When it comes to increasing sales on your eCommerce site, one crucial area that is often overlooked is customer reviews. Approached correctly, eCommerce product reviews can be used as a powerful tool to not only enhance your business’s credibility but your website’s visibility and conversion rate as well.
“The average consumer reads 10 reviews before feeling able to trust a business” – BrightLocal
Think back to when you last ordered a product online. More than likely, you read through some of the reviews, or at the very least, glanced at the number of stars next to the product.
Would you have ordered the product if it had two 1-star reviews? Not likely.
The product may well have been worthy of those two 1-star reviews, or perhaps the site owner was neglecting to encourage its happy customers to leave a review…
The benefits of eCommerce product reviews
Encourage the next step to purchase
Product reviews have the power to encourage someone sitting on the fence to make that final step to purchase a product. Customers are far more likely to trust people who have purchased a product previously over the business selling it.
Provide supplementary information
eCommerce product eviews also allow website visitors to gather supplementary information about the product that may have not been included in the product description. For example, if you sell clothing, a review might explain if the garment is true to size – information that could only be provided first-hand.
Increase trust and credibility
It goes without saying that the more positive reviews you have, the more credible your eCommerce business looks to potential customers. This means that they are more likely to trust your online shop and make a purchase.
Improve search engine visibility
eCommerce reviews can contribute towards your website’s local SEO – i.e. your website’s overall visibility in local search results. Moz includes ‘Review Signals’ (review quantity, review velocity and review diversity) as contributing ranking factors in localized search. Increased visibility ultimately means more clicks through to your site, and more sales.
Why you aren’t getting as many reviews as you’d like
Unfortunately, the truth is that customers will rarely leave positive feedback of their own volition. Negative feedback, yes, but positive – rarely.
Your customers have busy lives, and unless they are very unsatisfied with your product (or have a lot of time on their hands) they are not going to review your products without direction, a reminder or an incentive. It is up to you to get your customers to leave a review on your eCommerce site, so here are some tips for getting those crucial reviews.
How to encourage eCommerce product reviews
1. Ask your customers
One of the first and most important steps to take when it comes to increasing online reviews is to ask your customers to leave one!
This could be through follow-up emails after a purchase, or even better, a personalized card in their delivery. Though emails can still be effective, personal touch like a handwritten note goes a long way when asking for a review. If you’ve gone to the effort of asking alongside a thank you message, they’re more likely to take the time to leave one.
Remember, your customers are doing you a favor by writing a review as they have no obligation to do this. Therefore, when you do ask for a review, make sure you are asking for it in a polite way – and use open-ended questions such as ‘Are you happy with your purchase? We’d love to hear!’
2. Make the review process simple
If your customers decide they wish to leave a review, you want to make sure it’s as simple and quick as possible. Streamlined user experience is everything. Providing easy click options with star ratings or yes/no questions will allow customers to provide a review effortlessly.
Any roadblocks – no matter how small – can lose you a review in seconds. See below a comparison of Adidas vs Lush. When you click to leave a review on Adidas, you are presented with simple clickable elements that build your review in seconds. Whereas on Lush, you are told you must log in first. Where do you think customers are more likely to lose patience?
Whilst you still must provide your email address and name on Adidas, this is requested at the end of your review process. By this point, you have gone to the effort of reviewing the product, so you are more likely to provide an email and name. With Lush, you have no indication of what the review process looks like without logging in.
3. Offer incentives
Offering incentives to your customers is another great way to increase the likelihood of receiving an eCommerce product review. This could be in the form of a discount code, early product previews, or being entered into a giveaway.
“67% of consumers have now been asked to leave a review for a local business – with 24% of these being offered a discount, gift or cash in return”
It’s worth remembering that you should give these incentives to all customers who leave reviews – not just those who leave positive reviews. Balance is also key – it’s important not to go overboard with the incentives otherwise your reviews may be perceived as disingenuous.
4. Take the time to respond to reviews
Depending on the size of your business, if viable, you should aim to respond to any reviews you receive. A courteous “Thank you very much [NAME] for your review, we appreciate you taking the time to leave feedback” goes a long way.
By responding to customer reviews, it shows you are receptive to feedback and are willing to take the time to listen to your customers. Once they see that other users are getting responses, they may be encouraged to leave a review themselves, along with any queries they might have.
5. Ensure you claim your business on other platforms
Your website isn’t the only place you want to encourage reviews on. Google My Business and social media are other platforms where you can utilize reviews to their full potential. For instance, Facebook. The more platforms your business is on, the more accessible it is to leave reviews.
If you also have a physical location, Google My Business is crucial to aiding your local search engine visibility. This is your listing that appears on Google Maps as well as in search, so make sure you have claimed your business and verified it to start receiving reviews there.
Start making the change
Follow my 5 handy tips for encouraging more reviews on your eCommerce site today and start reaping the rewards – more credibility, more website visibility, and more sales.
Guest author: Adam Blackford-Mills heads up the team at MRS Digital, a leading inbound marketing and PPC agency in Hampshire, UK. With over a decade of experience in the industry, Adam ensures that MRS are at the forefront of search marketing, utilizing the latest techniques and technology.