Seller Ratings: Google Allows Retailers in the UK to Shoot for the (5) Stars!
- November 15, 2010
- by Retail Champions
Google’s innovations and developments for ad extensions just keep on coming and are keeping the Retail Champs in the Latitude office on their toes!
It was announced on Wednesday 3rd November that seller ratings are now visible and active within the UK serps after being available in the US for some time. This is just in time for Christmas for the UK market!
If you haven’t seen them yet, seller ratings are displayed with the PPC ads and allow users to click on the stars to read customer reviews. Advertisers are not charged for the clicks on the seller ratings but just for clicks on the actual ad.
The idea is that customers will be able to pick where to buy from based on feedback from other customers, which is considered a very influential source. This empowers the consumer and gives a further incentive for retailers to provide an excellent service.
In case you haven’t been lucky enough to see them yet here’s an example:
Those retailers with great ratings will be rewarded because their stars enable them to stand out from the competition. This is particularly important for non-brand search terms when the user is at the start of the purchasing cycle.
How can you get ratings?
Ratings are based on the user reviews collected by Google Product Search, which aggregates reviews from a broad base of sources across the web, including Reseller Ratings, Bizrate, ReviewCentre.com, Viewpoints and Google Checkout where applicable.
A Google Merchant Center account is not needed and a site’s products do not need to be listed in Google Products to obtain a seller rating in AdWords. However, Seller Ratings could be problematic for those who aren’t registered for Google Product Search (or other Comparison Shopping Engines).
One way to make to ensure the correct ratings are aggregated together and you aren’t losing out on ratings (or getting the wrong ones) is to have a consistent Business name and URL across Google Product Search review sites and the Google Merchant Center.
Great news – but how do you get stars?
Not all ads are eligible to show seller ratings. They must meet the following criteria:
- The campaign must be opted in to Google search.
- The user must be searching on Google.com, Google.co.uk or Google.de.
- The Business must have at least 30 unique reviews and a rating of four stars or above on Google Product Search. Furthermore, at least 10 of these reviews must be in the user’s Google interface language.
- Ratings are only shown for advertisers that provide users with paid goods or services, or those that enable the buying or selling of products or services via a marketplace.
All ads are opted in automatically once they meet the criteria however there is the option to opt out if you don’t wish to display seller ratings.
OK, how can I encourage positive reviews?
It all boils down to excellent customer service. The best way to get positive reviews is to keep your customers happy and thus increasing the likelihood that they will leave you a positive review.
It may seem like an obvious point but it is also beneficial for retailers to read the reviews and take note in order to resolve any problems and improve future customer service
Sabotage of ratings!
A potential problem with seller ratings comes when competitors leave negative reviews for each other to win more customers. This is a particular issue for the smaller companies whose rating is based on fewer reviews as when the results are aggregated the false negative reviews have a greater influence over the overall results.
If this was becoming a big problem for a particular retailer it is possible to opt out – however this would cause them to unfairly miss out on the potential competitive advantages of high seller ratings.
To opt in, or out? That is the question..
You will be automatically opted in to Seller Ratings and with Google claiming to show higher CTR’s for those ads displaying seller ratings, opting out is perhaps not in your best interest. Of course there are counter arguments to be considered here, and the retail champs have been thinking about this long and hard… An important consideration is whether seller ratings can actually distract potential customers away from the intended conversion path? Or conversely do they increase the potential for more qualified leads that go through to conversion? Perhaps the greatest risk with opting out is that as seller ratings become more widely recognised potential customers might become ‘starry eyed’ and start to assume that those retailers without any seller ratings have poor service and as a result won’t even consider them as an option.
With the Christmas period approaching it is vital that all retailers with seller ratings enabled dedicate time to review these and take appropriate action if needed.
Go on shoot for the stars!0 Comments