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The Power of eCommerce Customer Reviews

Mary Clare Riordan • August 13, 2015

By Kate Zibell, Senior Account Manager

Back in the dark ages, before the dawn of the Internet, you may have gotten recommendations for everything from handymen to babysitters from your neighbor down the street who knew a guy who knew a guy. But these days, all you have to do is type a company’s name into Google, and in a matter of milliseconds, you’ve got all the things said—good and bad—about that company to influence your purchase.

Thanks to sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, crowd sourced reviews have become a part of many customers buying journeys; 77% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision!

For eCommerce businesses, this is huge. Customer reviews have now become a necessary part of any eCommerce site. People come to your site and not only browse your products, but also rely on the comments of others to help them make decisions on whether or not to buy from you, or what we all dread, shop with your competitor.

Here are some insight and suggestions to consider when using customer reviews on your eCommerce site.

Some Benefits of User Reviews

Increase Credibility and Gain Trust

Just as you would go to a best friend for insight on a quality hair dresser, people want to hear from their peers about what your products are actually like before they commit to an investment. 88% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations; that’s almost 9 in 10 people! Showcasing your reviews will entice people to shop from your site. If Blu Dot’s Paramount Left Sectional Sofa was just what Doug from Kansas City was looking for, there’s a good chance other Blu Dot customers will think that this product will work for them too.

bludot review

If this Blu Dot couch is good enough for Doug from Kansas City, it’s good enough for me!

Improve SEO

Customer reviews provide unique and usually recently published content on your site that search engine spiders love. Customer reviews go beyond often mundane product descriptions to differentiate an eCommerce page in search results. More reviews means there’s more information out there for your customer to see in SERP’s, encouraging them to go to your site to make their purchase.

Get Valuable Feedback from Your Customers

While customer reviews have great benefits for your shoppers, getting feedback from these reviews also enables you to have direct insight into what’s working for you. Positive reviews will indicate that you should feature a certain product more prominently on your site to get other shoppers interested in it too. Negative reviews mean you need to address the problem your customers have right away to improve customer experience, or even get rid of that product altogether. Reviews can give you valuable insight into what customers really think about your product and enable you to act appropriately in response.

ll bean review

L.L. Bean features the most popular and highest rated products according to their reviews on their main Women’s page

Why Some Bad Reviews are Actually Good

The occasional bad review builds trust from your customers. It shows your customers that you didn’t just hand pick the best comments to make yourself look good. It portrays an honest and trustworthy image for you. Furthermore, as touched upon above, negative reviews give you a chance to remedy a problem. According to PeopleClaim, 95% of unhappy customers will return to a company if an issue is resolved quickly and efficiently, and it’s likely the customer will say good things about you for taking care of their problem. So, as long as the proportion of good reviews largely outnumbers the bad reviews, don’t fret over a few less than perfect comments. Instead, use these to better your product and further assist your customers.

Tips for your eCommerce Site

Customer reviews are great for your site, but they’re not necessarily very easy to come by. Customers are not always willing to go the extra step to comment or rate their favorite product. Use the following tips to encourage customers to review your store and offerings.

  • Employ email campaigns. Send a note to kindly remind your customers to write a review. Timing is key with this. Send emails soon enough after the customer receives the purchase that it’s fresh in their mind, but not too soon that they’re haven’t had time to appreciate the product. A note after purchase also shows that you care about your customer’s opinion and hope they are enjoying what they ordered.
  • Offer perks and incentives. Everyone likes a discount or reward, and offering a small incentive for a review is a good way to encourage people to participate. Not only do you get a customer review, but you also drive more sales when the customer returns to use their perk!
  • Make it easy. As I mentioned, people may not be that willing to go out of their way to provide a review. Don’t make your customers jump through hoops to leave their opinion. Offering a rating option rather than just a written review is a great way to get people to quickly leave feedback with little effort.
  • Say thank you. Similar to the incentive point above, surprise top reviewers with rewards to show your appreciation. A simple thank you will encourage loyalty from your customers and entice them to leave future reviews on your site.

Want to learn more about best practices for your eCommerce site? Contact us.


Kate Zibell brings over 13 years of professional digital and eCommerce experience to the role of Senior Account Manager at LYONSCG. Her background includes having worked at marchFIRST, divine, and Crowe Horwath, where she led program management teams for large global web implementations. As an Account Manager at LYONSCG, she brings a dedicated focus to client relationship development and strategic account management, assisting clients in their eCommerce initiatives and delivering outcomes that exceed expectations.

Mary Clare Riordan

About the author

Mary Clare Riordan

Mary Clare Riordan is the Marketing Programs Manager at LYONSCG. When she's not running creative demand generation campaigns, you can find her cheering on Boston sports and Marquette basketball, running along the Chicago lakefront, or spending time with family and friends.

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