In our previous blog post, we discussed how to build trust on your eCommerce store. In that post, we touched on how showing customer reviews on your website can be used as a tool to increase credibility and provide social proof to potential customers.
Hubspot defines social proof as “the idea that consumers will adapt their behaviour according to what other people are doing.”
Makes sense right? When we see a queue into a restaurant, we stand in the queue. Or when we see one of our friends raving about a product, we trust that the product is good enough for us to buy too. It’s not influenced by the company who sold them the product, just an honest customer opinion.
Customer reviews can help potential customers build trust with a brand they are unfamiliar with or have not purchased from before. It shows that people are already purchasing from them and it gives them honest feedback on the service and products that they have received.
Knowing this information gives new customers confidence that their money will be well spent with the business in question.
Increasing your sales as a result of customer reviews is obviously beneficial to any eCommerce business. That said, there are also other benefits that can come with an increase in customer reviews of your products.
Encouraging reviews of your products from your loyal customers also bring other benefits to your business…
Ratings from review websites are often picked up by Google and can be displayed as a review snippet in search results. A review snippet is a short section of a review or rating from a review website.
When Google finds valid review or ratings markup, they may display a review snippet in search results that includes stars and other information from reviews or ratings to answer a search query.
A higher amount of reviews means that you may be recognised more by Google and other search engines, and therefore appear more in search results.
As mentioned above, social proof can increase the likelihood of other customers performing the same behaviour and making a purchase if they see others do the same.
The more people that leave reviews or talk about your product in a positive way, the more that people are likely to be influenced by them.
As your reviews accumulate, so will the amount of influence they can bring.
Customers sharing their opinions and experience with your products and service can give other consumers reliable facts about your business.
For example, a business may claim to provide next day delivery, but hearing that many people did in fact receive their purchases the next day shows that the statement is reliable.
Reviews with facts like these can act as a way to show people that the USPs that your business has are trustworthy.
More reviews from customers may provide opportunities for businesses to improve their products or services.
If monitored effectively, reviews may show commonly recurring issues which may highlight things that the business was not previously aware of.
This gives the business the chance to react to the issues and improve or adapt in order to better serve their customers.
With genuine reviews being shared on social media and other review platforms, word of mouth around your brand grows.
As people show your brand on social media as a form of reviewing your products, their followers will build an interest in what you have to offer. Naturally, people will then visit your social media profile and from there, visit your website.
An increase in exposure can therefore bring you more traffic to your website. Even if a sale isn’t made on the first visit, it starts to build an interest with a new audience. From there, you can use alternative marketing methods like retargeting to show people paid ads who have visited your website, to keep reminding them of your brand.
You may have lots of happy customers, but you might not have a lot of customer reviews.
We’ve put together some tips below on how you can encourage your customers to provide a review on your products or service.
Your website doesn’t need to be the only place for a customer to leave a review.
The more ways that customers can provide a review, the more options they have to choose from. Customers can then decide on the best way or channels for them to leave a review to suit them.
For example, Facebook reviews, Google reviews and other review platforms like TrustPilot (or a platform relevant to your specific industry) are all reputable places for customers to leave a review.
They still provide the benefits mentioned above, but it may be more convenient for a customer to leave a review on Facebook whilst they’re spending time on social media over other methods.
Simple right? A lot of the time when customers are asked to do something for a company they like, they’re happy to help.
Email marketing and social media posts can both be used to ask customers of the business to provide a review and be directed to the best place to do so.
However, it doesn’t need to be left entirely to digital marketing. If you have a physical store, staff could ask customers to leave a review via the preferred method after engaging in a transaction. This can help to spread the word about how valuable reviews are for the business and how much they are valued by other customers.
Consider adding a follow-up email to your post-purchase email marketing campaigns.
We’ve helped lots of our clients add this into their email series to remain at the forefront of their customers’ minds after making a purchase. By following up shortly after the item has been received, it allows the customer to provide a genuine opinion.
Etsy asks their customers to leave a review via a follow-up email or SMS message. As a result, between 20-25% of purchases get reviewed.
Follow-up emails help to build relationships with customers, as it also forms part of the after-sales process. If customers have any issues with their purchase, the customer service team can provide assistance straight away and show that they are there to help.
The easier it is for customers to provide a review, the more likely they are to leave one.
If you are aiming to increase your reviews through email marketing or on social media posts, provide a link which will take the customer to the exact place to write a review. Whether that’s a link to the product they purchased, or your Google My Business profile.
That click-through is important, so make it a worthwhile one and send them exactly where they need to go.
Also make sure that when they get there, it’s not a huge task to leave a review. Huge forms with lots of mandatory fields can put people off. Allow them to provide as much or as little information as possible. After all, even if they only provide a star rating review, it’s better than no review at all! Anything more is a bonus.
Giving customers something in return for their review is not essential, but it can help if you’re struggling to generate reviews.
Money-off discount codes or the chance to win something can help encourage customers to leave a review.
That said, it’s important to make it clear that your incentive is not a bribe for a good review. Therefore, make it clear in your communication that the incentive will be given for leaving a review, not for leaving a good review. The aim is to generate honest feedback, not biased feedback!
Customers have taken their time to provide feedback, so make sure that you are acknowledging them and thanking them for their review.
By interacting with their review and building a connection with them, it strengthens the relationship and may help to encourage them to leave another review in the future.
As mentioned above, staff in physical stores can ask customers for reviews. Customer service reps online or on telephone lines can also get involved in asking for reviews too.
However, you need to get your staff on board with asking customers to provide feedback. Stress the importance of gaining reviews and explain how it can help to improve the business. Refer them to this blog post as part of their training if that helps!
Social media reviews often show images as part of the review from customers. You can also request images as part of reviews if you use a review platform like Yotpo on your website.
As the saying goes, a picture speaks a thousand words. They can be really valuable in showing other potential customers the quality of your products and what they can expect if they make a purchase.
With the relevant permission, share these pictures to your own audience. By sharing user generated content, you can build social proof and show potential customers that other people are buying and enjoying your products.
Once you’ve begun collecting the type of UGC that really drives purchase decisions, it’s time to complete the process by displaying it on your site in the most effective manner possible.
It’s essential for brands to feature customer photos and videos in the most visually-appealing ways, like in shoppable visual galleries across their sites, to boost product discovery, brand engagement, and social proof. Creativity is more organic and the message more authentic when it comes straight from other customers.
After implementing Yotpo’s solution for Reviews and Visual UGC, homeware brand Emma Bridgewater started collecting thousands of reviews and customer photos, strategically displaying that content at key moments in the shopping journey.
With all this valuable content, Emma Bridgewater saw a significant impact on engagement and conversion, with 11.3% of visitors converting after engaging with a Yotpo on-site asset — a 70% uplift compared to visitors that do not engage with assets. Emma Bridgewater now displays authentic customer photos across over 50% of their products, with 18.3% of visitors completing a purchase within 24 hours of an impression or clicking on an image gallery photo, highlighting the influence of customer photos in inspiring purchases.
Sometimes, companies make mistakes. However, the way in which they deal with them can be the make or break between a good and bad relationship with customers and potential customers.
Whether the issue was avoidable or not, if a customer leaves a negative review, it won’t look good to the rest of your target audience.
But don’t worry, how you deal with it is what you should focus on if this happens. We hope you never get a negative review, but here’s how we recommend you respond to them should any arise.
Do not, we repeat – do not delete the negative review! It can be tempting at first glance to delete an awful review. However, how you respond can turn a negative experience into a positive one, and it’s good for your audience to see this.
Both positive and negative reviews should be responded to. However, if a negative review is not responded to, it can harm a company’s reputation even more than responding with a simple response.
No response gives the impression that the company does not care about that customer, nor do they try to help with resolving issues. This could put potential customers off!
Acknowledge the comment in an understanding way. If you have knowledge of the issue, explain what the company did in response to the issue to help the customer. After all, a negative experience turned into a positive one is still valuable, and shows other customers that the experience ended well after all.
If the issue was not known to the company before the negative comment, respond in a way that is helpful to the customer.
Suggest a resolution to the issue, or provide a form of compensation to rectify the issue and build trust again with that customer.
This will also signal to any potential customers who see the review that the company cares about their customers and if something negative were to happen with their order, the company would do their best to help turn the situation around.
The benefits of customer reviews in providing social proof to other potential customers and to build their confidence enough to make a purchase are immense. At one point or another, we’ve probably all been influenced by customer reviews during a purchase making decision.
It can be a challenging task to collect reviews from your customers, but put the effort in and create a strategy to collect them, as the results are incredibly worthwhile.
Use our tips to get started and the more you collect, the more others will follow. Respond to all reviews, both positive and negative to build up your rapport with customers and potential customers alike.