Customer reviews are a valuable asset to any online store for a number 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 Optimization (SEO) as well as increase your conversions, resulting in more sales and revenue. Here’s how that works:
Before the sudden boom that is 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.
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%.
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.
Even better, when reviews are collected through a Google licensed partner, they contribute to Stars and Seller Ratings. These gold stars - that appear everywhere from organic search to paid ads - give your online store credibility in the eyes of the search engine, pushing you higher up in results.
At the same time, they give key trust signals to shoppers, increasing click through rates, lowering ad spend, and sending highly relevant and conversion ready traffic to your store.
A simple product review app can help you collect and display reviews professionally. If you’re a Shopify store owner, you could make use of its own product reviews app for a quick and easy (but somewhat limited) solution. It’s free and offers basic features to help you collect reviews and design a product reviews 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.
However, if you want to take things to the next level, consider a provider like REVIEWS.io, who we believe to be one of the market leaders in the reviews space.
As a Google licensed partner, REVIEWS.io offers a range of plans suited to any size of business, from those just starting out to established, market leading ecommerce brands. Here’s a look at some of the key features you’ll get on all plans:
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 up the process. The really nice thing about REVIEWS.io automation is that it takes it one step further than most other platforms with its Flow feature.
With this, you can create predefined email sequences to boost review collection. For example, you can send an automatic reminder to anyone that has yet to respond to a review request, or ask those that have left a great review to upload photo or video content to accompany it. For a more advanced strategy, you can even set time delays according to where a specific customer is located. All you need to do is drag and drop triggers and actions into place, and your collection campaigns will run on autopilot.
Most reviews platforms allow you to collect both company and product reviews - as does REVIEWS.io - but when it comes to the latter, the more depth you can achieve the better. Customer photos go a long way here, as they’re far more insightful than over-edited brand imagery, but there’s two additional features that are particularly useful here:
REVIEWS.io is designed to be user friendly, and has a library of review widgets that are all customizable and easy to integrate into your site without any coding knowledge. They make it simple to publish user reviews in line with your brand identity and product page layouts. And thanks to their super lightweight design, they won’t slow down your loading speed.
There’s also a great tool for off-site publication - the Social Proof Editor. Again, this works on a user friendly basis, allowing you to transform review content into branded graphics for use across all your social channels, without the need for designer input.
A few other points worth noting about REVIEWS.io:
What we’ve given you here is a basic overview of the REVIEWS.io platform. Once you start experimenting with it you begin to see just how powerful it is and what it can do for both your reputation and revenue - which is precisely why we rate it so highly.
So many people have an irrational fear of negative reviews, but this is because they don’t realize that they can actually work for them. Research shows that customers are five times more likely to filter for 1 star reviews than for 5 star reviews because they add credibility - anyone would get suspicious if there were never any bad or low reviews!
So what do you do if you receive a negative review? A bad review is an opportunity to turn a customer around and 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 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.
It’s absolutely imperative in this day and age to have customer reviews on your products on your ecommerce store. This is made so much easier by platforms like REVIEWS.io, designed to help you 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.