Whether you call it ‘private label’, ‘white label’, ‘own brand’ or ‘store brand’, there’s a vast and exciting online market waiting to be tapped.
Established brands have been able to get by on little more than their reputation for years. We all trust that Coca-Cola is “the real thing”, we’re “lovin it” when it comes to McDonald’s and “Americans spell cheese K-R-A-F-T”, but private labels are gaining - fast. The economic downturn - coupled with some very good marketing - has helped these private labels brands establish a foothold on the street.
By why hasn’t this success transferred online? The internet should have created a level playing field, but the same big voices are just replicated online instead.
However, assuring trust and transparency through product reviews, is giving private labels the boost they need online, ensuring a fair fight with the big shots.
Building social proof for success
Trust, recommendations, reviews - whatever the name, this is all social proof. It’s proof from others that what you’re selling should be bought. For private labels, gathering and displaying product reviews provide a great opportunity to start building social proof, demonstrating that their products and services are of a comparable (or higher) standard to ‘established’ competitors.
Let’s look at Trustpilot customer MedicAnimal. Launched in 2007, MedicAnimal is a leading provider of animal health products. But there was cynicism in the beginning about a lesser-known private brand supplying goods which could affect the health of a beloved pet.
However, reviews helped them accelerate their growth, reputation, and success. Now, they have over 110,000 reviews across the globe and a TrustScore of 9 out of 10.
Here’s what Rhys Caines, Head of MedicAnimal Customer Service, has to say: “Pets are a very important part of the family, and trust is pivotal to this. We want a sense of what our customers think. And Trustpilot gives us so much reputation enhancement on social media too. We look so much better with reviews.”
Building social proof for products
Research shows that product reviews are increasingly important in the shopper’s buying journey. Customers want to know exactly what they are buying, and whether they’ll like it, before making a purchase. People also search for brands. Without being established with social proof, through reviews, you risk being left out.
Social proof can help to overcome the uncertainty that shoppers face when considering white label, private goods. As such, product reviews are essential for every brand trading online, private label or not.
Building social proof through reviews and social media
The explosion of social media has brought with it a consumer willingness to share experiences of products and services, good or bad.
By engaging socially connected customers on established channels like Facebook, Twitter and online review platforms, private label brands can quickly build a presence online that creates social proof of their competence and commitment to high quality service.
Here’s how the product review cycle could function on your site and social media.
- Customers purchase products and are invited to leave a product review
- Reviews are completed and read by the business
- Negative comments are addressed. Reviews are shared on the company website.
- More customers search for the product, or the brand, and find previous customer reviews
- ‘These reviews help customers find the right products for them and give the business credibility
- Reviews are then shared again through the website and on social media, attracting more customers and building online social proof.
All round success
Shoppers look at both the reputation of a business and product when making a purchasing decision. The best way to convert a website visitor is to collect comprehensive, unbiased social proof on both brand and products.