7 Ways to Drive E-Commerce Sales with Customer Reviews
‘Tis the season for gifting — that means online shopping, but that also means anxiety. Luckily, you can use customer reviews to drive sales for your eCommerce business – and we’ll show you exactly how in this article.
Reviews can increase conversion rates for eCommerce by 270%
Shoppers experience some fear that their purchases won’t live up to its claims, or that time and money will be wasted. This phenomenon happens all year long, especially while browsing on e-commerce sites. Shoppers cannot touch the product until it arrives at their door..
Because with this pressure to purchase the perfect product, how do shoppers choose what to buy for others, or even themselves?
The answer lies in how companies leverage customer reviews. Reviews can make or break a business, but most of the time they help make a business. In fact, displaying reviews can increase conversion rates by 270%. This is due to the lack of trust shoppers have in traditional advertising. They no longer believe the billboards on the highway, and, instead, turn to those who have actually used the product or service.
Using customer reviews across your marketing efforts will increase overall brand trustworthiness and ultimately drive consumers to click purchase.
Why product reviews matter: 4 reasons
E-commerce platforms give merchants the ability to seamlessly integrate customer reviews onto their product pages. Before we jump into how to use customer reviews on your e-commerce site, it’s a good idea to get to know why they matter in the first place.
When building a product page, there are many crucial parts of the page. For instance, writing a product description that sells is one part of the page that matters as well as clear and accurate product photography.
Since these parts of the page are controlled by the merchant, there’s more focus put on these aspects. Of course, product descriptions and photography are important, but it’s what you can’t control that becomes most important.
1. Product reviews are social proof from fellow customers
People share for a variety of reasons, but reviews support their gut instinct to share the product with others. It allows people to tell others that not only did they love the product, but 2,000 other people gave it a 5-star rating as well.
Social proof helps reassure shoppers when making a purchase. One of the most common types of social proof is crowd-sourced, and customer reviews fall under this umbrella. Additionally, social proof is similar to the bandwagon effort. If everyone loves a product and is talking about it, then others are more likely to purchase the product due to foreseen satisfaction proved through word-of-mouth marketing.
The way to gain social proof is through interactive content. Interactive content, like quizzes, is highly shareable and gives people the social proof they need. With the proliferation of information, social proof is more important now than ever.
2. Product reviews help to build trust
This one is seemingly obvious, but sometimes merchants forget that customer reviews build trust. When working for a merchant, you may inherently trust it because you know how awesome your product is.
But this isn’t the case for someone just encountering your e-commerce site. It is the job of the merchant to gain the shopper’s trust through displaying all reviews, even the bad.
3. Customer Reviews boost SEO (and Google Results)
It’s no longer a secret that customer reviews help with SEO, but how so? If you have your reviews formatted in the recognizable rich snippets, then Google can pull that snippet for high-ranking search results which in turn gives you more traffic to your site.
You cannot trick Google with fake reviews, so be sure you’re getting truly authentic reviews and Google will reward you by featuring your company in a specialized review snippet. SEO for e-commerce is a hot topic and always evolving, so staying on top of all ways to help your traffic will ultimately drive sales.
4. Product reviews increase CTRs (click-through rates)
When a customer is going back and forth about making their purchase, the sure-fire way to push them over the edge is through multiple high-quality reviews. This doesn’t mean all 5-star reviews, in fact people trust ratings in between 4 and 5 stars more than a solid 5-stars.
There’s a 70% shopping cart abandonment rate, meaning that once a shopper fills their digital shopping cart, they close out of the window without purchasing anything. The way to decrease this rate is through valuable customer reviews.
How to use customer reviews for eCommerce: 7 ways
Now that you’re aware of exactly why customer reviews matter, we can dive into how you should be using these reviews. There’s no magic formula for leveraging reviews on your e-commerce site. It’s best you try any mixture of these tactics, and something isn’t working, go back to the drawing board and maybe even add a new tactic to the mix.
1. Social Media: Share your Reviews
Once you gather quality reviews, show them off! First, check with your legal to determine if using your customers’ reviews as testimonials is ok. When sharing reviews, it’s better to ask for permission rather than forgiveness later on.
Once you get the go-ahead, create visually appealing testimonials and post them across your social media. This will turn some followers into brand loyalists, and hopefully will help you gain some new followers who didn’t know about your e-commerce shop beforehand.
2. Advertising: Quote your customers
Much like social media, advertising testimonials should only be used once cleared with the legal team. Advertisements are historically distrusted because it’s coming from the brand and not the consumer.
Testimonial advertisements put in the form of billboards, digital banners, and commercials come from the voice of someone who has already tried the product. This removes the brand voice, which, in turn, appeals more to potential buyers. Don’t forget to use backup software as you create your designs from customer reviews in order to protect your work.
3. Meta-text: Incorporate reviews on product pages
Meta-text is the text that’s smaller below each search result in a search engine. The meta-text tells you what you’re about to read, but if you’re selling a product, try putting a product review there instead to entice people browsing search results to click into your website.
4. Email Marketing: Use reviews to generate FOMO
Merchants can and should create an entire email marketing campaign around testimonials (legal permitting). If a potential customer has visited your e-commerce page but didn’t make a purchase, target them with a testimonial email to get them back onto your page to buy.
If customer purchased something already, ask them how they’re liking their new product and to write a review. This is beneficial because it helps merchants generate new reviews and at the same time get them back to buy more. Your marketing automation tool can track the outcome of the campaign so you can adjust and make changes for your next iteration.
5. Badges: Turn reviews into trust signals
People love to show off when they’re the best. Create badges for reviews you’ve gotten, especially reviews on third-party platforms.
In the image below, you can see that Shopify was given a badge from G2 for being the Top 100 software products in 2019. Now Shopify can use that badge wherever they please and further prove the confidence others have in their product.
6. Address negative reviews: Answer your critics (and show you care)
Merchants get upset when faced with a negative review, but once they can reframe it into an opportunity instead of a threat, they’ll be more successful.
Use negative reviews to respond to your customers and make amends. Others may have had the same experience as this customer, and since nobody’s perfect, it’s ok to have negative reviews.
Maybe there is something wrong with your product and now you can fix it so that this doesn’t happen again, or maybe the customer wasn’t using the product correctly and now you have an opportunity to help them.
Always address negative reviews, even though they can feel personal at times.
7. Video testimonials: Turn reviews into customer ads
Build customer loyalty by reaching out to people who wrote reviews and ask them if they’d be willing to submit a video review. Since the world is faced with fake reviews, video reviews combat this by letting people see the face behind the screen.
Conclusion – Shoot for the (5) stars
Now that you know the importance of customer reviews and how to leverage them, you’ll be all set for a year of success. All you have to do is get started.
Deirdre O’Donoghue (she/her/hers) is a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at G2. She brings her passion for research and creativity to her writing. In her free time, you can find Deirdre fostering puppies or exploring the Chicago foodie scene.