Benefits of E-commerce Reviews & Customer Incentives

Dastan Chikeev
11 min readOct 31, 2023

We’ve distanced ourselves from the basics. In the race to find a perfect solution we sort of forget our priorities. While this may seem like some grand philosophical question, it’s a little more practical than that. What do I mean?

Let me ask you: What do all the most successful brands in the world have in common?

An unrivaled understanding of customer demand.

Every new product launch is done with real conviction and intent. They create a product that is fine-tuned to fit into customer demand like a glove. So when they look back to consolidate their strategy after launch, they find roaring crowds of willing customers.

So when we ask, why is the customer so important? You can expect one definitive answer across the board, that the customer possesses all the power. Likewise, they also possess the power to shift entire markets with their opinions. So when we ask, why are customer reviews so important, we should intuitively know that it has to do with their impressions of our brand.

So let’s look once again at our challenge:

  • Creating incentives for reviews to motivate action
  • Producing verified ecommerce reviews for authenticity
  • Describing our products from the customers’ point of view
  • Cultivating customer trust and proving our reliability
  • Drawing insights that can reveal things we need to work on
  • Improving how users interact with our website and how we display reviews
  • Improving the quality of our reviews and alleviating customer complaints

When the elements listed above are adequately intermingled, we find ourselves well-aligned with their desires. With all honesty, the importance of customers cannot be neglected and so when we take this stance on the matter, we find that their input becomes our source of strength.

And so let’s jump straight into it!

Let’s look at the importance of product reviews through figures

Luckily for us, there are endless sources of data that describe the importance of ecommerce reviews through statistics. Whatever feature we implement into our ecommerce store, should produce some sort of financial benefit to be viable in the long term. Reviews are central to ecommerce as an effective solution to the most critical issue of trust.

Ecommerce reviews in figures:

  • Customers almost universally check out reviews before shopping online with figures suggesting as many as 90% of customers validate a business before shopping.
  • It is also thought that positive reviews have a multiplier effect on conversion rates nearing a 300% increase.
  • We commonly see businesses using customer reviews to identify product issues and make improvements, 84% of marketers believe that understanding customers is critical to success.
  • Businesses with a high volume of positive reviews are often set apart from competitors, with 68% of customers preferring businesses with strong review profiles.

Growave provides expert content on e-commerce, you can check out their blog here.

Why reviews are important for small business

Allow me to follow the theme by stating, that the single most critical inclusion into a small business’s marketing strategy is reviews. I hope my urgency is being relayed here because any ecommerce business’s biggest challenge is establishing authenticity. After analyzing countless small businesses, I can firmly say that businesses with poor review profiles can struggle to make even a single conversion. Customers simply have recurring questions about a brand’s quality, security, and legitimacy.

ecommerce reviews figures

Every new ecommerce website faces the same universal challenges as any other. We all have a starting point and the reality we face when working in e-commerce is that growth takes time. In fact, trust is one of the few publicly known dimensions of SEO that Google has admitted to influencing a website’s organic performance. Therefore importance of reviews doesn’t only influence a customer’s perception of your brand but also the manner they are perceived by Search Engines.

Take for example the real Growave customer below:

Queen B the natural candle maker, utilized a dynamic reviews widget on their Shopify store, to improve usability and encourage customers with a discount for reviews. Their efforts eventually resulted in hundreds of positive product reviews that bolstered their reputation. As a result, they found that their marketing became more effective as customers were now more trusting of their brand. Besides the obvious advantages of improved consumer trust, they managed to introduce product review features in an engaging way. They also saw a strong SEO profile which can be attributed to great search results.

Growave customer using the reviews widget

Let’s also consider a similar example with no product reviews:

To find this business I entered the search query “shop Bluetooth headphones” into Google. As you can see from the image below, this business was ranked 64 for this particular keyword. Since this brand has its own branding, it’s difficult to figure out what sort of quality a customer should expect. In many respects, because this particular product has no third-party reviews, it’s impossible to know what sort of quality a shopper should expect. This of course is a tale as long as time.

Search result for a business with out reviews

As a result of a low trust factor:

  • This business is ranked low in organic search results, suggesting that reviews can factor into where your business is positioned for organic searches.
  • This business has no form of verification, making it difficult for shoppers to trust the product that they are buying.
  • Customers will question the authenticity of this business, primarily their ability to actually fulfill the purchase, the origin of the product, and whether this business delivers on its marketing promises.
  • You can also see from the image that their “ST” or search traffic is estimated to be around 530 per month, which could be more should they initiate review collections.
  • Of those 500 or so monthly visitors, their conversion rates may be lower than they would want. As you may know, conversion rates in ecommerce are around 3% which may be unlikely for this particular business

While there doesn’t seem to be anything that directly suggests that this business should be trusted, this serves as an example of how trust affects a customer’s purchasing decision. There are naturally other factors that contribute to the success of an ecommerce business, but the power of customer reviews cannot be estimated for its benefits.

Example of a business that does not use reviews

By comparing these two examples we can see the importance of reviews for small business. However, we still have two topics to cover; what are the benefits of reviews and how do we incentivize reviews?

Growave provides expert content on e-commerce, you can check out their blog here.

What are the benefits of reviews in ecommerce?

In this section, we will cover the main benefits of product reviews in ecommerce. While there can be a great deal of diversity between ecommerce brands, their impact is seen most prominently among small businesses.

Why product reviews are important:

  • Trust and Credibility: The importance of reviews is best encompassed by trust and credibility. There is no more reassuring information than reviews produced by real customers. We call this social proof, and its effect can be transformative.
  • Informed Purchase Decision: As such, reviews can also be a source of information for purchasing decisions. As vital as product descriptions are for describing the utility of your product, the user’s experience is ultimately what we are trying to represent as its a personal account. This further highlights why the customer is important for a successful ecommerce business.
  • SEO Benefits: When it comes to SEO we can see improvements to your; backlink profile, organic traffic, and page rankings. These technical components are the foundation of an ecommerce business.
  • Increased Sales: In more financial terms, businesses with strong review profiles will notice an increase in sales. Which can be the clearest indicator of growth for decision-makers and result in a shift in prospects.
  • Customer Engagement: A common challenge faced by ecommerce businesses small and large is motivating customers to interact with your site. Reviews are ranked as one of the most inputs a customer can produce. Customer engagement is a type of interaction where you always want more.
  • Competitive Advantage: One of the advantages described above examples demonstrates the competitive advantage reviews can have for a brand. The natural consumer will often take social proof as a major point of consideration. As we all know, not every business is the same and there can be huge organizational differences that can affect delivery, quality, and customer service.
  • Customer Loyalty: While it may seem a slight stretch to suggest that reviews can support customer loyalty, there is a real argument for this. When customer is searching for a consistent source for whatever they may need, they typically want some sort of security in their choice. If the product fits their expectations, your brand can become their preferred choice. When we combine reviews with loyalty rewards, we see a uniquely powerful effect.
  • User-Generated Content: UGC is another abundant advantage for an ecommerce brand. There are many types of content that your shoppers can produce and you can use UGC however you please. We have seen testimonials, videos, and photo reviews used to drive marketing efforts with great results.
  • Consumer Advocacy: While it may seem that consumer advocacy is a theme mentioned in previous sections, the main point is yet to be covered. This goes back to why the customer is so important. There are degrees of how a customer can review your brand, and with the strongest support, you can have one of the fastest-growing businesses in the world.
  • Transparency: Transparency will always be a premier business advantage, and so business will continue to represent transparency. While not every business can say that they are ready for transparency, reviews are probably the first thing they would use to give shoppers a look at the organization in the most candid light.
  • Market Research: Market research is important and surveys can often be difficult and time-consuming to create. Businesses can find it difficult to find the perfect product right from the start to fit into markets, and important clues in reviews can shape what a brand focuses on.

As seen from the benefits of reviews listed above, there is some serious cause to leverage customer reviews for its ability to drive essential business goals. Now what’s left is to think about how best to implement them into our ecommerce store to maximize their potential.

How to set up customer reviews for ecommerce

In this section, we will cover essential steps to creating an engaging and effective customer review strategy. We will consider the pages, features, and additional factors you should consider when implementing your customer reviews.

Creating an effective review strategy:

  • On-Page Reviews: Wherever you have your products, you also want to display customer reviews. This would include coupling them with product carousels, under-product pages, checkout pages, and across up-and-cross-sell promotions.
  • Dedicated Reviews Page: Having a dedicated customer review page can be highly beneficial for your brand. This also includes an easy way to navigate to that page, which serves as a place where shoppers can learn about your brand directly from customers.
  • Banners and Verification Badges: A common issue faced by review programs is their authenticity due to the occasional false review. Verification badges or banners can be a great way to add an extra layer of trust and tackle the issue directly.
  • Case Studies and Testimonials: With an extra bit of time we can create more compelling review formats such as case studies and testimonials. These types of content have proven time and time again to be able to trust
  • Widgets and Tabs: Widgets or tabs are by far the most advanced ways to implement review features into your ecommerce store. They create highly interactive programs, allowing you to dynamically collect reviews and improve the customers’ experience simultaneously.
  • Outreach Marketing: Emails, SMS, and other outreach methods are perfect channels for sharing review information and also for requesting reviews. This can boost your ability to attract reviews and support your goals.
  • Social Media: For brands that focus on social media for leads, utilizing reviews in conjunction with reviews may prove to be highly effective. As such, creating content that represents genuine reviews from customers can advance your goals.
  • Paid Ads: Paid ads are often created with visual ads and as such may be a strong testament to your product’s qualities. By including reviews in paid ads, you may see an improvement in their performance.

While these approaches may prove to boost your ecommerce brand’s profile and social status, there remains another important feature for the success of your reviews program. Below we will discuss that feature.

Can you offer incentives for reviews?

Yes, offering a discount for reviews is common and is often used to accelerate their collection. Although powerful, incentivizing reviews can come with a few drawbacks such as inauthentic reviews, abuse, and the cost of offering incentives for reviews. We see incentives for reviews being used as part of countless branding strategies so their prevalence is high. However, since there is a financial value attached to this feature, we need the ability to throttle reward values, identify threats, and verify users if needed.

The best reviews apps typically come with some sort of reward for reviews feature, so implementation shouldn’t be an issue.

Types of Discounts Used for Reviews:

  • Preferred Shipping
  • Gift Products
  • Discounts or Points
  • Special Access
  • Limited Editions
  • Loyalty Tiers

Setting up product reviews has never been easier

The process of implementing customer reviews into your ecommerce store has been greatly simplified with Saas. Especially if you use popular mega-platforms like Shopify, which has thousands of apps that easily integrate into your store. Amongst the most popular and proven effective is Growave, which offers review features in an interactive and fun way. Growave offers a whole suite of apps rolled into one which can give your business a serious boost as early as a month from implementation.

Conclusion

By now you should be able to tell why customers are so important but even more so, how critical their input is for your business. We see that startups especially benefit from reviews because it is those smaller businesses that face the most skepticism. Moreover, you should now also understand how customer reviews benefit your ecommerce business categorically and how to leverage them for your business. Ultimately, the real challenge is the implementation, which has been made easier with apps that seamlessly integrate into your ecommerce store. Hopefully, you have all the information necessary to create your own dynamic reviews program and understand how to take full advantage of customer input.

Growave provides expert content on e-commerce, you can check out their blog here.

Originally published at https://www.growave.io.

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Dastan Chikeev

E-commerce, Saas, Digital Marketing, Content Management, Shopify. Multiple solutions for problems of all varieties.