Online shopping is convenient, but it removes the chance to touch, try on—even smell your products in real life. This lack of product engagement may leave your customers wondering if you’re the real deal.
Thankfully, users can nod to online reviews for an honest opinion of your product! On the flip side, reviews help your eCommerce shop gain more traction, credibility, and sales—all the things you could want.
Our point? Increasing online reviews is a win for everyone! But how do you get started?
Let’s dive into:
- Why online reviews matter to customers
- Why you should care about reviews
- Four ways to skyrocket your review count
Why are online reviews important for customers?
Customers value reviews for two reasons:
1. They trust past shoppers: Care to hear a fun fact? 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations!
2. They get to see your product in action: Reviews have become so detailed, that they almost simulate an in-person experience.
Detailed feedback answers all the pressing questions, like:
- What does this product look like on others?
- Is the sizing accurate?
- Does it work?
- What’s this brand’s customer support like?
And most importantly, is this product worth buying?
It’s no secret why customers appreciate online reviews. But what about you? Why should your business care about this type of feedback?
Why should you care about online reviews?
1. Access to organic customer feedback
Think of an online review as customer research, except you don’t have to administer interviews and surveys!
Take a look at this extensive review for Drunk Elephant.
In a few sentences, this skincare brand learned who used its product, what the user’s skin type is, and why it didn’t work for them.
If this brand gets enough negative reviews from people with dry skin, they’ll know to tweak their product for this skin type!
Negative reviews are also an opportunity to show off your stellar customer service… but we’ll get to that later.
2. An increase in sales
Want to hear something interesting? Customers spend up to 31% more on companies with excellent reviews. It makes sense when you think about it. If hundreds of people are raving about a product, why wouldn’t you like it, too?
Take advantage of this phenomenon and post your best reviews across communication channels, including email.
Adding social proof to an email is easy—just pull three to five impressive reviews and add them to the mix! Boost your trust-o-meter and add the reviewer’s name and photo, too. This way, users can verify these reviews as the real deal.
3. More social engagement
Email isn’t the only place to show off your rockin’ reviews, but your social media channels as well!
Online review posts encourage users to engage with your brand—especially if they’re humorous, like Harrys.
Repurposing content is your best friend here. Turn reviews from your website, review sites, and other social channels into social media posts.
And remember, trust is a huge part of posting online reviews. Post photos or tag the reviewer if you can.
So, you know why online reviews are valuable for both you AND your customers. But how do you get these reviews in the first place?
Get more eCommerce online reviews with these 4 best practices
1. Ask your customers for an online review
Increasing customer reviews is as simple as asking for one. In most cases, eCommerce stores will ask for reviews via email or text message.
Email and SMS automate the review process for you. In most cases, online stores will set up a post-purchase funnel—once someone buys your product, your software (like Sendlane) will follow up with a review request.
Requesting a review comes down to a simple formula:
- Thank your customers for their purchase
- Ask for a review
- Add a link to leave the review
Bushbalm adds a slight (yet important) feature to its text message.
Did you catch it?
At the bottom of the text, Bushbalm explains why it needs reviews: “We’re looking to launch new products shortly and would love your ideas.”
“One of the best ways to incentivize purchasers,” Colin Toh from Headphonesty shares, “is to share how a review can help your business and what it means to you if they leave one.”
In Colin’s experience, explaining how reviews help your business can connect your mission to your customers. It keeps them in the loop with your business!
Email and SMS aren’t the only ways to ask for reviews. Allow people to leave feedback directly on your site.
Or, why not go traditional and call your customers by phone?
Maybe this route sounds “cold salesly,” but Andrew, the founder of Garden Centre Shopping, believes this approach has received “success with a significantly higher percentage of clients leaving reviews.”
“After delivery, we call our customers to confirm they are happy with their purchase and to answer any questions they may have.” Andrew explains. “At this time, we ask them if they would mind leaving a review and then send them a link to review their purchase,”
This tactic sounds like something in-person stores would do, doesn’t it?
But Garden Centre Shopping is a 100% online store! Maybe there is something to calling up your customers, after all.
Take action: Create your game plan and decide how you’ll ask for reviews. You can rely on Sendlane to automate your post-purchase funnel, and don’t forget to add a review widget to your product pages. Or contact your customers and hear their feedback in real-time!
2. Add your reviews to authoritative websites
Sure, people look at your website for online reviews. But you can’t forget about other review sites, like Google and Facebook.
Users visit these websites because they’re credible. Plus, they help users discover new shops! Think about how many times you’ve visited Yelp! for restaurant recommendations—people do the same with online shopping.
Looking at the graph below, it looks like retail stores allow reviews on 1.7 sites.
Popular review sites for eCommerce stores include:
- Google (Psst… 67% of online reviews are on Google!)
- Trust pilot
Take action: Add your online store to a couple of review sites. Consider where your users spend time online (Facebook, Amazon, etc.) and go from there.
3. Engage with customer reviews
Deleting or hiding negative reviews is a missed opportunity to provide customer support.
In fact, 56% of consumers say that a business’s response to reviews has changed their perspective on the business!
Case in point: Buyers want to see how you react to negative feedback—whether it’s with a free return, discount, or sincere apology.
100% Pure validates the reviewer, offers a solution, and proactively solves the problem with a customer representative. This formula is something we can all stand by.
Want to take responding to feedback even further? Head to your social channels and chat with your followers in the comments section.
Responding to comments encourages users to continue responding to your posts. Better yet, it may even improve your visibility on Instagram!
Take action: Organize a customer support team to respond to negative online reviews and social media comments. Validate your customers, solve the problem on the spot, and follow up if needed.
4. Streamline your online review system
An essential part of increasing eCommerce reviews is making writing one as easy as possible.
“The trick,” Danavir Sarria from SupplyDrop reveals, “is to tell them how to give you a review. Lay it out in a step-by-step format with starter ideas so they can submit the review in less than 5 minutes.”
Follow Sarria’s advice and create a step-by-step format using an email review template.
This template above is easy to fill in and drives users to share info other visitors want to see, like the person’s dress size.
Email review templates work best when it's sent soon after purchase.
Sendlane can automate these emails for you. But we also recommend using Sendlane to track metrics like your open and click-through rates. These metrics show if your template is working or if changes are needed.
Take action: Create a review template and add it to your post-purchase funnel. Add any questions you’d like to see in your reviews. Some examples include clothing size or demographics!
An email template isn’t the only way to simplify the online review process. Customer loyalty programs are another approach to get your hands on.
Tim Peckover from Smile.io, a loyalty program app, answers why loyalty programs and online reviews work well together.
“Everyone likes being able to help someone else, but we also like being compensated for our time and effort.”
Tim continues, “Leaving product reviews is no different! You know the value that each review gives your brand, so giving some of that value back to your loyal customers makes it more likely they'll leave the review in the first place.”
Torrid is a great example of increasing reviews with a loyalty program. I reward points for writing reviews, posting Instagram photos, and sharing its product on Facebook—all forms of positive customer feedback!
Take action: Put your loyalty program to use and offer points for leaving a customer review. Even better, follow Torrid’s footsteps and encourage social media posts!
Your eCommerce store needs online reviews
Online reviews are a shoo-in for customer feedback, sales, and engagement. The better quality of reviews you get, the more appealing you’ll look to potential buyers.
Once you’ve created a strategy, Sendlane can set up your email and SMS funnels so that users can provide feedback right away. Plus, you’ll get instant feedback on who’s opening, clicking, and engaging with your messages.
Want to see how Sendlane can automate your reviews? Try us out for a 14-day test run!