Think customer testimonials are just a “nice to have” for your business?
According to the numbers, they might actually be more important to your bottom line than you think. Data shows that testimonials increase conversions and play a major role in customer research and buying habits.
In fact, according to a survey done by BrightLocal, 77% “always” or “regularly” read reviews and testimonials when browsing for local businesses. That says a lot, doesn’t it?
With this in mind, let’s look at how you can improve your customer journey map with the power of social proof via testimonials. We’ll examine exactly how you, too, can source and deploy home-run reviews that increase sales and reduce uncertainty for online shoppers.
What is a customer testimonial?
A customer testimonial is an endorsement from a satisfied customer that vouches for the value of a product or service. A great testimonial should increase the trustworthiness of a brand and its products and attract new customers.
Why are testimonials important?
Testimonials are persuasive because they’re a powerful form of social proof: a psychological concept based on the idea that we are more likely to follow the actions of others before us because we assume that those actions reflect the correct behavior.
Social proof helps you leverage your current customers to sell to potential customers.
Think of it like this: If you see that your favorite beauty icon recommends a certain face cream, you’re going to trust that recommendation, right? Maybe you’ll even buy it. The testimonial instantly validates the product for you.
The same thing happens even if you don’t know the person giving the praise. Testimonials are real, authentic pieces of product feedback that influence purchase decisions.
There have been quite a few studies that look into the effectiveness of testimonials in relation to return on investment. The results indicate that they do, in fact, have a major impact on conversion rates and sales.
The numbers don’t lie:
- Statista data shows a 38% conversion growth on consumer electronic sites with product reviews.
- BrightLocal found that 98% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. 81% of consumers use Google reviews to evaluate local businesses.
- When McKinsey & Company surveyed a lighting product for a certain company. It found that a simple increase in ratings from 2.5 to 4.5 stars increased sales by double digits.
- A Trustpilot survey found that 86% of customers were more likely to purchase if a business homepage had positive reviews and star ratings. 85% of customers were influenced by reviews on product pages.
What we can take from this is a simple conclusion: Testimonials are essential for ecommerce businesses.
Customer reviews have been a big help with our organic growth. Instead of advertising, we pour everything we have into delighting our customers—because we believe delighted customers are the best advertising we could ask for. Customer reviews then allow these customers to share their experiences with new visitors to the site. It creates a beautifully positive feedback loop.
9 customer testimonial examples
Once you’ve started gathering customer testimonials, there are a few different places you should spotlight them to make sure you’re using them to their fullest potential.
1. Quote testimonials
Brands like Lotus Belle have a dedicated testimonial page. They’ve taken an interesting approach by grouping types of testimonials by buyer concerns (wind durability, quality, size, etc.) and by celebrity praise and corporate feedback.
2. Social testimonials
Every day, happy customers post hundreds of testimonials on social media without even being asked (or realizing that’s what they’re doing).
By keeping track of your mentions, monitoring keywords around your products, and watching hashtags that include your company/product names, you can easily spot these testimonials in the wild, and then share them with the click of a button. This might be the easiest form of testimonial gathering there is.
Brands like MVMT are innovating by turning social media testimonials into sales. On its website, you can browse those social media posts and buy through Instagram directly from the site.
Another form of social testimonials requires branded hashtags. Fashion Nova encourages customers to share photos of themselves wearing its products with the hashtag #novababe.
3. Influencer testimonials
Nowadays, every small business and large corporation uses influencers as part of their marketing strategy. The global influencer market is valued at more than $13.8 billion. The majority of people (61%) purchase based on influencer recommendations.
Influencers not only have access to a large following, but they also have loyal followers. Don’t feel intimidated or pressured to land Cristiano Ronaldo or Katy Perry to endorse your products. You can find micro-influencers like Beth Comstock who will get your brand and products in front of a smaller but very loyal audience.
The tweet below shows how her testimonial about Glossier reached her loyal 2,700 followers on Twitter. It’s heartfelt and not only endorses Glossier’s Lash Slick product, it also raves about Glossier as a company.
4. Video testimonials
Video testimonials are a more dynamic way you can present testimonials. They’re effective at getting prospective customers to feel they’re reading an honest and trustworthy assessment of a product or company that consistently leads to conversions.
According to a study done by WYZOWL, two out of three people are more likely to buy something after seeing a video testimonial from a previous customer. And 77% of people who have seen a testimonial product video said they were motivated to make a purchase.
Wiley Publishing’s video testimonial about Hootsuite’s organizational training program for social media is a great example. It doesn’t feel like Wiley is trying to sell Hootsuite. Instead, it feels like an honest conversation about how Wiley was able to use Hootsuite’s expertise to further its own goals.
5. Success story testimonials
Everyone loves a success story. That’s why biographies like Barack Obama’s Promised Land sold more than 2.57 million copies in the US, and was rated the bestselling book in the US in 2020. Customer stories are no different.
Take a look at Distil Union’s success story. It allows readers to learn more about Distil Union as a business and how the company used Shopify to leverage success.
As marketing material, this inspires other small business owners and startups. It also promotes Shopify’s services and gives prospective customers ideas on how to maximize what Shopify offers so that it works for their business. Shopify has an entire page dedicated to customer success stories.
6. Interview testimonials
An interview testimonial is just a question-and-answer format that allows you to ask customers about their experiences with your products or services. This is one of the more simple ways to highlight feedback. There’s no need to rewrite or reformat, you can simply write out the question and then show the answer.
You can also use multiple formats when using an interview template. You can write out the interview (put it on a blog), videotape it, or put it on a podcast.
This will reach more people using their preferred method of content consumption. And you will be able to ask questions highlighting different aspects of a customer’s journey with your company and products.
7. Long-form testimonials
You generally want testimonials to be short and straightforward, but long-from blog post testimonials also have their benefits. Take a look at Style Factory’s long-form review of the email marketing app GetResponse.
Here the blog post testimonial can go into much more depth about the different plans and features of GetResponse. It goes into the different pricing options, the pros and cons of GetResponse’s services, and even gives recommendations about similar apps.
This sort of testimonial builds trust with your prospective customers. It’s unbiased and informative and allows those consumers to better understand how your products and services will work with their needs.
8. Product page reviews
Testimonials, ratings, and reviews are important to spotlight on product pages, as they allow browsing shoppers to read real feedback from past buyers. Partake Foods features a section with star ratings and customer reviews on every product page, as seen here:
9. Case studies
You can even take testimonials further by building them into robust case studies that tell a story about problems your product solves.
Squatty Potty does this with a page devoted to medical case studies that prove the effectiveness of its solution:
Not only does this further validate your product for the customer, but case study testimonials allow customers to see a more robust form of social proof and dive deep into results produced and problems solved.
How to get customer testimonials
Now that we understand the value of a testimonial, let’s talk about how you can start collecting your own.
Step one is simple: You need to make the ask.
Data shows that if you ask for a testimonial, most of the time customers are happy to oblige. In fact, a survey by Brightlocal showed that 68% of consumer respondents will leave a review for a business when asked.
So, how do you go about asking for testimonials?
1. Use an automated email that sends 5-7 days after delivery
Gathering reviews doesn’t have to be a manual, time-consuming process. With the help of an automated email triggered to send five to seven days after delivery, you can reach out to every customer and ask them to leave a review if they’re satisfied with the purchase. (Note: You’ll need to integrate Shopify with your ESP or use a Shopify app to set up and automate these behavior-triggered emails.)
To encourage action, you might offer a small discount off their next purchase with you, enter them into a drawing for a prize, or even just give them a shoutout on your social media accounts to thank them.
2. Send a customer satisfaction survey
Customer satisfaction surveys are another easy way to gather testimonials and rich customer insights, and you can do this efficiently thanks, again, to email automation. By integrating a tool like SurveyMonkey, you can automatically follow up with customers post-purchase to gather feedback.
Include survey questions like:
- What doubts did you have before completing the purchase?
- What questions did you have prior to purchase?
- Why did you buy [blank]?
- What are you using [blank] for?
By also including an open-ended question that allows participants to write in a testimonial (or to share general thoughts), you can gather social proof while learning how to improve your customer experience.
Learn more: What is Customer Retention? Definition and Guide
3. Use apps to gather feedback
If you’re looking for a way to integrate a tool that can simplify testimonial collection, consider a few apps that work with Shopify, such as:
All of these integrate seamlessly with your Shopify store and can help you quickly start gathering customer reviews and testimonials.
4. Ask your best customers
High-quality testimonials don’t come from just anyone. Most of the time, they come from a very specific slice of your customer base. Here’s how to find this special group.
It only makes sense to kick things off with your best customers—after all, they’re already your biggest fans. If you’re not sure how to find them, consider sorting customers based on conditions, such as:
- Number of purchases: Look for those who’ve repeatedly made purchases from your store
- Total spent: Look for your top-spending customers
- Length of customer relationship: Look for the customers that have had long-term relationships with you
Essentially, this is your VIP customer segment. You know they love you, so reach out to them and ask for testimonials that explain why they’ve become such big supporters of your brand.
Happy customers who’ve shared praise about your product on social media are already acting as brand evangelists for you, so you should also spotlight these organic testimonials on your social channels.
You can also take these efforts a step further. Consider reaching out to ask for a more formal testimonial from these happy customers that can live permanently on your site (without losing them to the fast-paced timeline of social media.)
5. Connect with “promoters” from a net promoter score survey
Net promoter score surveys help merchants gauge customer satisfaction and loyalty by asking customers the question:
"How likely is it that you would recommend our company/product/service to a friend or colleague?"
Respondents can answer using a rating system of 1 to 10, with 1 being highly unlikely and 10 being highly likely.
With this data, you can then reach out to your “promoters” (who responded with 9 or 10) and ask them to write a testimonial that reiterates those positive feelings.
How do you do this? You can collect net promoter score responses via email by integrating a tool like SurveyMonkey or Customer.guru (and you can embed positive customer testimonials directly to your site).
Tips for asking customers to write great testimonials
Now that you know the “how” and “who” parts of testimonial collection, let’s get to the “what.”
It’s not enough to have general testimonials—you want solid, convincing testimonials that drive results for your business. In fact, data shows that 58% of consumers would pay more to support a company with good customer feedback.
So what makes a home-run testimonial?
In large part, specificity.
Generalizations aren’t very effective when it comes to social proof. Instead, you want highly descriptive recommendations and praise that touch on some of the pain points and obstacles your target audience faces to purchase.
You can encourage your testimonial-givers to be more specific by:
- Reminding them of the product they bought from you. Keep the product fresh in the customer’s mind.
- Asking questions using words/language you want mirrored back in the testimonial. Include key words and phrases your customers use when discussing the product.
- Showing them what other happy customers said about the product(s) they bought. Help inspire better quality testimonials by showcasing some contextual examples.
- Spelling out what you’re looking for in a testimonial. Do you need short-form soundbites? A few sentences? Stories? Be specific about what you want format-wise.
- Asking for supporting materials. Adding a photo of the person giving the testimonial boosts trust according to research on the concept of “truthiness,” while media like product photos/videos are valuable user-generated content that can enrich testimonials.
- Asking them to address common customer doubts (reverse testimonials). Use questions like, “What were your concerns about buying (and how did you overcome them)?”
Choosing testimonial software
There are lots of tools to consider when it comes to testimonial collection. Let’s look at a few.
KudoBuzz: This free app lets you collect and display customer reviews and testimonials from social channels and Yelp. It also allows you to send emails after order fulfillment to request feedback automatically and can help you improve your SEO.
EVM Testimonials Showcase: This tool is $7.99 per month and allows you to collect (and moderate) rich customer testimonials with photos. Also SEO-friendly, this tool has advanced sorting features and fully customizable features so that your social proof flows nicely with the rest of your site.
Need an expert to take this off your hands completely? Consider outsourcing and connecting with a Shopify Expert who can help manage your testimonial collection all on their own.
Testimonials: Harness the voice of existing customers
The big takeaway is that most ecommerce businesses can benefit from investing some time into a testimonial collection process.
Whether you use a tool to automate the process, outsource the work to an expert, or tackle testimonial collection on your own, find a way to unearth and surface positive sentiment from past customers. It can be a powerful way to win over new customers.
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Customer testimonials FAQ
What is a testimonial quote?
What is the purpose of a testimonial?
How do you write a customer testimonial?
- Figure out what it is you’re trying to show with this testimonial.
- Ask your customers specific questions.
- Keep it short and easily readable.
- Include the customer’s name and, if possible, their picture.