Online customer reviews are more important than ever for the success of eCommerce businesses. With so much choice available, it’s only natural that consumers want as much confirmation as possible that the products they’re buying are worth their money. Especially for first-time shoppers, building trust in your eCommerce business is essential.
With a whopping 92.4% of consumers now using customer feedback to guide their purchasing decisions, both positive and negative reviews have the potential to impact your online sales. Because of this, it’s now up to your business to ensure the customers you want have access to the right reviews, in the right places.
It goes without saying that bad customer reviews tend to be the ones that consumers feel most naturally motivated to publish. This is why it’s essential for your business to create a better strategy for online reviews and encourage more happy customers to get on board.
Wondering how to achieve this? We’re here with some great insider tips!
- Make your eCommerce website review ready
The ability to read and publish reviews isn’t a feature on every website for a reason. Many eCommerce business owners avoid product review sections to reduce the risk of negative feedback impacting their brand image, or simply cut down on the amount of managing and approving their web team have to do.
That said, with customers actively seeking feedback before committing to a purchase, an absent review section on your website might already be impacting your sales.
Additionally, if an unhappy customer wants to publish a bad review, they will. The problem is, if you don’t have a review section on your website — you won’t have any control over the outcome of these reviews.
If a bad review is posted on your own website, you’ll immediately be notified. This allows you to have at least some control over customer communication and your ability to respond. When published on a third party website, not only might you miss out on this customer feedback, you might also miss out on your chance to rectify the issue.
If you’re concerned about adding a customer review feature to your eCommerce website, the most important thing to do is to ask yourself why?
- Are there areas of your eCommerce business you’re not proud of?
- Are you aware that your customer service could be improved?
- Are your delivery or returns policies not up to scratch?
- Do you have issues with the sizing or quality of your products?
- Is your packaging currently causing issues for customers?
- Are you overcharging for products readily available elsewhere for less?
- Are you aware that your products aren’t ‘as described’?
These are just some examples of why business owners might want to avoid having customer reviews visible on their website. If you’re answering “yes” to any of them, there could be some bigger issues ahead for your eCommerce business than just negative reviews.
- Email customers while your great service is fresh in their mind
The best chance you have of getting happy customers to write positive reviews of your products is while your product and service is still fresh in their minds. Especially for eCommerce businesses that place a heavy focus on customer service and a great user experience, striking while the iron is hot is essential.
To encourage positive customer reviews:
- Always thank customers for their purchase (as soon as a purchase is made!)
- Keep customers updated on when their product has shipped
- Offer delivery updates with a positive tone throughout
- Ask for a product review shortly after the product has been received (just remember to give them a chance to open it first!)
Bonus tip: Always ensure that your product descriptions and product photography are up to date. Nothing creates an unhappy customer faster than the delivery of a product that’s not what they expected!
- Provide an incentive for customers to review your products
With 73% of consumers saying they’d be more motivated to write a review if they were offered an incentive, allowing your customers to feel like they’re getting something in return is never a bad thing. Even if they’ve had a positive experience of your business, everyone needs a little extra push to act sometimes.
Even small incentives can be enough to convince a happy customer to write a review. This can include:
- A discount off their next purchase
- Free shipping on a future order
- Loyalty or reward points
- Advance access to new product releases
- A free gift with their next order
Unhappy customers won’t usually need any form of incentive to make an online review — which makes capturing feedback from your happy audience even more important! Even if they do need a little push, it’s always worth it.
- Make it easy for website customers to leave a review
How many times have you started writing a customer review and then abandoned your efforts because the process was taking too long? Trust us, it’s happening to your customers every day too!
To make your review process as easy as possible:
- Include ‘Write a review’ CTAs across your website and in customer emails
- Consider using a pared back review format e.g., star ratings and brief commentary
- Ensure your website loading times aren’t making reviewers abandon ship
- Don’t make your review questions complicated — short and sweet is always best!
- Avoid fake customer reviews
Especially for new businesses, it can be tempting to turn to fake online reviews to help establish your brand image and boost sales. Unfortunately though, this definitely isn’t the way to go when it comes to eCommerce.
Aside from the European Commission now taking an interest in combating the presence of fake online reviews, fake customer feedback is something that all eCommerce businesses should avoid. Not only can it damage the credibility of your business, it can also be responsible for spreading inaccurate information about your products and services.
The biggest reason for avoiding fake customer reviews is that consumers themselves are becoming more savvy to this type of content. With influencer-marketing and social media marketing creating trust issues for some shoppers, it’s always best to stick to honest reviews.
User-Generated Content (UGC) software
One legitimate option that some new eCommerce businesses seem to be turning to for review generation is third-party User-Generated Content (UGC) software. This is when third-party providers send your products to pools of product reviewers, increasing your number of authentic reviews more instantly.
While there are several benefits to this type of review generation, be warned — not all UGC providers are equal in their quality of service. In some cases, you could end up damaging your brand just as much as if you’d opted for fake reviews.
Our expert opinion? Build up customer reviews and user-generated content as organically as possible first with a more traditional strategy, then research options such as UGC software if that’s not working.
How Ireland Website Design can help:
At Ireland Website Design, we design and develop eCommerce websites that tick all of the boxes your customers need. From seamless integrations to SEO optimization, we help your eCommerce business connect with the customers you want.
Your key to better online reviews for your eCommerce business starts with a great website.