Customer reviews are one of the most powerful tools available to online retailers. They help build trust, eliminate doubts, and can dramatically boost conversions.

Many, however, also often have doubts. These doubts might be purely practical. Retailers might simply be asking, “How I collect more positive reviews,” or “How do I position them on my pages for maximum effect.”

But sometimes misgivings run deeper. Retailers might be worried about negative reviews and the potential impact on their conversion rates. Some might even think that reviews are unnecessary, a waste of time and resources.  

So just why are customer reviews important?

The data paints a clear picture.

88% of customers trust user-generated reviews. Studies also show that customers are very eager to post reviews. A Harvard Business School article, for example, describes how reviews provide customers with the extra information they desire. For marketing company Reevoo, including reviews on their site in the right way led to an 18% increase in sales.
Customer trust to ecommerce customer review cartMany customers trust reviews just as much as personal recommendations.

To put it simply, there’s no excuse for not collecting and using reviews! And in this post, I’m going to show you exactly how to use customer reviews in e-commerce, whether you’re selling health insurance or car seats. I’ll cover some of the most effective and little-used conversion-boosting tips. You’ll also learn how to quickly and effortlessly collect great customer reviews.

88% of customers trust user-generated reviews. #ecommerce #customer #reviews Click To Tweet

Here’s a quick list of all the point you will find to Build Trust and Boost Conversions With Customer Reviews:
1. Ask Customers for Reviews in Post-Purchase Emails
2. Package Offers and Requests With Your Products
3. Make the Review Process as Easy as Possible
4. Include a “Review Badge” at the Top of Product Pages and in Search Results
5. Encourage Reviewers to Upload Rich Media Like Videos and Images
6. Remarket to Customers With Reviews
7. Respond to Negative Reviews (and Don’t Worry Too Much About Them)

Let’s dive in.

1. Ask Customers for Reviews in Post-Purchase Emails

If you’re wondering how to get customer reviews, then you need look no further than your email software. Email is hands-down the best vehicle for gathering reviews and is used by many of the top ecommerce players, from Amazon to Booking.com.

Customers reviews on AmazonAmazon sends simple, clear emails requesting reviews. Source.

It’s important to send emails as soon as possible after purchase. Studies have shown that the more time you let lapse after a purchase, the less likely a recipient is to respond.

Allow enough time for customers to use and test the product, but don’t leave it so long they forget about it. And don’t be afraid of sending multiple emails.

As long as you are friendly, inviting, and emphasize the importance of their role, customers are unlikely to respond negatively to numerous emails.

Consider offering sweeteners like discounts or vouchers to encourage reviews, even putting a time limit on these offers to create urgency. Leaving incentives can boost your email conversion rates by 18.5%.

Leaving incentives can boost your email conversion rates by 18.5%. #ecommerce #reviews #CRO Click To Tweet

It’s also worth thinking about rewarding top reviewers. Amazon, for example, rewards people with a special badge. These contributors are more likely to keep leaving reviews, creating a network of reviewers that can always be trusted to follow-up on product purchases.

And here’s another top tip from the likes of Google, Amazon, and Booking.com. Once a customer has posted a review, let them know when it’s live and other people are reading it! Not only will this act as a reward for leaving the review – we all love attention – but it “trains” customers to leave reviews in the future.

Announcing that the review is now liveAmazon lets customers know when their reviews are live.

Finally, remember to test and measure email campaigns and make changes going forward. Drawing actionable insights from analytics tools that are built into email solutions is usually a simple matter. Running different variations to test new approaches is also relatively straightforward.

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2. Package Offers and Requests With Your Products

Want to build on your strategy for garnering reviews through follow-up emails? A simple, actionable tip is to include paper adverts in your packaging. This way, you’ll ensure that all of your customers will see a request for a review, particularly those that might have missed your emails.
Flyer added to a product asking for reviewFrank Body include flyers asking for reviews with its products. Source.
Even better, send a paper flyer offering a voucher or even a free product in exchange for a review. Just remember: if you’re asking for reviews on third-party sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor, some prohibit incentives.

3. Make the Review Process as Easy as Possible

At Growcode, we never cease to be amazed by the number of clients that make their review processes long-winded, confusing, and time-consuming. Always remember that you’re asking your customers for a favor.

Limiting the amount of friction involved in the review process will reduce the number of customers that lose motivation and don’t finish. What’s more, the last thing you want is a frustrated reviewer!

Implement the following tips to make the review process as seamless as possible:

  • Use a one-page form – If possible, restrict the form to a single page, rather than make customers click through numerous pages.
  • Include floating labels – Eliminate confusion by including floating labels. These will ensure that customers know exactly which information they should input.

Mobile ecommerce floating labelsNote how Simply Hike makes use of floating labels to remove any confusion

  • Show real-time verification or mistakes – If a reviewer makes a mistake, let them know instantly by showing a small cross next to the corresponding field. Equally, verify inputs as correct by showing a tick.
  • Make the options simple and cut the fat – The more simple and straightforward you can make the review process, the more likely reviewers are to complete it. Include only the necessary information needed to leave a solid review and cut out anything extraneous.

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4. Include a “Review Badge” at the Top of Product Pages and in Search Results

Rather than limit reviews to the bottom of the page, include a “badge” (shown in the screenshot below) to build trust as soon as a visitor arrives. There are many examples of sites that do this, including Amazon and Walmart.
Star rating presented on a product pageWalmart includes a star rating at the top of its product pages to start building trust as early as possible.
Also, optimize your pages so review ratings appear in Google search results by adding the appropriate schema code. Optimize pages in this way as part of your ecommerce store ratings and reviews best practices.
Star rating on search results on Google Optimize your pages so reviews are shown in search engines.

5. Encourage Reviewers to Upload Rich Media Like Videos and Images

Including videos and images are excellent ways of engaging with customers. Not only does rich media add credibility to reviews, but it also provides extra information to customers, one of the most important functions of reviews as conversion-boosting page elements.

Utilize a review system for your website that allows customers to upload images and videos, and draw attention to these options during the review writing process. Like Amazon, you should include reviews that include rich media – and are thus more likely to persuade visitors to purchase – prominently on product pages, towards the top of the review “stack”.

Videos with reviews on Amazon product pageAmazon includes a section dedicated to “Related Video Shorts” – a compilation of customer reviews and independent reviews from around the web – prior to the main written review section.

You might also want to showcase reviews from social media sites. This is what Vanity Planet does on its product pages by including Instagram pictures from customers.
Photos from customers as recommendations on product pageVanity Planet includes real-life customer images on its product pages.

6. Remarket to Customers With Reviews

Reviews are an important remarketing tool. Include a selection of good reviews in remarketing emails to customers who added products to their basket but didn’t purchase. Focusing on the human element, rather than your own sales patter, can nudge would-be customers over the line.

This principle also applies to marketing and remarketing on social media. Share reviews on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Advertisers are constantly seeking to create authentic shopping ads, and including real reviews in them is one way of achieving this.

Reviews presented via Facebook remarketingLife BEAM uses reviews as the basis for many of its Facebook remarketing ads. Source.

7. Respond to Negative Reviews (and Don’t Worry Too Much About Them)

They’re the bane of any online retailers life, right? But bad reviews can actually work positively to boost conversions. Customers often seek out bad reviews for balance. The key is to deal with them in the right way.

Always respond to negative reviews. Apologize, outline why issues are rare, and explain the ways you’ve made improvements. This will help dilute any negative impacts while also strengthening your reputation for solid customer service.

And remember to carry this practice over to social media platforms and independent product review sites. If potential customers are using these ratings and reviews platforms, showing your presence on them will help alleviate any concerns that may arise due to negative reviews.
Building a reputation for strong customer service while answering on social media Zappos makes a point of responding to any negative feedback on social media, thus building a reputation for strong customer service. Source.

Conclusion

In the right hands, reviews are powerful conversion-boosting tools. But like all other on-page elements, it’s important to test their positioning, look-and-feel, and quantity. Only by doing this will you achieve optimum conversions. Any great review system comes hand-in-hand with a great optimization strategy.

And we’ll say it again because it’s important! Don’t be held back by a fear of negative reviews. Collecting reviews and including them on your product pages is a far better strategy than doing nothing at all.

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