18 Jun

3 Ecommerce Reputation Killers, And How To Fix Them

3 Ecommerce Reputation Killers, And How To Fix Them

3 Ecommerce Reputation Killers, And How To Fix Them

Guest post by Scott Brandley and DJ Sprague, CEO and CMO of ShopperApproved.com - one of the oldest, largest, and highest-rated online reputation management platforms in the world.

When it comes to ecommerce, your reputation is by far one of your most valuable assets.

In many ways, it’s like a two-edged sword. Respect and nurture it, and it can bring you incredible wealth and success.

But ignore or neglect it, and it can quickly destroy everything you worked so hard to create.

Ultimately, there are three reputation killers most ecommerce companies face that, if left unresolved, can have significant consequences.

Problem 1: They Unknowingly Allow Bad Actors to Manage Their Reputation

With technology and social proof replacing traditional word-of-mouth, consumers rely heavily on your online reputation when deciding whether to buy from you.

In a perfect world, your online reputation would be a direct and honest reflection of your business, making it easy for customers to trust you.

Unfortunately, this is not the case in the real world.

In the real world, your reputation is a commodity, and there are dozens of highly influential websites—from which hundreds of millions of consumers get advice—that are highly motivated to defame, damage, and even destroy your online reputation for their own financial gain.

Not only that, but the larger and more successful your company becomes, the more these websites work against you.

And unfortunately, most businesses don’t realize the extent that these websites are actually hurting their reputation, and don’t know how to fight back even if they do; so they often find themselves feeling incredibly frustrated and discouraged.

In their minds they’ve invested years of hard work and effort, and have poured their hearts and souls into building and running a good, honest company. They just don’t understand how they can have a bad reputation when they’ve tried so hard to do things the right way.

And, because everything online is so visible and public, a bad reputation, if unremedied, can lead to a variety of unexpected challenges and business problems, including:

  • Lower employee morale
  • Lower customer loyalty
  • Higher pay-per-click (PPC) costs
  • Lower click-through rates
  • Lower organic search results
  • Lower website conversion rates
  • Lower average order value (AOV)
  • High customer acquisition costs (CAC)
  • Low customer lifetime value (LTV)
  • Lower customer satisfaction
  • Higher return rates, and
  • Lower overall sales

And to add further insult to injury, a bad reputation can also have negative repercussions for investors and shareholders, along with lower market valuations and higher costs of capital.

Problem 2: They Don’t Know How to Fully Leverage Their Reputation in Search

Let’s talk about Google for a minute. If you want to have a thriving business online, not only do you need a great reputation, but you also need to show up prominently in search results so that potential customers can find you.

The importance of search visibility is supported by the largest study on brand trust of its kind.

A global Edelman survey of 16,000 adults found that “search engines rank as the single most trusted online source for consumers.”

In other words, consumers trust search engines to display the most trusted content and relevant answers to their questions at the top of the search results. And if Google doesn’t trust it, then neither do they.

If you don’t show up on the top half of page one, you’ve lost before even getting started.

It’s not surprising, then, that nearly 70% of all internet traffic goes to the top five organic listings on the first page of a Google search, with the number one listing getting over ten times more traffic than the number ten listing.

This means that if you don’t show up on the top half of page one, you’ve lost before even getting started.

This is why, according to Marketing Sherpa, companies with an average of $1 million in revenue spend 81% of their marketing budget on SEO and PPC, and larger brands with $100 million in average revenue spend more than 39% of their entire marketing budget on SEO and PPC.

This amounts to investing anywhere from several thousand to several million dollars per month in organic (SEO) and paid (PPC) traffic strategies, depending on the size of the company, because ranking at the top of search is that important.

Think of it this way…

The top search results for a question, solution, category, or product create top of mind awareness, familiarity, and trust at the moment of truth.

With so much time and money being dedicated to SEO and PPC, it begs the question, “How does your reputation impact the effectiveness of these efforts?”

“Is it even worth investing time and money into SEO and PPC if you have a bad reputation?”

It’s an interesting dichotomy. On the one hand, if you’re in this situation then you’re probably aware that you have a reputation problem that negatively impacts consumer trust; but on the other hand, you need more traffic and conversions for your business to survive, so what can you do?

It’s like trying to chop down a big tree with a blunt axe. You can do it, but it’s going to be really painful and take a lot of additional time and effort.

However, if you first sharpen your axe—or in this case, focus on improving your reputation—your hard work and effort are much more productive and profitable.

Problem 3: They Don’t Know How to Fully Leverage Their Reputation on Their Website

When managed properly, your reputation should naturally and seamlessly extend beyond the visitor’s search results and onto your site.

Yes, it’s true that if a customer has reached your website then they’re probably interested in what you have to sell, but your reputation efforts can’t just end in search, they have to continue on throughout your website.

Unfortunately, this is something that many companies tend to overlook.

It’s very important to display specific types of reputation-based trust signals and content throughout your site in ways that naturally motivate and encourage visitors to move towards the checkout page.

The trick is knowing what to display, and where and how to display it to establish the trust necessary to convert as many of your visitors as possible into happy, paying customers.

As you can imagine, this is an ongoing process, requiring various aspects of behavioral design and psychology, along with continual experimentation and testing.

So How Can You Resolve These 3 Issues?

Ultimately, the solution to these problems comes down to understanding how the reputation industry works, and knowing how to leverage your online reputation in different ways to get the most out of it that you can.

This includes getting more positive reviews in more places, showing up more prominently in paid and organic search results with star ratings, and displaying your reviews in just the right places on your website.

Doing these three things will help you to build more trust and authority, establish social proof throughout the web, get more traffic to your website, and ultimately increase your online sales.

In our new book, Reputation King, we discuss these strategies in great detail, and show you exactly how to repair, optimize, and leverage your online reputation to ultimately become the undisputed leader in your space.

As leading experts in the reputation industry, we’ve helped tens of thousands of ecommerce websites to collect over 150 million reviews over the past 14 years, so we know a thing or two about how to help online brands to optimize their online reputation.

Ultimately, you win the reputation game by adding ratings and reviews everywhere you possibly can. Reviews are almost like a sales lubricant - removing friction along the conversion path. The more reviews you have and the more places those reviews are displayed, the less friction there is to your brand, and the more likely consumers are to leave Google and visit your site.

Then, once they’re on your site, ratings and reviews when strategically placed, continue to grease the skids and move potential buyers toward the checkout page and ultimately the buy button.

This is how you win the reputation game. Not having a reputation plan and being passive about reviews is a losing proposition across the board. If you really want to win online you need to embrace ratings and reviews, and make the process of collecting, managing, and displaying them one of your company’s top priorities.

Bio: Scott Brandley and DJ Sprague are the CEO and CMO of ShopperApproved.com, and co-authors of the new breakthrough book “Reputation King” (You can get a free full-color, digital copy of Reputation King at reputationking.com/coffeebreak.)

In addition to being on the front lines of one of the oldest and largest review companies in the world, Scott and DJ also created the “Influence for Online Reputation Management” course for the Cialdini Institute - utilizing a variety of industry leading behavioral psychology principles and strategies to help educate and improve the online reputation, traffic, and conversion rates of leading ecommerce brands through science.