where you'll find glowing reviews of the brand. In fact, G2 named Shopify as the 5th-best software company in the world.
Shopify's reputation is earned through its comprehensive nature. Its users can get everything they need to build and maintain a successful website.
As well as site-building and editing tools, Shopify also takes care of web hosting. It also has built-in marketing tools that help get any site off the ground. Lastly, the company's technical support team is also second to none.
This makes Shopify a one-stop-shop for all kinds of businesses. Small companies can use it to secure their online presence while huge multinationals can host their ecommerce pages on it. That's demonstrated by Tesla, the enterprise car manufacturer, which uses Shopify for its online store.
If you're looking for a Shopify-like reputation online, think about how you can optimize your customer experience. What can you add to your product or services that make your offer more comprehensive than your rivals? You might need a customer journey map to help you identify potential opportunities to delight customers.
4. Rakuten - Maintain your edge through innovation.
Rakuten may be one of the most successful ecommerce businesses you've never heard of. The Japanese giant is one of the largest ecommerce platforms in the world and in its home country, it's a close rival to Amazon.
The brand is also one of the most popular and well-reviewed online. It ranks amongst the10 most-liked retailers on Facebook and has a very positive online reputation. And, as we can see from the graph below, all that success has translated into financial opportunity.
What, though, has gained Rakuten its success in terms of online reviews? The brand has always been on the cutting-edge of ecommerce in Japan.
Rakuten – then known as MDM – launched as an online marketplace in 1997. That was right at the beginning of the ecommerceboom when the brand was pioneering this space. In the 23 years since its inception, innovation has remained a core value of the company.
Much like Amazon, Rakuten has been quick to adapt and diversify. Once a simple ecommerce provider, Rakuten is now a leading player in the streaming, mobile messaging, and finance spheres.
What delights Rakuten customers is the company's commitment to optimization. The idea behind which gets summed up in the firm's corporate philosophy:
"Rakuten Group's mission is to contribute to society by creating value through innovation and entrepreneurship."
Rakuten is constantly finding new ways to improve experiences for its users. By collecting customer feedback and studying its competitors, the company has consistently rolled out new features and services that keeps its target audience engaged.
JustFab is another international brand that dominates online reviews, and customers can't get enough of the fashion-subscription ecommerce site. In fact, as many as 10 million people like and interact with the brand on Facebook.
That fact that JustFab excels on social media is no surprise. One of the secrets to the brand's success is how it creates a sense of community amongst its followers. The innovative JustFab business model is all about the idea of personalization.
Customers take a brief fashion quiz to gain access to a customized online store. The selection of items available there is tailored to the customer's tastes. A user can then sign up to the brand's subscription service which gives them a 30% or greater discount, in exchange for a monthly fee.
This business model is unique and original. It gives customers the sense that JustFab is a fashion community driven by its customers. Customers love the idea that discounts are rewards for being part of the community, and therefore become more engaged with the brand.
How to Improve Your Online Reputation
Each company we've talked about dominates online reviews. Industry experts, reviewers, and most importantly, customers, rate them as the best brands in their niches. Having such a strong online reputation only serves to help them attract and delight customers.
But, copying any one of the businesses we've analyzed won't work for your brand. There are, however, lessons you can learn from each that can guide you on your way. The reasons why these firms have such good reputations are as diverse as the companies themselves.
Take on board all of those lessons, and you'll find your ideal way to dominate online reviews.