Customer reviews are an absolute asset to any online store for a myriad of reasons (which we will be discussing); but so many stores don’t leverage them properly, or are too afraid to open themselves up to the possibility of bad reviews. We’d like to run through why reviews are absolutely crucial to your online store, how to get them, and what to do with them - the good and the bad ones.
In a nutshell, customer reviews can help improve your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as well as increase your conversions, resulting in more sales and revenue. Here’s how that works:
User reviews heavily influence buyer decisions
Before the sudden boom that was ecommerce shopping, the go-to method for finding out if something was good or not before making a buying decision was asking a friend what their experience was. Word of mouth was the strongest influencer for a long time, that was until technology made it easier and more convenient to access hundreds of reviews online. Customer reviews have become so powerful that 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase.
A product with at least five reviews is 270% more likely to be purchased than a product featuring no reviews.
They are proven sales drivers, and customers now expect to see them on all Ecommerce stores.
A product with at least five reviews is 270% more likely to be purchased than a product featuring no reviews. This is especially true for higher-priced products, where the conversion rate increases by 380%. After the first five reviews the marginal benefit of additional reviews diminishes rapidly as seen above in the accompanying graph.
Collecting customer feedback
Who do you ask?
Maybe not so obvious to some, but the best place to look for feedback is actually your current customer base. They have already gone through the process of making the decision to purchase your product/s and might have unique perspectives to share regarding comparisons with what your competitors offer and how your product compares by their own experience.
If you are able to, you can segment your customer base to determine which ones are more likely to give you feedback.
Better yet, if you are very confident in your product, make contact with an appropriate Influencer in your field to review a product of yours on their relevant channels.
How do you ask?
Automation is key for any business, it takes the routine and work-a-day tasks that take up time and ensures they are completed without you lifting a finger after setting the process in place.
Automate an email communication to elicit reviews after a set timeframe. Ensure that you always thank the customer for their purchase or support, remind them of how important their contribution and opinion is to keeping your product satisfactory and relevant, and ask them to leave a review. If you are able to, you can provide an incentive, such as offering a discount code or a free gift.
Integrating or adding reviews to your site
A simple product review app can help you collect and display reviews professionally. We tend to make use of either the Shopify Product Reviews app for quicker and easier (but less feature rich) reviews. It’s free and offers basic features to help you collect reviews and design a product review area. It is also SEO-friendly, which means that your review scores can be seen in your Google search results, such as in the example below:
Many Ecommerce stores have their start on third-party sites such as Etsy or Amazon and have built up a large number of reviews which they would obviously like to move to their Shopify store. As nice as this would be, unfortunately they cannot necessarily move or copy these reviews across due to the fact that they’re technically intellectual property of these software vendors! You can, however, integrate your existing Google Customer Reviews into Shopify and possibly others like Trust Pilot.
If you want to take things to the next level though, then something like YOTPO, which includes basic features plus social integration, review of email requests, and moderation, is probably the right choice for you.
Sticking with who we believe to be one of the market leaders in this space, YOTPO’s paid version includes significant extra features like shoppable Instagram, rich snippets and coupons. Below is a neat summary of the kinds of features you can look forward to with each option to help you make a decision of which one suits your business best.
Option 1 - Shopify Product Reviews
- Theme-friendly design - Reviews automatically match your store's look and feel
- Easy customisation - Edit layout options, text and colours without needing to code
- Bulk actions - Publish, hide, filter, and manage reviews quickly and easily
- CSV import and Export - Import and export your reviews as a spreadsheet
- SEO-friendly review scores - Add review scores to your Google search results.
Option 2 - YOTPO Free Plan
- Collect reviews, ratings, photos, and Q&A from your customers.
- Increase conversion by showcasing customer content on site to help buyers with purchase decisions.
- Drive high-intent traffic by displaying ratings in organic search results and Google Ads.
- Share your best customer content on social networks with a click of a button.
- Build a brand community of your biggest fans with customer content.
- Make better business decisions using analytics and feedback from your customers.
Option 3 - YOTPO Premium Plan
- Reviews Widget, Reviews Tab and Star Ratings - Increase conversion by showcasing product reviews and ratings across your homepage, product and category pages, and at checkout.
- Social Push and SEO Page - Drive traffic from Facebook and Twitter and rank higher in search results.
- Review Request Emails - Collect reviews with a single, frictionless request.
- Moderation and Commenting - Choose what to publish and where, and comment on reviews publicly or privately.
What do you do with the negative reviews?
So many people have an irrational fear of negative reviews, but this is because they don’t realise that they can actually work for them. 72% of B2B buyers say negative reviews give depth and insight into a product, helping to build credibility - anyone would get suspicious if there were never any bad or low reviews! In fact, 82% of shoppers specifically seek out negative reviews and just their presence could improve conversions by up to 67%.
In fact, 82% of shoppers specifically seek out negative reviews and just their presence could improve conversions by up to 67%.
So what do you do if you receive a negative review? A bad review is an opportunity to turn a customer around, show people you are willing to go the extra mile to improve their experience. Embrace negative feedback, use it to improve or tweak your product, to get to know your target market better, and to create more meaningful engagements with your customers.
Firstly, respond to the customer publicly (if possible) and privately as well. Thank them for their feedback and attempt to rectify the problem or get them more information to help them troubleshoot their issues. If their bad review is on a platform where they can change their review rating, encourage them to revisit it after they’ve had a better experience with your brand or product. This can go a long way to repair any damage that might have been done and likely even strengthen your brand.
Some quick tips on displaying customer reviews
1. Use reviews on your product pages for people to see.
Where you display your customer reviews has a lot to do with the setup of your site and your kind of product. If you are able to bring your reviews into pages other than on your product pages, then include them on your home page, under blog posts, in the sidebar, etc. This will also positively impact your SEO for that particular product (more on that below).
If you have different variations of the same product then ensure that any reviews for that product are shared across all those product pages (ie. multiple product pages for the same product but in a different colour for example) so that the review is not missed.
2. Use screenshots of reviews that haven’t been touched up via software.
Customers respond better to product images that are not over-edited, so if your customers are able to post a review that features a photograph of your product in use, that can greatly increase the influence of that particular review.
3. Use star ratings for people to see your review score.
Star ratings make it easier for customers to glance over your product page and find exactly what they’re looking for. It’s also universally recognised as a review symbol and will likely attract the eye of a potential buyer. If possible, allow your reviews to be sorted by the number of stars. This will make for a more intuitive experience for your researching buyer.
How customer reviews can improve SEO
Search engine crawlers will pick up on fresh content that is regularly updated, which makes customer reviews the ideal way to attract more relevant content. Very often the same product description appears on multiple different websites (if that product is available elsewhere), so user-generated content such as new customer reviews will differentiate that product page in the search results.
It’s absolutely imperative in this day and age to have customer reviews on your products on your ecommerce store. This is made that much easier by ecommerce platforms like Shopify that have apps designed to do just that. User-generated reviews are the new word-of-mouth, and you will never beat that when it comes to building trust in your product. Customer reviews are honest, unbiased, and transparent reflections of what your customers think and feel about your product/s, and spending time or resources on eliciting reviews will always be a worthy investment for your ecommerce business.