The importance of customer reviews for your online shop

Customer reviews for online shop

Category: Customer engagement

Customer reviews are a big feature for Amazon, and now eBay, but is it worthwhile trying to get reviews for products you sell on your own ecommerce website? We take a look at the benefits of customer product reviews for online shops, and how you can go about using them.

Why should you have customer reviews on your ecommerce website?

Build trust
If you’re a small ecommerce business you don't have the same instant recognition of big brands, or even big marketplaces like eBay and Amazon. Customer reviews of your products help potential buyers to trust that they’re not going to be wasting their money when they order from you.

Help customers make a decision
Buyers that can’t decide whether to buy a product or between two products, can be persuaded by other people’s opinions. Reading a review will help the buyer to imagine how they would use the product in their life.

Reduce customer questions
Customers that leave product reviews will probably end up answering questions that other buyers have, that you hadn’t thought of. This helps the potential buyer come to a more informed decision so they’re less likely to return items, and will hopefully cut down the number of customer questions.

Improve your online shop’s SEO
As well as all the benefits of encouraging customers to buy, customer product reviews will also improve the Search Engine Optimisation of your online shop. Reviews will provide fresh, unique content, which means that your website is being regularly updated, all of which will improve your ranking in search results. You should also be able to improve your ranking for long tail search terms (longer, more specific phrases), and benefit from the fact that customers leaving a review will probably use the same words and language that people use when they’re searching for that product. Find out more about SEO for your online shop here.

Negative reviews aren’t necessarily bad
A couple of bad reviews can actually make your reviews more trustworthy. People are wary if all the reviews are praising the product - they’ll be suspicious that the reviews are fake. As long as the number of negative reviews is a very small percent it’s nothing to worry about.

How to add customer reviews to your website

If you decide to try out customer product reviews on your own online shop, then follow these simple tips.

Make it easy
If customers are leaving a review, especially a good one, then they are doing your business a favour. Therefore you should make it as simple and hassle-free as possible to leave a review otherwise customers will give up.

Send out an email
Most customers aren’t going to actively go back to the product and leave a review (unless they really dislike it), so about a week or so after they’ve ordered send them a short email asking them to write a review. This will give the buyer enough time to test out the product, and sometimes even encourage them to make another purchase.

Encourage reviews
It could be worth offering some kind of discount on a customer's next order if they leave a review. Especially in the beginning, this will be a good way to secure those first reviews, which should encourage more sales and more reviews to be left!

Product reviews on ecommerce platforms

Each ecommerce platform has a slightly different way to offer product reviews:

Shopify has its own product review app so that you can enable your customers to give their feedback. There are also several other plugins that can be used.

WooCommerce sites will already have product reviews enabled, but you can turn them off by following these instructions. Alternatively, you can use one of these plugins to offer product reviews.  

Magento websites can also use a number of different plugins for product reviews.  

Take a look at this guide for alternative ecommerce platform reviews or other product review plugins

Product reviews: summary

  • Customer reviews build trust, help customers decide to buy, and improve your shop's SEO. 
  • Encourage buyers to leave a review, and make it easy for them. 
  • Shopify and Magento both have plugins for reviews, WooCommerce allows product reviews automatically. 

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