Ratings help your customers decide what, how much, and even whether to, buy.
This works on any type of product-based business. Whether it's performance auto parts, musical instruments, or stuffed animals, you're probably bringing together products from many different manufacturers. Each has completely different label information, and there is no standardization across brands. It's up to you to make it simple for customers, and ratings help.
Rating scales like 1-10, or 1-100 are common for wine and cigar ratings but could apply to any products. You might also use school-style letter grades, (A, B, C). Even a simple "good, better, best" comparison makes it easier for customers to make choices.
You are the best expert to do these ratings, but you can also draw ratings from your staff and from online sites. With the number of sites rating every imaginable product, you should not lack for research material.
At the same time that you are rating your products, think about who is rating you. Is there an industry expert who might rate your business? Do you have an impressive rating from some review service? Share that with your customers, too.
In the next articles in this series, we'll add more detailed reviews to your ratings and talk about how to use ratings for service-based businesses.
Becky McCray is a small town entrepreneur, the co-owner of a liquor store and cattle ranch. She writes about small - business and rural issues at Small Biz Survival, based on her own successes and failures. As a consultant, she helps small businesses and small-town governments to get things funded and get things done. McCray also is a noted speaker on small-business issues. She blogs at Small Biz Survival.