Optimizing Product Reviews for Different Buyer Personalities

We’ve talked often about the buying modalities made famous by the Eisenberg brothers and Future Now. We did a Webinar about it and a couple blog posts about how different personality types respond to email subject lines and email creative.

Did you know you can also optimize customer reviews for different buyer types? I don’t mean editing customer reviews — rather the way you implement reviews.

Read on for examples on how you can capture the attention, interest and desire of different customer personalities with customer reviews so they’re more likely to take action and buy from your site.

First, I’ll recap the characteristics of each buying mode, and then offer some suggestions and examples.

Competitive Shoppers

  • Likes to be the first to own a product – responds to new items, featured or best-sellers
  • Interested in facts and summaries – without clicking
  • Doesn’t want to dig for information
  • More likely to use search box than browse
  • Interested in cross-sells and up-sells, but doesn’t want to click through to learn more

Optimizing for Competitive Shoppers:

  • Incorporate your best selling products with their ratings and reviews into email creative, home page features, category pages and even product filter and search results.
  • Show the most helpful positive review and the most helpful negative review like Amazon.
  • Offer a search box for reviews (for example, I want to know if anyone has problems with this on their Mac, so I’d search reviews using “Mac” or “Mac OSX”). Again, Amazon does this.
  • Break down star rating by attributes like Delightful Deliveries does.
  • Any type of AJAX hover for review detail would help, though I haven’t seen anyone doing this yet.
  • Develop a Pluribo-type function that summarizes all the reviews into a few sentences.

Spontaneous Shoppers

  • Responds to sales, discounts, limited stock and time-limited offers (like day-only sales)
  • Responds to free overnight shipping (I can have it tomorrow!)
  • Scans and clicks with less reflection than other types
  • Prefers to see product in action (what does this look like on a person?)
  • Interested in “how many” reviews there are
  • Interested in what other people bought, may respond more to this type of cross-sell

Optimizing for Spontaneous Shoppers:

Methodical Shoppers

  • Likes product details, very thorough in researching a purchase
  • Likes side-by-side product comparison to make a rational decision
  • Trusts expert reviews – videos are especially helpful
  • May be skeptical of contests, free shipping and returns – what’s the catch? Will read the fine print every time.

Optimizing for Methodical Shoppers:

  • Break down star rating by attributes (yes, again!)

  • Allow methodicals to hone in on the negative reviews first (remember, we methodicals are skeptical!)
  • Provide badges (verified buyer) or community feedback (was this helpful?)
  • Start a conversation – like with Bazaarvoice’s Ask and Answer product. Methodicals make slow buying decisions and may be willing to wait.
  • Show videos by experts. This would supplement your user reviews. You can find Cnet reviews for free on YouTube (example).
  • Rate attributes – more detail

Humanistic Shoppers

  • Cares what others have to say
  • Appreciates live chat support (or telephone service)
  • Will forward to friend, share product experience and experience on your website with friends
  • More likely to contribute customer review content
  • Looks for the perfect gift, use gift finders and wishlists

Optimizing for Humanistic Shoppers:

  • Allow to sort by top rated in category and search result pages.
  • Let customers vote for reviews as helpful or not helpful (encourage participation).
  • Incorporate user photos and videos.
  • Include option for reviewers to add their own headshots to their reviews (haven’t seen this done, see “concept” below).
  • Facilitate product discussions (Amazon).
  • Include a Pluribo-like visual representation of overall positive or negative sentiment.

My concept, below:


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9 Responses to “Optimizing Product Reviews for Different Buyer Personalities”

  1. Tie Lima says:

    Makes sense. Consumers usually use this kind of information from different sites and for different ways. This behavior figure how costumers wants to be impacted from another users generated content. I don´t know if the suggested concept is the better one, but it´s a nice try.

  2. nice article Linda. What type of shopper do you think we see the most in retail? I side with spontaneous.

  3. As a certified “Methodical” Shopper, I can vouch for the importance of showing negative reviews to enhance credibility.

    We are indeed a skeptical lot. Seeing nothing but a series of superficial, glowing reviews triggers my BS meter every time…

    Oh, but I still want free (or at least reasonable) shipping.

  4. [...] And don’t forget, persuasion applies to your customer review pages also. Are you optimizing your review content for different buying modalities? [...]

  5. [...] You may be interested in posts we’ve done relating to marketing to various customer types: Optimizing Product Reviews by Customer Personality [...]

  6. leonine8 says:

    hey need some guidance on what should be the do ‘s and dont’s or the strategy of an ecommerce site marketing baby products

  7. Very useful article, Linda – I appreciate you putting this together. I think there is a lot of room for improvement in customer reviews, and we will probably see a move toward more customized delivery like you explain. Good work!

  8. [...] the top seller, the lowest price and the newest arrival. Each option will appeal to a different buyer personality type. Just don’t forget a “view all results” link for folks who want to see all you [...]

  9. [...] Optimizing Product Review for Different Buyer Personalities [...]

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