Positive reviews are critical for online stores.
In fact, according to powerreviews.com, 97% of consumers say that customer reviews influence their buying decisions online.
Competition online is higher than ever and good reviews can set you apart.
In this article, we are going to examine the importance of online reviews, how to get more online reviews for your online store, and how to deal with negative reviews.
The Value of Customer Reviews
The value of customer reviews cannot be overstated.
Your product and marketing could be best-in-class, but if you don’t have any reviews or negative reviews, you’re going to have a hard time convincing people to buy.
In fact, 77% of consumers ‘always’ or ‘regularly’ read online reviews when browsing for local businesses (BrightLocal). In marketing, reviews and testimonials are what we call “social proof.”
Customer Reviews and Search Engine Optimization
Another factor that makes online store reviews incredibly important is the influence they have on SEO placement. Higher ratings from customer reviews cause your page to rank higher in Google’s SEO algorithm.
Don’t believe us? Here it is straight from the source.
Another way that reviews can improve your SEO is when reviews contain target keywords. For example, if someone leaves a review that says “this is the best dress for cold weather!”, you could boost your rankings for the keyword “best dress for cold weather.”
Responding to reviews is a great tool for SEO, but that’s far from its greatest effect; It can also encourage other users to leave their own reviews. Let’s look a little further into encouraging these online store reviews.
Encouraging Online Store Reviews
There are a few simple yet effective ways to encourage buyers to leave customer reviews on your store or product’s page.
1. Ask for Reviews
Sometimes the best solution is the most obvious: ask your customers for reviews. If customers are happy with your product and service, then they should have no problem helping you out with a review. According to BrightLocal, “35% of consumers say they left a review at least half of the times they were prompted to do so by a business in the last 12 months.”
When asking for reviews, we believe authenticity is your most powerful tool. Be honest and upfront—let them know how much a positive review helps your business.
2. Set up Post-Purchase Automations
The easiest way to ask for reviews is to set up a post-purchase automation. Several days after you know the cust
omer received the product, send them an automated message.
Here’s an example of what your review request email could say:
Hi <First Name>,
We hope you’re enjoying your <product name>. It would be great if you could share your experience and leave a review on our website to help other shoppers make a decision.
Here’s a link to leave a review: <insert link>
Thank you for your business and please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, comments, or concerns!
3. Respond to Customer Reviews
At Quantum, we are all about customer engagement. Interacting with customers is one of the only ways to build customer loyalty.
Reviews are another channel for customer communication (in addition to email and SMS). And studies show that customers love when you respond to reviews. According to BrightLocal, “89% of consumers say they would be ‘fairly’ or ‘highly’ likely to use a business that responds to all reviews, positive and negative.”
Taking the time to respond to your customers’ reviews shows that you care and want to build a relationship between you and consumers.
This can create a feedback loop of customers seeing that you actively respond to reviews, then feeling inclined to write their own. Now, whether this feedback loop is positive or negative depends on the experience and opinions of your buyers. We’ll cover negative reviews here soon.
4. Make it Easy to Leave a Review
Reduce friction and make it as easy as possible to leave a review.
One of the simplest ways to do this is to make it obvious. Your “Write a Review” button should be clear and easy to find.
Next, make sure your automated emails link directly to the reviews section. Don’t make the customers navigate through a maze of products and links.
Some Shopify apps, like Judge.me, even allow users to leave reviews within emails—meaning they don’t even have to click a link and scroll to the bottom of a product page.
5. Offer Incentives For Leaving a Review
While simply asking for a review often works, sometimes you need to incentivize buyers to get results.
Incentivizing your buyers to leave reviews can return massive results compared to what it might cost you.
An easy example is “leave a review and receive free shipping on your next order.” Or, you can loop this in with your loyalty program and offer points for leaving reviews.
6. Test SMS
Emails are the only way to request reviews. Meet your customers where they are (on their phones) and request reviews via text message.
The message is more or less the same as it would be with email:
Hello <name>. We hope you’re enjoying your recent purchase. It would mean the 🌍 to us if you could leave us a review. <insert review link>
7. Request Reviews on Social Media and Other Review Sites
Reviews on your website are as good as it gets. But reviews on other sites like Facebook, Google and Yelp are great, too.
Make sure to claim your profiles on these sites and ask for reviews there.
Handling Negative Customer Reviews
Contrary to what you might think, a single negative review isn’t going to sink your ship. In fact, many consumers feel suspicious of products and brands with perfect review scores across the board. It feels inorganic and is difficult for people to trust. When a potential buyer sees a few negative reviews next to an overwhelming majority of positive reviews, it appears natural and can encourage them to consider the purchase.
Believe it or not, according to Trustpulse.com, negative reviews can increase conversion by up to 85%! This is because it reassures potential customers that you aren’t faking positive reviews or attempting to delete negative ones.
If you find yourself facing an unfortunately high number of bad reviews on your site, the best you can do is be proactive with the results. Take the chance to connect with the upset customers and fix your relationship with them. You never know, it just might turn a disgruntled buyer into a lifelong customer! Take your customer service seriously, and use it as a tool for improvement.
Listen to negative reviews. Take an objective look at what your buyers are pointing out. Give these customers all of your attention, and respond to them thoughtfully
Potential buyers will seek out these negative reviews to get another perspective on your product or service. You can use this as an opportunity to reply and clear up misunderstandings and other issues. This will make a big difference in how people browsing reviews view your brand.