We all know that good reviews are...well...a good thing. They help improve your store’s reputation, product sales, and the integrity of the business as a whole.
Why? Because of a concept called social proof, which Dynamic Yield fancily defines as:
“A psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.”
Basically, if enough people say you’re selling a great product, a hesitant buyer* is more likely to believe they would also think your product is great and <add to cart>.
(*Or many hesitant buyers. Science says 84% of shoppers trust online reviews as much as their friends.)
That reviews matter is nothing new, but here in times A.C. (After Covid), they’re even more important. 2021 data shows that review interaction (searching for, filtering, or clicking to expand reviews) is up 50% from pre-pandemic levels.
“Sounds great. I would like some of these positive reviews.”
Of course you would. Ahead, a deeper dive into why reviews can be a boon to your eComm toolbelt and some tips to start raking them in.
Are Product Reviews Important to Shopify Merchants?
Product reviews are opinions and feedback buyers post online once they’ve purchased and tried a product. Shopify merchants can then choose to display these reviews on their website--a popular practice on product pages.
If you have reason to think you’d get mostly positive reviews (and why wouldn’t you?), there’s no reason not to include them as part of your site strategy. Here are just a few of the benefits:
Increase Trust and Conversion Rate
Suppose you want to purchase a new wallet. You’ve found two you like, being sold by two different online merchants. Merchant A’s product listing has 14 reviews and an average of 4.5 stars. Merchant B doesn’t list reviews.
You like the two wallets equally, they’re the same price, and the shipping costs and delivery lead time are the same. Which merchant are you purchasing from?
Mmhmm. Point proven.
In the event you’re something of a shopping daredevil and went with Merchant B just for the thrill of it (or just to prove us wrong...rude), then we’ll turn away from hypotheticals and toward data--specifically, this report by Spiegel Research Center, which states that almost 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase and that products with over five reviews enjoy a significantly greater conversion rate than those with fewer.
That’s not all! As the price increases, so does the importance of reviews.
Social proof boosts trust in your business. You can sing your praises all day long, but customers expect that. Neutral third-party people just like them doing so carries more weight.
Get UGC and Rank Higher in Google SERP
Ahem. Right. Sorry. “UGC” = “user-generated content” and “SERP” = “Search Engine Results Pages.”
When customers post reviews of your products online, that’s considered user-generated content. Incentivize them to include photos, videos, unboxing videos and so on, and--voila--marketing value you didn’t have to create yourself. Multi-media reviews also take the credibility factor of social proof one step further -- show and tell.
UGC is also beneficial for SEO. The more unique content related to your store is available online (especially on your product pages) the better the odds of Google recognizing you as an authority in your industry.
To see how customer opinions impact SEO, Yotpo analyzed 500 websites and tracked their rankings over a period of 9 months.
The study found that those which added product reviews to any page (or series of pages) on their sites saw a big boost in organic page visits during that period.
TL;DR, product descriptions are great. We’re sure you’re a fabulous writer with SEO aptitude to spare. Even still, the verdict is clear: UGC can take your rankings to the next level, and all you have to do (to start) is make reviews available on your site!
Get Better CTR from Google
Your site won’t just rank higher as a result of using product reviews, but will also get better click-through rates. To illustrate, take a look at the images below. Which link might you click first? Would your answer change if it was second or third in the list?
Probably not. And you’re not alone! Studies have found that listing customer reviews can increase CTR by up to 35%.
Improve Your Business
Another benefit of product reviews is the direct feedback you get from customers, which can be used to improve your business operations.
Reviews can help uncover issues you may not be aware of. Gilded with new insight, you can take action to resolve customer concern, reduce friction, and create a great experience for present and future buyers.
P.S. Merchant response to negative reviews is a big deal. Don’t ignore them! 53% of customers expect businesses to respond to a negative review within a week and 45% of consumers report that they’re more likely to visit a business if it responds (...politely, obvi) to negative reviews online.
How To Get Product Reviews for Your Shopify Store
Well first, you’ll need to add an app. (Shopify has a default one but it’s veerrrrry basic.) We go deeper into our specific app recommendations below, but first let’s start with sketching out some key strategy pieces.
To get reviews for your products or services, you can either:
- Wait for customers to leave reviews at their leisure. (Read: maybe never.)
- Ask them.
Obviously, option one is less hassle, but option two is more likely to net you those sweet little golden nuggets of social proof--if you execute it correctly. About that...
Plan Your Review Requests
Timing is crucial. You want to give the customer enough time to experience your product, but not so much time that they forget their initial impressions or get bored with it.
How long you wait depends entirely on what you’re selling. Typically, products will fall into one of three categories, which affect how soon a customer would be ready to leave a review:
- Instant YASSS. The customer knows straight away whether they enjoy it or not. Think: food and beverage or single-use products.
Lead time to review request: 3 - 5 days after delivery.
- Wait For It. The customer is expecting a particular result, but knows they’ll need to use the product multiple times to get it. Think: certain kinds of pharmaceuticals, skin care products, wellness supplements.
Lead time to review request: depends on how long the product takes to be effective.
- Will I Still Love You Tomorrow? The customer knows they like the product, but wants to give it some time to be sure they still like it in the future. Think: cosmetics (which can negatively affect skin over time) or clothing (which may wear out quickly or be unfavorably altered by washing).
Lead time to review request: up to your discretion, but we suggest striking while the iron’s hot--1 to 3 days after delivery--then sending a gentle reminder a couple of weeks later to those who may have held their review because they wanted to wait it out.
(Psst, an email marketing platform like Klaviyo can help you easily segment your customers by products purchased, when they purchased, and whether or not they’ve left a review so that you’re only sending that little nudge to the most relevant recipients.)
While it may be particularly beneficial to send a follow up request to customers purchasing products in that third category, multiple prompts for any product type will always give you a greater chance of a response. Just don’t like...be annoying about it. If they’re going to leave a review, two prompts over the appropriate period of time should be all they need.
Once you nail the timing, you can move on to the content of your request. It’s crucial to create as personalized and authentic (read: true to your brand) an experience as you can manage, so we recommend using a platform that can target specific customer groups with individualized language without a bunch of manual bologna on your part. Something like:
“Hey [Customer Name],
We hope you’re loving the [product name] you purchased on [date]. Mind taking less than a minute to share your thoughts with us (and the world!)? Reviews help us improve our products and make sure other shoppers like you get exactly what they want.
[“Leave a Review” Button or embedded review fields]
Here’s what others are saying!
[slider with other reviews of the same product]
Be Prepared with Incentives
“Nothing in life is free,” “don’t expect something for nothing,” etc., etc.
If a customer is particularly thrilled--or...eek...exceptionally unhappy--with your product, they may decide to leave a review out of the goodness of their heart--or their aggressive disappointment.
That said, you’ll increase your chances of netting the acclaim you desire if you reward shoppers for their testimonials. Think: free samples, discounts on future purchases, free shipping, rewards points, or other tantalizing goodies.
Rewards points driven by a strong loyalty program are particularly effective.
If you’ve implemented a tiered program, you might consider making product reviews an action that can help customers jump to the next tier. With a customized email marketing campaign, you can let each customer know how many reviews they have left to post until they get to, as they say, move on up.
P.S. Tiers are a pretty good idea! Research has shown that 50% of customers are actually willing to spend more money to reach a higher tier in a loyalty program.
Reach Out to Customers
Once you have your messaging and incentives ready, it’s time to decide on your primary channels of communication.
Rule number one: reach customers where they’re already active. A surefire way to make buyers abandon their effort is to force them into an unfamiliar platform, app, or website. If you want them to leave a review, you need to make it as easy and intuitive as possible for them to do so.
So take a peek at your analytics. Maybe your Instagram shop is hopping, while your email marketing efforts are turning up cobwebs. (Ahem, here’s what you may be doing wrong.) Perhaps your customers are among the 45% of consumers who respond to SMS marketing or you’ve created a mobile app for your store that can request reviews via push notifications.
Whichever mode you choose, as with anything in eCommerce, it’s critical that you avoid making an arbitrary decision. If you want your audience to take action, you need to meet them where they are and learn to speak their language.
Use a Review App
Whew. This all may sound like quite the hassle for something so small, but we promise the benefits far outweigh the effort, and--good news--we’ve reached the easy part: collecting and displaying your hard-earned reviews!
Shopify offers quite the smorgasbord of review apps, but we highly recommend Yotpo.
Yotpo lets you use a variety of channels to collect product reviews from customers and display them on your website with customizable widgets. To get started, just install the app and create a Yotpo account.
Once you’ve signed up, Yotpo will redirect you to a user-friendly setup wizard with three easy steps.
First, replace the default review request email copy with customized content. (Personalized and true to your brand, remember?) At this point you can also decide if you want to send review requests to previous customers who purchased within a recent time frame.
The next step is to customize the reviews widget, which will be embedded in your Shopify store theme and display reviews to your visitors. You can change colors, formatting, and other attributes to make sure that the widget aligns with your brand.
Continue following the prompts to integrate the widget with your store settings and then, and finish up with Install Now. Yotpo will take care of the rest.
That’s it. You’ve successfully connected Yotpo to your Shopify store! The app will automatically start sending review requests and displaying the collected reviews on your product pages.
(Remember that whole “rewards points” thing as an incentive? Yotpo handles loyalty programs as well, so you can knock out both objectives at once. Nice.)
You Look Great
If you’ve reached the end of this blog post, it should be a no-brainer by now: product reviews encourage brand trust and loyalty, increase search engine visibility and CTR, and offer opportunities for you to authentically engage with your customers and improve your products and operations. Arm thyself with a little analysis, a basic strategy, and the right tools and you’re set!