Studies show, nine out of 10 customers consider reviews before they buy. Impartial opinions from previous shoppers help them make a decision, especially if they’re mistrustful of polished brand messages.
Online consumers rely on reviews to make purchases: Amazon for a new coffee maker. Tripadvisor for an upcoming vacation to Costa Rica. Google to find a good handyman. Yelp for a fun tapas restaurant.
While customers often read reviews, they don’t often write them unless the experience was exceptionally good (or bad). To encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews, give them the information they need, when they need it. Supporting customer reviews ultimately will improve your marketing strategy and your relationship with your customers.
Here’s how to encourage customers to share their experiences and where you should display user-generated reviews:
The different types of ecommerce reviews
Reviews are the perfect way to promote your business — past customers are vouching for you, which is invaluable in a competitive market. But reviews come in different shapes and sizes.
Here are the most common:
Google Reviews are important for search engine optimization (SEO). They allow customers to leave a review on your business profile which then shows up in your listing in the search results. To start generating Google Reviews, you need to set up your business profile.
Dedicated review websites like Yelp, Tripadvisor, and Trustpilot provide a central source of social proof. You don’t need to do anything to generate reviews on these sites, as customers log in and share their thoughts independently.
Review features on your ecommerce website
To place these customer reviews on your website, there are review apps you can integrate with your Shopify store that populate your website. The customization capabilities of these are far better than Google and third-party review sites, and you have control over where to put the reviews so they work with your branding.
Why ecommerce product reviews are important
You spend a lot of time and energy marketing your products, but good product reviews do it on autopilot. As well as providing persuasive social proof, reviews help bolster your SEO efforts and other marketing strategies.
Eighty-two percent of shoppers trust business reviews as much as word-of-mouth marketing and personal recommendations, which can also increase your online presence. A well-thought-out review can have the same impact as a friend or family member recommending a product.
Strengthen your content library
Reviews are great assets. Once you start collecting them, you can sprinkle them throughout other content, like your launch email campaigns, social ads, and blog posts. Even better, reviews are trusted more than other marketing materials, making them an integral part of the buying process.
Boost credibility and improve customer perception
Customers are more likely to buy from a brand that has a number of positive reviews than a brand with very few or none at all—45% of shoppers wouldn’t buy a product if there were no reviews available. And, the better quality reviews you have, the more value shoppers assign to your brand and its products.
Enhance SEO efforts
Google’s algorithm gives pages with consumer reviews higher rankings on search engines, plus the added word count means there’s more opportunity for relevant keywords.
Attract new customers
Seventy-four percent of shoppers discover and learn about new products via reviews. Showcasing a collection of positive reviews can increase product visibility and the chances of a potential shopper discovering your product.
Create personalized customer experiences
Provide different product perspectives and give shoppers an insight into how customers who are the same size, shape, or skin type as them found a product.
Identify relevant keywords
Reviews give you an insight into the actual keywords your customers use. If you notice a particular word keeps cropping up in your reviews, there’s a good chance shoppers are using that to search for products like yours. Reviews can be a great way to find keywords you otherwise wouldn’t have considered.
Improve product development
Use the experiences and opinions of your customers to get feedback and improve your products. Reviews are excellent for discovering customer hesitations and pain points. Even negative reviews can be an opportunity to make your products better.
You don’t need tons of reviews to reap these benefits. While getting a review from every single customer is unlikely, the more you can secure, the better.
7 easy ways to get more positive reviews for your online store
Nine times out of 10, customers won’t leave a review if left to their own devices. You’re more likely to get a review from an unhappy customer who wants to vent about their experience than a customer who enjoyed your product and would recommend it.
This is why it’s crucial to encourage customers to leave reviews—especially if they’ve had a positive experience.
It sounds simple, but the majority of customers won’t leave a review unless you explicitly request one. You can do this by sending customer feedback surveys, or you can prompt customers to leave a review directly on your site.
Send a review request email
The easiest way to do this is to send a well-timed email or SMS message that encourages them to leave a review. But make sure you give them enough time to actually use your product.
When is the best time to send a review request email?
The timing will ultimately depend on the type of product you’re selling and your potential customers. For hard goods (or products that last a long time), like fridges and washing machines, wait 21 days.
Perishables and soft goods, like cosmetics, clothing, and food, need less “trying” time, so you can send an email within 14 days. And the timely nature of seasonal goods means it’s best to send a review request email within seven days. It’s crucial for ecommerce brands to follow up seven days after sending the first email.
Establish a post-purchase email automation
Sometimes customers need a nudge in the right direction. A review request email might work some of the time, but there’s a good chance you’ll need to follow up with a handful of customers. You can do this by setting up a post-purchase email automation that goes out a certain number of days after a shopper has bought something for you.
An automated post-purchase sequence can combine a review request email with a follow-up reminder and additional content that helps customers enjoy their product (and increase their chances of leaving a positive review).
Customer review survey
You can also send a survey to customers who have recently bought from you. You don’t need to directly ask them to leave a review, but instead, you can use the opportunity to collect feedback on your product. If a customer shares a positive experience, you can follow up to ask for a full review.
2. Make it easy
The easier it is to leave a review, the more likely customers are to do so. The last thing they want to do is jump through hoops when they’ve already received their product.
Walk shoppers through the process, guide them at every step, and eliminate any potential friction by:
- Reducing (or fixing) any technical issues
- Creating as few fields and touchpoints as possible
- Prompting them with questions to answer
Compass Coffee has a “write a review” button on each product page. Customers can simply click and share their experience. Even better, the brand responds to recent reviews, which can give shoppers the confidence they need to write a review of their own.
3. Incentivize shoppers
Everyone likes to get something for free. Shoppers are more inclined to leave a review if offered an incentive. This could be a freebie, a discount on their next purchase, or additional loyalty points.
What kind of incentives should you offer?
Again, this will depend on your product and audience. If you sell high-ticket electronics, shoppers might prefer a discount on their next purchase over a freebie, while someone buying makeup might be interested in a freebie of a new product.
You can even offer a sliding scale of perks depending on the depth of the review. For example, customers who submit a photo with their review might get 15% off their next purchase, as opposed to 10% off if they leave just a written review.
LSKD offers three levels of incentives for its shoppers—a 10% off coupon for a written review, a 15% off coupon for a photo review, and a 20% off coupon for a video review.
In a similar vein, the Skin Mart review request email above offers shoppers 75 member points for leaving a written review, plus an extra 25 points for customers who submit a photo or video as well.
4. Respond to reviews
Consumers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews quickly. It shows you care and are open to receiving customer feedback.
Your response should be in some way personalized. Shoppers overall are more willing to buy from an ecommerce store that responds to positive and negative reviews.
Starting a dialogue with customers who have taken the time to share their experience secures trust and credibility, but it also gives you a chance to win back shoppers who might have had a less-than-stellar experience.
Don’t push out a blanket response to every review, though. Instead:
- Personalize each response with the shopper’s name, at the very least
- Answer questions, but don’t get defensive in response to negative reviews
- Invite customers who have had a negative experience to connect with you somewhere else, like via email or an official customer support channel
ModCloth responds well to a frustrated customer by apologizing and directing them to the customer care team:
5. Don’t be afraid of negative reviews
Shoppers don’t want to only see positive reviews—they want opinions from all angles. But how you handle the negative reviews is important.
Take a leaf out of ModCloth’s book, above, and respond in a calm and neutral manner to negative reviews. Alternatively, you can create a two-step review process where shoppers are first invited to give a star rating.
Those who give a high star rating are then invited to leave a public review, while those who give a lesser star rating are invited to provide feedback so you have the chance to rectify the experience before their review goes live on your site.
6. Always be honest about reviews
Winning the trust of consumers is the key to long-term success, so you must always be honest about reviews—both good and bad.
Be very careful not to alter negative reviews or delete them, or you might end up criticized for suppressing negative reviews and losing trust with your buyers.
Before you start collecting reviews, make sure you read up on the FTC’s guidelines, which include:
- Not asking for fake reviews from people who haven’t used your product
- Not limiting review request emails to customers you think had a positive experience
- Not placing conditions on incentives
Prospective customers expect there to be a healthy mix of reviews, and having only glowing five-star experiences on your site can raise alarm bells. Instead, provide shoppers with an experience from every perspective so they can make an informed decision that’s best for their own wants and needs.
7. List your store on review sites
Here are some customer and product review sites to get more testimonials from:
- Angie’s List
- Consumer Reports
- Consumer Affairs
- Google My Business
- Power Reviews
How to add reviews to your ecommerce website
You can add reviews to your Shopify product pages using in-built features:
- In your Shopify admin, go to Online Store > Themes.
- Find the theme you want to edit and click Customize.
- Go to the product template you want to add reviews to and click Add Section.
- Select the Reviews app block from the Apps section of the drop-down menu.
- Move the app block to where you want it on the page.
- Click Save.
Alternatively, you can use a third-party Shopify app. Check the installation guides for the app you choose as they might vary.
Here are a couple of top ecommerce review tools:
Where to display online reviews for maximum impact
Once you’ve started collecting customer reviews, what do you do with them?
For best results, sprinkle them throughout the sales cycle, giving shoppers a dose of social proof when they might have an objection.
Most retailers benefit from displaying their reviews in the following places:
Quick Flick showcases thousands of positive reviews on each page that can be filtered by the newest, oldest, most helpful, and those with photos.
Consumers buy products they see in social media posts. Show off your reviews in feed posts and Stories to build trust and interest in your products.
Reviews add authenticity and social proof to your ads and digital marketing efforts.
When people are scrolling through their social feeds, star ratings can attract their attention, while customer reviews can build trust around a brand they’ve just discovered. You can include reviews in your ad graphics or weave them into your captions.
Dedicated reviews page
Give shoppers a dedicated place they can go to read all the customer reviews they want. This can also boost your SEO efforts by targeting the keyword “[your brand] reviews.”
Abandoned cart emails
Some 70% of shoppers leave their carts without making it to checkout. Adding reviews to abandoned cart emails can lure them back and remind them why they added an item to their cart in the first place.
It can also help them compare products with competitors. Don’t limit reviews to abandoned cart emails, though; you can include them in product recommendation emails and other sequences to instill trust and social proof.
Get an email marketing software like Klaviyo to automate abandoned cart messages. Many ecommerce platforms integrate with Klaviyo in just a few clicks.
Make reviews work for your ecommerce business
Reviews are an integral part of the purchase-making decision for most online buyers. As an online business owner, it’s critical to collect and display them at different touchpoints. Once you have reviews, you can use Shopify’s website builder to add them to your own ecommerce site.
Start by sending out well-timed review request emails and adding an incentive to increase the chances of a customer leaving a review, but don’t forget to respond and deal with negative reviews in an honest fashion.
Once you’ve secured a decent number of customer reviews, you can start populating your ecommerce site, ads, and social media channels with them to boost trust, drive sales, create happy customers, and improve your brand’s online reputation.
Ecommerce reviews FAQ
What is a review in ecommerce?
Are ecommerce reviews important?
How can I collect ecommerce reviews?
- Sending review request emails
- Creating a post-purchase email sequence
- Incentivizing shoppers with review rewards
- Responding to existing reviews
- Listing your store on relevant review sites