Customer reviews shape the ways people think about you and your products, how much they trust you, and if you’ll be their eCommerce shop of choice.
Lacking reviews, on the other hand, can quickly send potential shoppers to other websites and bust your marketing budget.
So, if you want to sell more, you need to generate reviews for your eCommerce site. We’ve put together five simple considerations to help you get started and help improve how well you can leverage those reviews.
1.Make it easy to review your products
Let’s start with a mindset shift. You want it to be as easy as possible for people to leave reviews because they help your business. Studies consistently show that reviews make your business seem more credible and encourage people to buy from you when they’re positive and recent. If your products have five reviews on the page, there is a 270% greater chance that someone will buy it compared to a product with zero reviews.
Customers will leave reviews when you ask, but a complex process can stop them. Being burdensome in requirements and requests means it isn’t worth their time.
The same is true for you putting the onus on the customer to prove they’re an actual buyer. Adding to their work (especially when you could instead do this for the customer) makes them less likely to finish a review process.
So, eCommerce companies should look at policies and processes in your operations that will help you find real customers to leave reviews.
This means ensuring that you collect sales data and email addresses, allowing you to reach out to people about the specific products they’ve bought. Simplify rankings or reporting requirements, instead of asking people to fill out multi-question surveys.
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The mindset to approach reviews, especially when you want to increase their number and improve their quality, is asking: What barriers do my customers have and how can I remove them in a way that makes leaving a review simpler and more enjoyable?
2.Look for platform tools
Now that you’re thinking about the benefits of reviews and have a desire to simplify it, look at your current eCommerce website and email marketing services. Get a list of the platforms and tools you use to make the entire process easier. That list is where you’ll start your search for “review” and “rating” plugins and other tools.
Starting with pre-made items with a positive track record of simple integration can help you add the features faster. In some cases, you can find tools that introduce reviews in ways naturally fit within a customer’s journey.
Those that integrate with email marketing platforms will provide templates where a customer can click a star rating and then be taken to a landing page with options for more detail, while having the star they clicked already highlighted.
“Review” tools based on your eCommerce platform to make it easier to integrate everything and have reviews populate your sales, product, and other pages. If you’re a solo shop or unsure where to begin, most platforms like Shopify have their own product review apps. That isn’t to say they’re always the best option for everyone, but they tend to be easy for getting started.
While you’re thinking about integration, check your other tools and partners. For companies that outsource eCommerce fulfillment, for example, ensure that partners automatically add shipping confirmation to order management tools. These steps will help you provide the best customer service to your shoppers.
3. Incentivize reviews
If 2020 taught us anything it’s there are many tasks that we promise ourselves that we’ll do “when we have the time,” but still don’t tackle when there’s nothing but time. That means the time to write a review may never arrive for some of your audience, even ones that love your products.
Give them a push by incentivizing reviews — all reviews, not just overly positive ones. Incentives are one quick way to get more people to comment and post. You want honest reviews so that readers trust them. If it looks like you’ve paid for fake reviews, it can erode any trust you’ve built with your audience.
If you’re concerned about having a flood of them from the same date, split your contact lists. Ask some to post on your website while encouraging others to rate you on Google or Facebook. Consider running a user-generated content (UGC) campaign on a social channel to get people to share their thoughts. Spread elements out to reach a wide audience and avoid being flagged by an eCommerce platform.
Ask people to review, comment, share, and create. It’ll give you insight into what they love and hate, how they use your products, and where you might need something new. Plus, when an incentive is a discount, it gets them ready to buy again right after they spent a lot of time thinking positively about you. That’s a perfect selling opportunity.
4. Showcase reviews from multiple platforms on multiple pages
Part of improving reviews is increasing the effectiveness of the reviews and comments you’re able to generate. You’ll want to fully leverage these items and use them as selling points throughout your website and overall sales process. Incentivizing reviews across multiple platforms gives you a broad set of content to use.
Think of your buyer’s journey. They may click on an ad and go to either a product or category page. Those are stellar options for positive reviews about the specific product and you’ll want as many on these pages as possible to help customers.
From there, they add to a sales cart and go to a page to review the cart and start providing details. Here is where you likely have shipping options.
Why not add snapshots of reviews that talk about how fast and efficient your shipping was? Show them the people excited by getting products and things arriving early. If your UGC campaign led to unboxing content, embed a video to encourage people to pay for faster shipping or add more to their order to reach a fast/free shipping threshold.
After checkout, when you take your audience to a confirmation page, showcase reviews about your company in general, and create your own post or video thanking customers for their kind words. Turn this page into a celebration, all centered on how happy you make customers.
When you email confirmation with order or shipping details, you can use reviews again. Give people the best way to contact your customer support and snip a review of how appreciative someone was when you solved their problem.
It’s all about encouraging people to think positively about your products, process, and company. You may even get a few who want to write their own reviews because they want to see their names and words in your next email or confirmation page.
5. Respond to complaints publicly and privately
A core tenet of improving customer reviews is to admit to problems and then work to solve them. You can’t make everyone happy, but you can make up for mistakes. So, get your team to proactively monitor your site and other locations for negative reviews and complaints. When you find them, they need to be addressed publicly and in private support channels.
Addressing elements publicly gives other readers a way to know that you take complaints seriously. It avoids issues of just seeing negative reviews with no rebuttal, which will make visitors believe those negative things. A public response should acknowledge the issue, identify broadly how you’ll solve it, and then tell the reviewer how to move forward privately.
It’s easy to want to make these responses formulaic. However, they become less believable when someone can see multiple complaints about various issues while all the company responses are the same. You can allow responses to follow a pattern, but they should not be the same text repeatedly.
When you transition someone to a private channel to solve their issue, take this seriously. Work diligently to solve the problem if possible. If you’re able to address it adequately, ask the customer to update their review with that information. You don’t want to pressure people into changing the full review, but you can ask them to add to it so people know you found a solution.
If the customer doesn’t respond, consider adding updates to your review instead. Keep these simple, such as saying:
We’re glad we were able to get that resolved. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Thank you!
Empathizing with the customer, solving the issue, and then circling back is among the best pathways to turning negative issues into positive ones for future readers.
Always come back to the “why”
There’s a core reason you’ve landed on this article and are thinking about your eCommerce reviews. You might need more to help convince shoppers, you want to bury some negative or outdated reviews, or you’re just getting started. Reviews can help in many ways, and some of the tactics discussed are better at one improvement or another.
Getting started with the right techniques and tools requires you to ask smart questions about why you are looking to increase and improve reviews. See if the solutions you’re considering are relevant to the audience you want to reach. Ask if you’re targeting the barriers they face or giving them something that makes writing a review a compelling task.
Focusing on the “why” behind reviews will make it easier for you to get the types of reviews you want and that your customers find useful. You’ll be thinking about what’s most meaningful and relevant during the entire process, simplifying it and speeding up gains you see.