Today, product reviews are an incredibly popular add-on for e-commerce sites; whether you're a store owner, occasional shopper, or both, it's highly likely that you've run into at least a handful of sites which readily display what previous customers think of their products.
Yotpo, which helps e-commerce businesses manage, display, and earn additional product reviews, classifies reviews under the broader-reaching "User-Generated Content" (UGC) category. In other words, when used in conjunction with other text and photos your customers create, reviews can be used strategically to your store's advantage.
In this post, we'll take a closer look at precisely why product reviews create measurable return for your business, and what you can do to earn more of them!
#1: Improve Conversion
Perhaps the most tangible benefit you'll notice from adding product reviews is a significant uplift in conversion rates. As a customer considers whether or not to buy an item that they've found browsing on your site, strong product reviews are the equivalent of potentially hundreds of their peers saying "Hey, you should buy that product! It's awesome!"
Mintel, a leading market intelligence and research firm, calls this concept "social validation"; simply put, people are more likely to buy if they know that others have done so before them. The statistics are pretty compelling: according to Mintel's research, 69% of Americans - including 81% of 18 - 34 year olds - seek out opinions from others before purchasing.
Furthermore, those individuals who seek out opinions drive conversion rates higher for sites which employ product reviews as well. There are a number of compelling stats which speak to the effectiveness of product reviews, but perhaps none are more compelling than this: on average, sites with 50 or more product reviews can expect a 4.6% lift in conversion rates. Note the relationship between more reviews and improved conversion rates!
[bctt tweet="from @econsultancy: Sites with 50+ product reviews increase conversions by 4.6%." username="swellrewards"]
#2: More Impactful Marketing
When your customers have nice things to say about your business and/or the products you sell, you can leverage those testimonials for the purposes of convincing new customers to buy from you as well! There are a couple of ways in which you can use product reviews for marketing purposes.
First, you can look for opportunities to incorporate all of your positive reviews into your messaging throughout your site. For example, if you have one or two highly-popular, heavily-reviewed products, you could choose to mention those to visitors who land on your home page. "Trusted by thousands around the world" with a few hand-picked quotes is a great way to extend the effectiveness of your reviews beyond the product page!
But the potential reach of your reviews extends far beyond your site; reviews can also be effectively used in advertising. In fact, some product reviews companies (such as Yotpo) make it very easy to turn your reviews directly into impactful, targeted Facebook ads:
Just as reviews can be helpful in improving conversion rates because of the "social validation" concept which we discussed earlier, so too can they be helpful in convincing those who see one of your ads to click through to your site. Once again, the statistics serve to confirm this notion; according to Yotpo, Facebook ads which incorporate product reviews enjoy a:
- 30% higher clickthrough rate (CTR)
- 50% lower cost per click (CPC)
- 50% lower cost per acquisition (the amount you have to spend in order to get one customer to make a purchase from your site)
#3: Strengthen SEO
While SEO can sometimes feel like a never-ending battle, there's little doubt that product reviews can help more potential customers discover your store organically as well. When a customer writes a review, your review provider will add the corresponding text directly onto your site page, and search engines (e.g. Google) will index it. Once it's indexed, your site is increasingly likely to appear in targeted search results.
We'll use a quick example to demonstrate exactly how that works. Let's say that you design and sell highly unique t-shirts, and that a customer writes a review which says "This is the coolest t-shirt I own! All of my friends are jealous of my shirt, and I can't wait to come back and find more cool stuff in the future." In the future, when a potential customer performs a search for "cool t-shirts", your store is much more likely to appear in that person's search results!
The SEO benefits which product reviews afford extend beyond in-line text as well. As Yotpo notes, you can display your aggregated ratings and reviews in Google Seller Ratings, Google Shopping, and more!
Given that product reviews are so beneficial for most e-commerce businesses, many merchants have now begun to focus on increasing and optimizing the number of reviews they receive. Remember, as we discussed earlier, there appears to be a direct relationship between the number of reviews you receive and how much they improve key metrics.
As a site manager or business owner, we would recommend focusing on a three-pronged approach to increasing your review rate:
- Reward product reviews.
- Send email reminders.
- Make it personal.
Let's dive into each of those in a bit more context.
Reward Product Reviews
It's probably no surprise that a company which helps merchants reward their customers recommends incentivizing product reviews! We typically recommend that Swell merchants reward product reviews as part of a broader rewards program (i.e. where reviews are just one of a variety of ways that customers can earn points).
For Swell merchants, it's easy to reward product reviews thanks to our direct integration with Yotpo! If you use Yotpo, you can add a "points for reviews" option in just a couple of minutes.
Note: if you're looking for more detailed guidance on setting up your Yotpo Review campaign, make sure to take a look at our detailed how-to guide!
While you can use a variety of mechanisms to reward for product reviews, including coupons, one of the (many) advantages to using a rewards program is that your effective cost per review typically ends up being much lower. While you may be accustomed to giving out a 10% coupon relatively frequently (including for reviews), if your average order size is $50, that means you're giving away $5 each time -- that $5 eats into margins and certainly adds up quickly! If you use points instead, offering the equivalent of $0.50 - $1 is typically enough to effectively encourage customers to write a review.
When using Swell, you can also select the specific types of Yotpo reviews you'd like to reward, which is an effective way to ensure that you're soliciting not just any reviews, but high-quality ones from customers who are truly enjoying your products. So long as they choose to only reward specific types of reviews, such as those from verified buyers only, we typically encourage our merchants to give points for as many reviews as a customer is willing to write!
Send Email Reminders
One particularly strong source of product reviews are those customers who have recently made a purchase. If you use Yotpo, you can automatically trigger emails to send at the right time following a purchase (based on their determination). Those emails not only solicit a review, but actually allow the customer to complete the review from directly within the email. According to Yotpo, this yields anywhere from a 6% to an 11% response rate!
Even if you don't use Yotpo, you can still consider using your email marketing provider to remind customers to leave reviews. For example, if you send emails to customers a certain number of days after a purchase is made, add in a line asking the customer for a review in addition to highlighting some of your other products in which they might be interested. (Pro tip: combine the review request with a reminder that they'll earn points in exchange for writing a review!)
If that's successful, you can expand your review-oriented emails even further; add a dedicated email set for a certain number of days after a customer makes a purchase, and make sure to include a link directly to the product page where the customer can write the review!
Make it Personal
Along the lines of sending (polite) emails asking customers to submit their product reviews, another powerful tactic to consider is including a handwritten note (or even a flyer) when you ship each of your orders, and in that note ask for a product review. Sometimes, a small personal touch can make a big difference in the eyes of your customers, and make them more willing to help out in return.
(Similarly, using this technique in conjunction with offering points for product reviews is never a bad idea either!)
For most types of e-commerce stores these days, it makes a lot of sense to add in a product reviews component to increase conversions, step up your marketing game, and bolster SEO. Better yet, we're excited to partner with review providers such as Yotpo to help you dramatically increase the number of product reviews your store receives. We can't wait to hear more about your results!
P.S. If you're interested in adding Yotpo in particular to your store, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the Yotpo team will get you started right away!