A simple, easy guide to ecommerce product reviews and why, as a shop owner, you need them

The landscape of ecommerce is continuously evolving. One of the biggest recent changes has been the rapid increase in the number of reviews seen online. Reviews now appear all over the internet whether or not you are encouraging them. This does not mean that reviews are not valuable. In fact, reviews can act as important sources of social proof and can help persuade people to buy products from you if used effectively. 

Let’s go on to look at why you need ecommerce product reviews as an online shop owner, why they are important and how you can manage them. We will also give you some tips on how to encourage customers to leave reviews.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

How does your ecommerce website benefit from online reviews?

Searching for online reviews is now a normal part of many shoppers’ purchasing journeys. That being so means online retailers need to consider them. Here are some facts about online reviews.

  • Up to 70% of shoppers refer to online reviews and ratings before deciding to buy something.
  • As many as 63% of visitors to websites are more likely to buy from you if your site displays reviews.
  • More than half of shoppers trust a site after reading 6 reviews or fewer.
  • 79% of customers trust online reviews as much as they would trust a personal recommendation.
  • The majority of customers, as many as 80%, have changed their minds because of a negative review or negative information they have found on the internet.
  • 75% of reviews left online are positive and 71% of shoppers state that reviews make them more comfortable buying products or services from a site.

Reviews are therefore invaluable to customers, so much so that people now depend on them to help them make decisions. They also confer numerous benefits on a retailer.

Change how your customers view your website and products

The biggest barrier for you to overcome as an ecommerce store owner is working out how to build trust in your brand. Good quality products, helpfulness and reliability all contribute to how people view your business. Positive reviews will help encourage people to see you as trustworthy and as someone who really cares about your customers. Having genuine positive reviews and ratings shows visitors to your online shop that you are willing to go the extra mile for your customers.

People like reviews because they provide unbiased third party opinions of your products and let people see that others have had a good experience using the product they brought from you. People can also use reviews to help them to imagine themselves using a product and also to help answer common questions people may have.

Building credibility and trust

The biggest barrier for you to overcome as an ecommerce store owner is working out how to build trust in your brand. Good quality products, helpfulness and reliability all contribute to how people view your business. Positive reviews will help encourage people to see you as trustworthy and as someone who really cares about your customers. Having genuine positive reviews and ratings shows visitors to your online shop that you are willing to go the extra mile for your customers.

People like reviews because they provide unbiased third party opinions of your products and let people see that others have had a good experience using the product they brought from you. People can also use reviews to help them to imagine themselves using a product and also to help answer common questions people may have.

Send out friendly email reminders

This is not the most traditional way of following up a sale for a review but it is still effective. Be sure to leave enough time for someone to have tried out the product before sending out a friendly email. Leave it for about 1-2 weeks and put some time into automating an email campaign which will entice people to return to you. You can use Mailchimp to do this. An added advantage of using Mailchimp’s marketing platform is that SimpleShop integrates with it. Make sure the tone of your automated emails is kind and friendly and ask people if you can help them in any way.

Make it easy to leave a review

Don’t make people jump through hoops in order to leave a review. It’s already hard enough to get people to leave a review, so make the whole process as easy as you possibly can. Make leaving reviews easy and rewarding. You can even offer people a discount on their next order if they leave one. This is also a great way to build trust between your business and your customers.

Incentivise your customers to leave a review

Never underestimate the power of offering even a small reward as an incentive for leaving a review. People like this, so get creative and think of some coupons, deals, discounts or early bird offers and previews of new or upcoming products you could give customers if they were to take the time to leave a review. Giving people a small reward after leaving a review may be hugely beneficial for your business. Offering customers sneak previous of upcoming products and discounts will help increase levels of customer engagement with your business. This, in turn, will help you develop and grow a thriving business community which people trust.

How to deal with negative reviews

In business, it is unlikely that you will never receive a bad review. Negative reviews are just part and parcel of ecommerce. This does not mean, however, that negative reviews do not present you with valuable opportunities. There is a way to reduce the number of bad reviews you receive. In the industry it is known as damaging admission. This is the notion that you, as the business owner, are honest about and acknowledge the weaknesses of your products. Sometimes shortcoming are caused by production mishaps or human error, for instance. Sometimes products go through seemingly endless revisions before they are deemed well-rounded, finished products good enough to satisfy customers. This is way you might want to acknowledge a shortcoming of your product and offer suggestions for a revised version, before someone else points the same thing out in a negative review. If someone does leave a bad review it can still actually work in your favour. If you proactively address each negative review you receive, it can have the effect of showing both new and returning customers that you care about what they think. It shows them that you are always working to improve your products so that you can provide people with a better experience.

Buyers like accountability and integrity

By making sure you respond to each negative review you receive and address people’s concerns you can show your customers that you have taken measures to care for customers who weren’t happy with the products they brought from you. It can also show that you have worked hard to ensure that protocols are put into place to ensure the product is developed further. You are thus indicating to buyers that you care about them, that you have integrity and are responsible and that people can put their trust in your business. There are two types of negative review that can help you work towards improving a product.

  • Unbiased and credible negative reviews.
  • Useful negative reviews that serve some purpose.

How to use feedback to improve your product

Positive reviews draw attention to a product’s success. Receiving positive reviews can inspire you and really boost your creativity. You may want to ask yourself if there are better ways to provide excellent customer service or to thank your customers for their support.  Always thank people for leaving reviews even if they are negative. If people have experienced problems with a product they could give you some ideas on how you can improve and revise that product.

Use the feedback customers leave to work towards offering people an even better version of it in the future. Make sure you acknowledge any weakness of your product for the benefit of those who have taken the time to help you by highlighting a product’s shortcomings in their reviews. Requesting feedback is also a way of leading a customer towards putting up a full review if it is positive and catching anyone who is thinking of leaving a negative review beforehand and being able to address their concerns. This has the potential to turn what would have been a negative review into a positive review by virtue of your customer service and communication.

A tool to get you started – Mailchimp

Mailchimp makes following up with customers and encouraging them to leave a review easy. By using the first purchase automations or the any product follow up feature you can send emails to customers who have just brought something from you. In these emails you can request that they write a review. These automated emails are sent out at a predetermined time, but you can make changes to them at any point according to your requirements.  You can send automations to people who have brought a particular item, or to those who have brought something for the first time, or to anyone who buys a product from you.

The importance of timing

Make a decision as to when to follow up with customers based on what you sell. The ideal time to follow up with buyers will vary depending on what you sell. Give people enough time to try out a product before you ask if they would like to leave a review. People may be ready to leave a review of clothes after a day but they may need longer to try out other types of products, for example, outdoor sports equipment.

Keep an eye on your reviews

The product follow-up and first purchase automated emails are free of charge and you can use them to ask if customers would like to submit reviews on your ecommerce website or by email. If you have a paid account you can make use of the conversions tracking feature to help manage customer reviews and responses.

Conclusion

Today then, we have discussed the importance of product reviews and why they are vital for the success of your business. We have talked about how your e-commerce site benefits from online reviews and how they can benefit you as the shop owner. We have also detailed ways you can entice people to leave reviews. The most important thing being to make leaving a review as easy as you can. We have offered some advice on how you can make negative reviews work for you, how to deal with them and how you can use feedback to improve your products. Lastly, we have gone through how you can use the marketing platform Mailchimp to send automated emails to encourage people to leave reviews and track customer responses. We hope that you can use the information in this article get yourself on the road to success as an ecommerce store owner. Check out SimpleShop today to find more great hints and tips to help you get your ecommerce business off to a fantastic start.