The How and Why of Reviews and Testimonials on Your Storefront

by Christina Coons last updated on

Customer testimonials are critical for ecommerce. We’ll explain why – and how you can incorporate them.

Quick question – whose opinion of a product would you trust more?

  1. A long-time friend who you know is both passionate and knowledgeable
  2. A fellow shopper
  3. A salesperson.

If you’re like most people, you’d trust the first one implicitly, and still take the second over a sales representative. That’s doubly true on the Internet, where reviews are a critical part of the selling process. Think, for instance, about the last five purchases you made online.

Before you finalized them, you likely did a bit of research into what other people had to say about the product. You sought out reviews by both published reviewers and fellow consumers. And finally, once you made the purchase, perhaps you even wrote a review of your own.

Why reviews matter

Consider: 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and the majority of customers examine online reviews before they commit to a purchase.  In other words, these reviews have real value – both for your customers and for you.

There are a few reasons for this:

  • Reviews build trust and credibility. When people see a product with a large volume of positive reviews, it gives them the sense that it’s a quality product. More importantly, it makes your products feel more genuine – a watch with no reviews seems much likelier to be a scam than one that’s been reviewed positively by a bunch of other users.
  • Reviews provide unbiased insight on your products. A customer reviewing something they’ve purchased doesn’t really have any ulterior motives. They want to share their experience. People won’t doubt them the way they would a salesperson.
  • Reviews are organic, searchable content. It’s been known for a while now that Google’s started to prioritize organic content – and reviews are some of the most powerful organic content there is.
  • Reviews can be used as a customer behavior metric. Has a customer left a negative review of a product or service? Reach out to them – you could turn them from a dissatisfied customer into a potential conversion, or at least identify a pain point with your storefront.
reviews and testimonials

Working testimonials into your website

Now that we’ve gone over the importance of reviews and testimonials to the purchasing process, let’s talk about how you can integrate them easily into your store. The key here is to make it as easy as possible. A customer shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to leave a review – it should be as easy as writing one up, selecting a score, and hitting ‘submit.’

In the case of testimonials, things are a bit more complicated. Customers are generally willing to leave quick reviews – but positive testimonials usually require you to reach out. Once someone has made a purchase, send them an email thanking them, and then ask (politely) if they’d be willing to take a survey about their experience.

You might consider offering them an incentive for the testimonial, like a coupon or discount on a future purchase, but this isn’t strictly necessary.

In that survey, it’s important that you ask the right questions:

  • Why did you buy the product? What need were you looking to fill?
  • What concerns did you have about the product?
  • Has this product helped you in any way?
  • Would you recommend this product to anyone else? Why or why not?
  • Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Finally, your testimonials should include a headshot and name of the reviewer and if possible should also include information such as, their career, website, and location. Make them look crisp, professional, and presentable. Most ecommerce platforms allow you to do this, but there are additional plugins you could make use of, as well.

For example, Shopify has decent built-in reviews functionality, but you could also look into platforms like Angi, MerchantCircle, or TrustPilot.

A good review can go a long way towards converting a lead. A good testimonial can go even further. By following the advice lined out in this piece, you can give your most loyal customers a platform to spread their love about your products – and a way to turn even dissatisfied customers into new prospects.

Over to you

What has worked for you when it comes to gathering testimonials? Have you seen product reviews help to grow your business? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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