Online reviews are an essential part of today’s operating environment for businesses around the globe. With the internet now largely defining the world in which we live today, the reviews that people leave on various online platforms have a large bearing on the commerce that takes place around the world. Reviews are particularly important if you run an ecommerce website, for reasons that we outline in this article.
Why reviews are important for ecommerce sites
There are a number of reasons why reviews tend to be of particular importance for those that own and run ecommerce sites;
1. They are a measure of trust
Much of the business transactions that take place around the globe have their basis on trust. When it comes to Ecommerce sites, the need for trust becomes double fold. But why is that the case? Well, just consider the fact that when you make an online purchase, you are basically trusting someone else with your financial details.
Indeed, the very business model of such companies as Amazon and eBay is mostly premised on the trust that the customer has in the ability by the company to deliver, both in terms of receipt of the purchased product, and in terms of being able to cover any losses that may accrue during the course of the process.
It’s important, therefore, for Ecommerce sites to cultivate this trust, and nothing says trustworthy better than the positive reviews that are left online by satisfied customers. Still on the issue of trust, most people (79%), trust online reviews as much as they do their friends and family.
2. Online reviews are an extension of the Word of Mouth Phenomenon
Online reviews are also important in today’s business environment because they are an extension of the word of mouth phenomenon that has been the driver behind much of the world’s commerce since time immemorial.
The only difference is that online reviews are particularly enduring, which makes them both an asset and a potential curse. Whatever positive or negative review is left online about your company will likely still be there a decade from now.
3. They influence purchasing decisions
Most of the purchasing decision that take place around the globe are driven by online reviews. In fact, up to 70% of customers confess to having their purchasing decisions influenced by reviews and ratings.
The majority of customers only need to read 6 reviews before making up their mind about a particular product or service.
4. Reviews help you increase your CTR in Search Engine Result Pages
Carry out a search on Google today, and you will notice that there are some results that come with a five star review system. This system may appear to be commonplace at first, but in reality, having star rating extensions in your AdWords ads and in organic traffic can lead to an increase in your Click Through Rate (CTR) by about 17%.
How to get Star Rating Extensions
Google and other search engines derive the data that is used in star rating extensions from a wide range of sources. If you are looking to get Google seller ratings in your Adwords Ads, Planet Marketing has a very well written article in which they explain how you do about doing so.
Broadly speaking, the reviews that are left by people online fall into two categories; product and seller reviews.
Product reviews are focused on a particular product that may be on sale on your Ecommerce site. An example would be a camera or a particular type of necktie.
Seller reviews, on the other hand, are particularly targeted at sellers or businesses as a whole. Seller reviews get comments like, “Customer services was excellent. I would buy from this company again.” If you notice, this review would be for the company, not the individual product.
How to get reviews for ecommerce sites
There are several things that you need to do in order to get reviews for your ecommerce site;
1. Build review functionality into your Ecommerce site
The first way through which you can get reviews is by having the review functionality built right into your Ecommerce website. Most of the Ecommerce solutions that are out there allow you to add this functionality. This makes it possible for people to leave reviews about particular products and, where applicable, your company on your website.
Shopify, as an example, allows you to add the review functionality to your site through the use of a plugin. This allows you to add review forms on your product pages. You can also add review score badges to your products pages.
2. Make follow-ups with customers via email
As mentioned earlier, most of the people who are out there are not going to be bothered to leave a review after making a purchase. What you can do is to gently encourage them, via email, to give feedback about the products or services that they have purchased. You should, while doing this, avoid being overly intrusive.
3. Make it easy for people to leave reviews
A major failing for most businesses that are out there involves overly complicating the process of leaving feedback. People do not really have the time to spend minutes on end trying to understand the intricacies of leaving a review on your site. Also, if you’re trying to get product reviews, you want your system to be automated. The last thing you want is for the customer to have to find the product they bought, create an account, and then leave a review. Make it easy for your customer to ‘click’ a link to leave a review without any signup or verification process. The link you send to your customer should be unique to him/her only.
4. Reward people who leave reviews
The one major problem that’s lacking, when it comes to people leaving reviews on your Ecommerce site, is motivation. In this regard, the only person who is going to be bothered to go online to leave a review about your product and services is one who is particularly disgruntled. What this means is that if you do not take the initiative, your business risks being swamped by negative reviews.
One way through which you can motivate people to leave reviews is by making it worth their while. Why not, as an example, offer a $10 coupon on the next purchase to anyone that bothers to give feedback about your business? Doing this ensures that you not only get the much sought after review, but it also makes it much more likely that for their next purchase, the customer will turn to you, instead of going to your competitor.