Online reviews — they’re not just for facelifts and tummy tucks anymore. In fact, if you sell skincare or other medibeauty products, a new report suggests that incorporating reviews for them on your practice website can boost sales significantly.
The study, conducted by Bazaarvoice.com, looked at the impact online reviews and star ratings had on a variety of product categories, including beauty products, men’s and women’s apparel, shoes and bed/bath products for a major Internet retailer. By increasing the number of reviews from one to 15 and star ratings from 3.5 to 4.5, orders for beauty products increased by 56%, more than any other category.
Clearly, there are significant differences between a major Internet retailer that sells thousands of items via an ecommerce site and an aesthetic practice that might carry or dozen or so products. And getting 15 clients to post reviews about said products probably isn’t feasible.
Even so, there’s no escaping the fact that women count on reviews when making their decisions about beauty products. When Renée Rouleau, an esthetician with practices in Dallas, New York and Los Angeles, asked visitors to her website what most influenced their skincare purchasing decisions, the top responses were the ingredients in the product (37%), the skincare company’s reputation (17.4%), online reviews (15.2%) and recommendations from a skincare professional (14.1%).
And having even just a few product reviews on your practice website can have a positive impact on the bottom line. Plastic surgeon David B. Reath, MD, of Knoxville, Tenn., for example, incorporates both in-house and user reviews, creating a one-two punch that has not only led to increased sales but also provides a counterpoint to the sometimes questionable claims women run into online and at the beauty counter:
For years, people have been buying these products based on hope, slick marketing and airbrushed photos, says Lisa Reath, business manager for her husband’s practice. No wonder there is disappointment when things don’t work as advertised. Most women have some sort of a “beauty graveyard”: expensive products stashed in the back of a drawer only to be thrown away later.
That, she suggests, represents both a challenge and an opportunity for medical professionals who sell skincare products:
There are products out there that do make a difference, particularly medical-grade skin care formulations, which is why we carry them for our patients. But wary consumers are jaded and justifiably so. As a physician expert, your recommendation does break down some of these barriers, although doubts can remain whenever you directly benefit from a sale.
That’s where user reviews come in to play — they provide reassurance from people who have nothing to gain by sharing their impressions. Complement those reviews with professional insights and product details, as this review on Dr. Reath’s practice website does, and they can mean the difference between products staying on your shelf or making it into patients’ shopping carts.