May 16, 2023
inShopify Merchant Guide
Complete Guide to Customer Reviews for Shopify Stores
Customer reviews are the corner stone of e-commerce. This article covers the ins and outs of reviews and provides numerous tips on how to optimize your e-commerce store.
Customer reviews are an integral component of both ecommerce and digital marketing. Businesses will often prioritize the collection of customer reviews when scaling their operations as it creates a positive effect on brand recognition and resilience. We have seen countless brands built on word of mouth, something we consider as a powerful motivator.
Industry figures suggest that as high as 90% of shoppers consult reviews before making a purchase and that each star is worth somewhere between 5-9% increase in revenue. This highlights just how impressionable customers are to ratings and reviews, and also how vital of a role they play in ecommerce.
It’s common to see a strong disconnect between shoppers and businesses in ecommerce. We know for a fact that shoppers can’t examine products in person and don’t know enough about the business to confidently complete their purchase. As an effort to provide some much needed assurance, businesses often leverage customer reviews to bridge this divide, while also looking for clues on how they can further improve their operations.
We’ve seen numerous examples of ordinary businesses accumulate hundreds if not thousands of customer reviews. If authenticity and reviews are reputable, imagine how strong of a reputation an online store would have with thousands of positive reviews. Could customer reviews be the cornerstone of an ecommerce business?
Although we like to think that simply displaying reviews is enough, there is still so much utility that remains untapped. We believe that there are endless possibilities when it comes to customer reviews. This article will explore ratings and reviews helping your Shopify store take full advantage of their potential.
Table of Contents
- What are customer reviews?
- Why are customer reviews important?
- How do we improve the quality of our customer reviews?
- Strategies to increase the number of reviews collected
- What can we learn from customer feedback?
- How can we ask for customer reviews?
- Additional types of Reviews
What are customer reviews?
Customer reviews are comments or feedback left by shoppers on any of your marketing channels or surveys. They can be evaluations of any or all components of your ecommerce store. They can be used to gather insight which can in-turn guide your decisions. Or they can be used to cultivate trust by displaying any reviews collected across your marketing platform. Reviews are commonly used to reinforce consumer confidence and are best catergorized as strategic marketing tools.
This article primarily focuses on customer reviews in the context of ecommerce. Below is a prime example of a Growave partner that has overtime accumulated thousands of positive reviews, which demonstrates the clear impact they have on brand strength.
Reviews in Ecommerce:
- Around 9 out of 10 shoppers consult reviews before making a purchasing decision
- While 50% of shoppers trust online reviews for personal recommendations
- Some 55% of consumer read at least four product reviews before making a purchase
- While 3 out of 4 consumers are willing to leave reviews when asked
- Product reviews lead to 3.5x more conversions than stores without them
Source: Online Review Statistics
Why are customer reviews important?
The most fundamental challenge any business experiences is proving their authenticity. In ecommerce your best and most immediate solution is customer reviews. We know that external voices make for ideal advocates but there is so much more that reviews can offer. Customer reviews also share details about your products and nuances that you may have overlooked. Customer reviews also verify the accuracy of any subjective product descriptions you list on your website, effectively verifying any claims that you make. Naturally there are factors to consider such as the honesty of the reviews, the rating of those reviews and their quantity.
Customer feedback can identify critical issues. This should be enough to merit their implementation. In addition to providing deep insight into the customer's experience, reviews can also refine our objectives. Businesses often look towards performance metrics to draw insight but there is no greater source for consumer insight than the consumer themselves. Consumer feedback can help you identify strengths to focus on and issues to resolve, but the difference maker is context. Feedback is often characterized as being rooted in cause, this can help us target specific issues while also identifying trends. Drawing from a larger sample of reviews we are able to anticipate reactions and plan with greater certainty.
Customer reviews are inherently strategic, helping us meet specified outcomes. As an example, reviews under product listings can improve conversions and pop-up tabs can increase the number of reviews we can collect. How we use customer review features can be just as strategic as any other marketing initiative and are often combined with additional features. Many custom review programs include reward options, or the ability to repurpose your reviews.
Attracting New Customers
Reviews can be an excellent source of high quality leads as they raise your SEO profile. Along with the technical benefits, we also see that any corrections made from customer feedback improve your opportunities to convert and eventually retain shoppers. Larger collections of customer reviews have a particularly auspicious effect as they demonstrate consistency and community. The by-product of a large group of advocates results in new channels such as referrals and social shares, all of which are highly reputable.
Demonstrate Customer Care
Contrary to popular belief, negative reviews are more abundant than we know. Whatever proportion of negative reviews that are actually left are an opportunity for interaction, correction and learning. It is precisely these sorts of comments that are prized for their effectiveness as they involve the most critical issues. While many would consider it difficult to actually turn these comments around it is our belief that they are an important opportunity to represent your values. Considering publicly responding to negative reviews as a show of transparency.
Potential for Loyal Customers
When a business with abundant reviews is compared with one with a similar product but little or no reviews any decisions made are made easily. Coupled with a vote of confidence is the possibility for a prosperous future. Loyalty is possible through the assurance that you are the best and most dedicated source for any product in demand. For those seeking a long-term solution having clarity is essential.
Suggest Reading: Best Apps for Customer Reviews
How do we improve the quality of our Customer Reviews?
The quality of your customer reviews is arguably more important than the quantity. There is no reason in having reviews unless they reflect positively on your business. Therefore improving the quality of your average rating should be a key objective for your customer reviews strategy.
Honesty is always the best policy
Customers have expectations based on what you display in your ecommerce store. These expectations always find their way into customer reviews. Quality is a one way road and over delivering is always a wise approach. Managing customer expectations is essential for honest reflections of your store.
Identify a Working System
A key to success is finding what works for your brand. Test around different channels and tools to identify the best way to accumulate customer reviews. You will inevitably find that the process takes time to refine and that the best tools are necessary. The main objective is to find what actually generates customer interactions. This is a more realistic perspective which may require some sort of incentive to improve engagement.
Interact with customers
Keep the conversation going. By showing you are receptive you make customers eager to leave reviews. A simple response is enough to show that you are present and that you care. Bear in mind that whenever you respond to a customer review that it’s also visible to all your visitors and can influence their opinion.
Remain attentive to customer needs
Keep an open ear to customer needs and move quickly to resolve them. There is no more direct information than from customers. Making several small changes as they emerge can have a cumulative impact. This will also result in a very constructive reputation that can reflect in your customer reviews.
Deliver on your promises
Customers make their purchasing decisions based on the information that you provide them. Whether it's in regards to shipping, product dimensions or return policies. Having mismatching information is a sure fire way of degrading your review scores.
Lead with a common cause
Sharing a common cause with your customer base is an excellent way to cultivate a strong reputation. Customers are much more likely to support a business that shares their values. Identifying with a cause can help you accumulate customer reviews and drive valuable referrals from like minded people.
Make it easy and rewarding
The first challenge any customer encounters when they want to leave a review is usability. Apps can improve how shoppers interact with your store and also make it easier for them to leave reviews. Apps as a comprehensive solution offer several highly impactful features like the ability to reward shoppers for reviews or pop-up tabs. Depending on how heavily you choose to focus on customer reviews, you can find solutions that can fit your needs.
Automated emails are an outstanding source of quality customer reviews. You can time your review requests to be sent after customers have had a chance to try your product. You can also include a discount to improve the chances that a customer will leave a review. Consider also including product recommendations with reviews to give your store a low cost sales boost.
Strategies to increase the number of reviews collected
The number of reviews you can collect reflects the overall eagerness of customers to share their opinions and has an excellent effect on how your brand is perceived. There are several ways you can accelerate the collection of customer reviews. Below are a few recommended approaches, any of which can contribute to a more robust review profile.
1. Capture Customer Credentials: One Click Login & Run Email Campaigns
It is possible to prioritize customer registration and later use customer credentials to leverage reviews. These emails are highly effective as they cost very little to operate and can easily become your highest converting channel. You can use email notifications to promote your products and request customer reviews. Emails are perfect for personalized recommendations that are only reinforced by product reviews.
2. Scale Social Media: Reward Social Follows & Feature User Generated Content
Focus on scaling your social media presence with rewards for social media likes and follows. As your platform expands you can begin to feature customer reviews and user generated content to promote your store. Once your social media followers are at a sufficient level, you can move to monetize using an omni channel approach. This strategy becomes more productive the more followers you manage to accumulate.
3. Headlining Reviews: Create Engaging Hero Sections & Feature Customer Reviews
Implement new hero sections and highlight reviews as a central part of marketing strategy. You can do so by implementing engaging visuals to create assurance and accelerate collection with creative campaigns. This is a low cost approach that focuses on cultivating trust and uses customer reviews as a central driver. This strategy works particularly well in industries with high expectations or a history of poor quality assurances.
4. Incentive Driven Reviews: Reward Reviews & Feature on Product Pages
Sort of like a throttle, you can use points and discounts to accelerate and decelerate customer reviews. This can help you accumulate strong brand recognition and improve opportunities to cross sell. This is more of a rewards centric approach and is most likely the easiest approach on this list. This approach can also be combined with loyalty programs for a stronger customer retention.
5. Information Lead Reviews: Gather Important Information & Implement Q&A Functions
Consider combining your customer reviews with a Q&A function and use customer interactions as a source of insight. This approach focuses on using comment sections as a place for active communication with shoppers. This indicates to customers the degree of your activity and could serve as an extension of your customer service function. The information that you display in these sections can be a great source of information for both you and future shoppers. The belief is that the high activity will invite further interaction.
6. Focus on Intrinsic Value: Developing Product & Service Quality
The most fundamental approach to any successful customer reviews strategy is simply developing intrinsic value. This is a strategy that is led by improving your deliverable product and creating genuine value. While you aren’t necessarily trying to increase the mass quantity of your reviews, this approach can generate plenty of high quality ratings and reviews. Although this is driven by the customers desire to leave a review, we must enable the customer to easily act on their motivations.
Suggested Reading: Examples of Businesses Affected by Reviews
How can we better use customer reviews?
Customer reviews have numerous applications. The strength of customer reviews lies in their comparison to stores without them. Whereas the ecommerce stores that have strong review profiles tend to win, even if there is a difference in prices because of reliability. These clear indicators make us reevaluate how we implement review and ratings.
Ways to use customer reviews:
- Directly on product pages
- Carousels under checkout carts
- Dedicated review pages with photos
- Verification badges with summaries
- Star ratings and reviews
- Included in personalized emails
- Visuals in header sections
- Social media stories and posts
- Across your additional marketing channels
- As part of your advertising graphics
- Guest posts and blogging
- Mobile apps and pop-up tabs
Suggested Reading: Word-of-Mouth Marketing
What can we learn from customer feedback?
Key observations can define the success of any customer feedback you manage to generate. You can refine your catalog, identify issues brought forward and more importantly gauge customer impressions. Customer feedback is necessary for a successful ecommerce campaign. Due to the very personal nature of customer reviews, the information you manage to collect can be more influential than analytical data. Granted not all information is important, key observation can be transformative.
What to watch for with Customer feedback:
Customer Journey: Moments in the customer journey that create unnecessary complications for the customer and form trends. More emotional reviews can present pain points that can be alleviated. Similarities in customer complaints signify trends which can spell danger.
Product Packaging: Details regarding how you present your product may arise that can stir strong emotion. Your findings can help improve customer impressions
Delivery Delays: Depending on customer demands, shipping speeds may cause you unnecessary headaches. Certain industries have greater expectations or a need for quicker delivery. Observe industry standards for shipping for a benchmark.
Product and Catalog: Keep close watch for reviews regarding your products to identify weaknesses and strengths. The main idea is to refine your catalog to match consumer demand while removing poor performing products which may create complications and diminish focus.
Information Gaps: Questions regarding recurrent topics are a clear sign that you need to provide clarification. This helps you manage expectations and provide accurate information about your services. Consider improving your product descriptions or including a FAQ section.
SEO & Page Performance: A more technical challenge may present themselves. Page loading issues, images, page performance and other similar challenges may require immediate resolution. These challenges directly affect the time consumers spend on your website and could be hazardous to overall performance.
Customer Service: Customer service provides deep value for shoppers and supports potential transactions. We should monitor any customer feedback regarding customer service to identify failures. Customer service is a component that can go wrong and knowing how and when is vital.
Additional Types of Customer Reviews
If customer reviews seem like a great idea for your brand, consider leveraging the other types, all of which help build trust with consumers. Surely one of these options can elevate your brand's reputation.
- Testimonials: Approaching customers that have had outstanding experiences can lead to excellent marketing material. Testimonials represent the best cases from the best customers, which speak volumes on how your product has impacted their lives. These types of customer reviews reveal deeply personal experiences for customers to draw inspiration from.
- Customer Stories: These types of reviews reveal how customers use your product, how they benefited and other unique perspectives about your product. Most importantly this shows customers that there is more to your business than the obvious experience. When your product can be a little complicated or requires further explanation, customer stories can be a great method for a deep dive into your product's intricate elements.
- Brand Ambassadors: Influencers are a great source of product recommendations and tend to have a dedicated following. As advocates for your brand, they share their approval to a highly relevant demographic. In more specific niches ambassadors have greater influence over customer opinions.
- Videos Reviews: In comparison to similar review methods, video stands out because it places a face to their name. Questions may arise around the honesty of reviews, and although video reviews require more effort to organize they have a very high degree of reliability.
- Review Bloggers: Customers often seek review blogs when they are trying to compare products. They want to know what has the most value for their money and this gives us an opportunity to strategically place our product review. These blogs count as independent sources and are highly influential over customer opinions.
How can we ask for reviews?
We do not have a real reviews strategy without the tools we use to collect and manage them. The real complication is how we collect the customer reviews. Ideally we want a reviews app that we can use repeatedly that doesn’t require us to jump through hoops. The process of asking for reviews can be greatly simplified and improved and generally apps only require one simple install.
These review apps use rewards to create motivation, and as a result accelerate our ability to gather customer reviews.They also make it much easier for customers to actually leave the review with their improvements to user interaction. Most apps also include a way to register subscribers, who can be used to remarket with automated emails. Emails are an excellent opportunity to accumulate customer reviews.
Suggested Reading: How Growave can maximize your customer reviews
Benefits of customer review apps:
- Optimize Usability: Customer review apps make it easier and quicker to leave a review with additional improvements to user interaction.
- Increase Review Quantity: Apart from improvements to the user experience, it’s possible to reward reviews with discounts and include review requests into automated emails.
- Improve Review Quality: A reviews app allows you to control who can leave reviews, to moderate the reviews customers leave and to highlight preferred customer reviews for all to see.
- Manage Visibility: With the added functionality comes also the ability to strategically place reviews in places where they will have maximum effect. You can include reviews under product listing, on checkout pages and even create your own dedicated landing page with all your reviews.
- Generate Reviews Data: A strong reviews app will have an analytics section that monitors the productivity of your program, along with the feedback that you receive from your customers. All of which can help you make important decisions.
Can you automate email notifications?
Growave has several email templates and the option of building your own unique templates. All email notifications can be automated and timed according to the customers journey. You can personalize your emails according to your needs.
Do Reviews impact SEO?
Reviews are excellent for SEO and make your shop stand out. They can be used to build your website's profile and can featured across your marketing channels.
How do Reviews look like in store?
Reviews are generally seen under products, on dedicated pages or as pop-up widgets. Reviews can also be used in emails and often feature on social media or search engines. They can be customized to improve their appearance and often have additonal features that improve your control over how they are displayed.
Can you import/export Reviews data?
Reviews are important for ecommerce business and therefore should be importable/exportable. You can manage your review data by creating CSV files allowing you to save your data for future use.
Can you unify Reviews for product variants?
Reviews are generally divided by products, certain catalog items maybe be only variations of the same product. You can unify these products with custom tags and share reviews for these products.
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