As an online shopper, you don’t typically take products at face value. You’ll only turn over your money if you feel like you can trust what the brand is offering, and product reviews are probably part of your decision-making process when considering a purchase.
Your ecommerce customers think the same way. They use product reviews to determine your product's true value and whether it’s worth buying. Product reviews are the heavyweights in the ring of online shopping, and this article explains how you can leverage them to get more sales and generate more revenue.
Why are product reviews an important lever for ecommerce?
Product reviews are a powerful source of social proof, which builds trust and confidence in your brand. Adding reviews to your product pages can result in an estimated revenue lift of 1.5%, according to Gorgias’ data of over 10,000 ecommerce stores. This is possible because product reviews stand as testimonials for uncertain shoppers — perhaps more convincing than any sales or marketing you can create yourself.
Plus, reviews increase traffic to your product page through SEO. Google My Business and search engines pick up keywords that customers use in their reviews and, with enough reviews, your page will show up on as a result for organic searches of those keywords. Also, getting more eyes on your product increases product awareness — and ultimately, conversions.
But not all reviews are good. There’s a delicate balance between good and bad reviews, and both of them have an impact on your bottom line.
The impact of good product reviews
- Bright Local’s Consumer Review Survey shows that 94% of consumers are more likely to use a business because of positive reviews
- 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations by family and friends
- 70% of consumers use rating filters when searching for businesses: they filter for businesses with 4-star ratings or higher
- Five-star reviews are suspicious to consumers on their own and shoppers find a mixture of positive and negative reviews more trustworthy
The impact of bad product reviews
- Bad reviews turn customers away: 94% of consumers have avoided businesses with bad reviews, and 53% of consumers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week.
- Only 19% of consumers would use a business with a fewer-than-3-star rating.
How to get product reviews on your ecommerce website
If you use an ecommerce platform to power your ecommerce website, it’s easy to turn on the setting to let users leave reviews. Here are some links to help you get started if you use Shopify, BigCommerce, or Magento:
- Shopify’s Product Reviews app
- BigCommerce’s product reviews setting
- Magento’s native commerce review app
If you use another ecommerce platform, you’ll likely be able to find a setting or app to activate review functionality.
But just because customers can leave reviews doesn’t mean they will. Here are some tips to get more ecommerce product reviews:
6 simple ways to drive more positive reviews for your products
The business impact of positive product reviews is undeniable. Below, we’ve described six ways to increase your chances of getting positive reviews from customers.
1) Have a pleasant post-purchase experience and ask directly in an email
The post-purchase experience is where you transform new customers into your brand’s biggest fans. This is particularly important since customer experience is the top factor driving online consumers' loyalty. An amazing post-purchase experience leaves customers confident that orders are being delivered and provides answers to their most pressing questions. It's also an opportunity for your brand to provide meaningful resources that help them use your products in the best possible ways.
Each confirmation email you send to a customer allows you to position your brand as an expert. But that’s not all: You can use this email to ask customers to leave a review and provide feedback on their experience. Both requests help you better understand how close you are to meeting your customer's needs and make adjustments as necessary.
Here’s a great, branded example of a review request email from Fly By Jing:
2) Incentivize customers to fill out reviews by offering discounts or freebies
Providing incentives increases the number of reviews a company is likely to receive. This is great, but there can be a downside: Incentives can sometimes influence customers to leave positive reviews even if their experiences with your products aren’t necessarily positive. This might sound great, but you want to be sure that you're striving for honest positive feedback.
Incentives can be a great tool, but don’t overuse them since they can skew a review's honesty. Remember, honest insights are the ones that will help your ecommerce brand improve.
Anthropologie recently offered customers a 20%-off coupon for leaving a review:
3) Automate your “ask for reviews” process for easy reviewing
Automating the “ask for reviews” process allows you to get reviews from customers at exactly the right time. An “ask for review” automation could be as simple as emailing a rating scale that allows customers to rate their most recent experience with your brand. The trick is to send that message at just the right time.
Dmitry Dragilev, Founder of JustReachOut, reveals that automating the company’s review collection process tripled its rate of positive reviews. Automations helped them send review requests immediately after interacting with customers.
Several tools can help you automate the review collection process. Boast and JungleScout are two of the most popular options for ecommerce stores. You can also use Zapier to create automations specific to your preferred tools.
4) Make sure to target satisfied customers and to ask nicely for a review
Dragilev also mentions that one of the mistakes he and his team made was asking for a review after every customer support call. This resulted in only 10% of the reviews being positive. Also, they didn’t know whether the customers they were targeting had recently engaged with the product since they only sent out their review emails on Mondays.
It was only after automating sending review request emails to customers who were satisfied with the resolution to their support request that the number of positive reviews increased. The lesson here is that targeting satisfied customers leads to more positive reviews.
5) Make the review process as simple as possible
A simple review process reduces friction and increases the chances of getting a response to your review request. You can simplify the review process by:
- Offering multiple ways for customers to review your brand
- Providing access to the review form on platforms your customers frequently use
- Asking minimal questions — no more than three, and ideally one
- Making the questions easy to answer (e.g., an emoji scale as a way for customers to express how they feel about their experience rather than having them respond to an open-ended question)
Here’s a great, minimal review request from Book of the Month:
6) Use social media channels to request product reviews
Social media channels are where your customers likely hang out the most. This is why your ecommerce social media strategy should include requesting reviews. The beauty of social media is that there are many ways for you to both ask your customers for reviews and showcase what they have to say about your brand. For instance, you could create a competition based on user-generated content (UGC) that shows how real customers use your product and what they genuinely think about it.
The most powerful review sites to consider
It’s important to consider where you gather reviews from. Here are four of the most common avenues for ecommerce brands to consider:
Your own ecommerce site
Imagine you’re searching for an affordable wedding dress online. You see a gorgeous dress you adore but you’re a bit skeptical since you aren’t able to see and feel the dress in person. Worse yet — you can’t even try it on. The next thing you do is scroll down to the reviews. How else will you know what to expect from this dress? To your dismay, there aren’t any reviews! You have two choices — trust your gut and buy the dress blindly or find another dress that has reviews.
Chances are you’ll choose option two and you aren’t alone. 98% of consumers read online reviews before purchasing products. Reviews turn potential customers from skeptics into eager purchasers. Some ecommerce brands do this better than others. Parade’s review section went a step further, allowing reviewers to mark whether or not a clothing item runs big/small, is comfortable, and is good or bad quality. As an apparel retailer, this gives their shoppers valuable information they need to make a purchase decision.
Social media sites
According to a report by GWI, 77% of internet users turn to social networks when looking for information about brands. Also, 16% of internet users discover brands through posts or reviews from expert bloggers, and 23% of internet users discover brands through recommendations or comments on social media. The bottom line is that social media supports brand awareness, so you’re missing out if you don't leverage the social media sites relevant to your audience.
GWI recommends using Instagram for more direct sales since Instagram users are more open to commercial posts. If you’re ready to make Instagram influencer marketing part of your marketing strategy, check out our guide.
Online shoppers turn to popular online marketplaces when searching for products. Amazon, Etsy, and eBay are three of the most popular. Amazon is the largest online marketplace, accounting for 37.8% of the ecommerce market as of June 2022. On Amazon, product reviews and sales influence rankings. This means that the better your reviews, the higher up they appear in product search results, so it’s important to keep your average review as high as possible. The same is true for Etsy and eBay.
Here’s what Sol de Janeiro’s Amazon reviews look like:
Billions of people use Google, Bing, and other search engines to find products. SEO-friendly product descriptions are one way to ensure your products show up in search engines. But product reviews also make you more visible on the search engine results pages (SERPs) since reviewers often use keywords that help with rankings. The more reviews you have, the greater your chances of being discovered in SERPs.
Review sites for your industry
Four review sites are responsible for 88% of all reviews — Google, Yelp, Facebook, and Tripadvisor. It would be wise to invest in your reviews on these popular channels, but boosting your presence on industry-specific review sites is also a good idea. These hyper-specific review sites help you reach a targeted audience, thus increasing your conversion rate.
How to get the most value out of your ecommerce product reviews
Getting reviews is great, but you’ll need to dig a little deeper if you want to glean actionable insights from them. Here are eight tips to help you get the most out of your customer reviews.
Add reviews to your product pages
As previously mentioned, adding reviews to your product pages can help increase revenue through more conversions, making this a great move for your ecommerce business. This isn’t surprising since reviews help build trust and attract buyers to your website, so adding reviews directly to product pages can help seal the deal once the customer lands on your site.
Loop Earplugs has product reviews at the bottom of each product page, plus they curate testimonials pulled from reviews to support their on-page marketing:
Use white-label review management software
Review management software offers the most streamlined way to manage your online reputation. Any review management software you choose should be able to collect and deliver data from the review sources that matter most to your business in the most accurate, timely, and reliable manner. Some of the best options on the market include Grade.us and Podium.
Turn your best reviews into SEO-friendly web and social media content
Reviews are great for understanding the needs and interests of customers. When an awesome review comes through, highlight it on your brand's social media channels to showcase customer satisfaction and attract further attention. Ultimately, reviews from existing satisfied customers will help attract even more customers: It's social proof at its finest.
Allow people to leave photos and videos in reviews
One of the first things some customers do when looking at reviews is search for the images and videos that show the product in action. Product pictures and written reviews say one thing but seeing products in real, unedited photos and videos takes the experience to another level. It’s easier to make a purchase decision when customers reveal a product's good, bad, and ugly in a visual format.
Steve Madden lets buyers upload images to their reviews, which helps browsers see what the clothes look like on other people:
Address negative reviews head-on and explain what went wrong
The research doesn’t lie — 89% of consumers are more likely to use a business that responds to all of its online reviews, not just the good reviews. Research by Podium provides a possible explanation: 56% of consumers believe a response from a business changes their perspectives because these responses offer insights into how responsive, responsible, and caring a business is.
These stats may seem contradictory since so many consumers say a negative review convinced them to avoid a business, as we discussed earlier. But ignoring negative reviews altogether results in more people turning away from your business. This is precisely what you’re trying to avoid: Negative reviews are a natural part of the process, so don’t hide from them. Embrace them, respond to them, and try your best to resolve the issues expressed by the customer.
Use feedback from reviews to improve your product and customer experience
Product reviews help you learn more about what your business is doing right and wrong. Customer feedback surveys are great, but only a small fraction of your customers complete them. More customers are likely to leave non-incentivized reviews that share honest perspectives about their experiences. Use their unfiltered responses to fine-tune your product and customer experience so that you attract future purchases.
Thank reviewers with a discount to keep them coming back
A discount incentive can be a great way to get more reviews. But, as previously mentioned, incentives can influence reviewers to leave positive reviews even when their experiences weren’t entirely positive. So, you can give discounts as review incentives occasionally but try not to make this practice a habit. Otherwise, your reviews may be skewed in favor of your brand.
Let users sort reviews to find the information they need
Customers use various filters to find reviews, but the most common review filter is review recency. Research by Power Reviews shows that 97% of consumers consider review recency to be important when considering a purchase. In fact, the survey reveals that 64% of consumers say they’re more likely to buy a product with fewer, more recent reviews than a product with a higher volume of reviews published three or more months ago.
So, allowing customers to sort and see the most recent reviews is critical. Keep your reviews current — more customers are likely to trust your brand that way.
Woxer is a great example of an online store that provides a variety of review filters. You can pull up reviews that mention color, size, material, feel, comfort, and more. You can also use the sort feature to sort the reviews by rating or only show reviews with images:
Turn browsers into happy, repeat shoppers with Gorgias
Product reviews attract new customers and help with customer retention. This is why your product review strategy should focus on encouraging customers to leave authentic reviews, extracting customer feedback so you can improve your product, and responding to all reviews across platforms so you can build trust and resolve issues proactively.
Gorgias is here to help your brand offer world-class customer support. Book a demo to understand how 10,000+ brands use our platform to drive revenue by making customers happy.