Out of all the forms of social proof, customer reviews are supremely influential. In fact, during the online shopping process, browsing the rating section has become just as common as checking the price of an item before hitting “Add to Cart.” So, how can you take full advantage of social proof to benefit your customers and your brand? Today, we’ll further discuss why you need more customer reviews—and how to get them.

Why Customer Reviews Are So Important

As an entrepreneur, you’ve likely heard the strong encouragement to make effective use of social proof. The term refers to a psychological phenomenon where people look to other people—not brands, companies, or corporations—for advice and recommendations. However, beyond providing a basis on which new customers can build trust, customer reviews help you, as a business owner, in four quantifiable ways:

  1. Research indicates that, as the number of customer reviews increases, so does the conversion rate. Stores with a larger quantity of reviews continually out-sell stores with less. In fact, certain studies have shown that customer reviews drive an average of over 2x uplift in sales.
  2. Customer reviews increase decision making among a growing number of shoppers. In recent years, almost two-thirds of shoppers have come to view browsing customer reviews as a non-negotiable part of the buying process. As a result, online stores with an abundance of positive reviews see lower bounce rates and boast a decrease in abandoned cart rates over stores with less reviews.
  3. SEO experts have long-praised the effects of user-generated content, citing that search engines prefer (and promote) sites with continual activity. Thus, by enabling a constant stream of new customer reviews, your listings will trend upwards in search engine rankings, and, ultimately, continue driving new traffic to your store.    
  4. Tracking comments from customer reviews is a great way to really key in on your shoppers’ needs. Over time, trends will surface, indicating what your shoppers like and dislike. By insightfully analyzing the most common responses, you can then make adjustments to your workflow, product, or store to preemptively solve pain points for future customers. We talk more about this (and 18 other important KPIs) here.  

How to Get More Customer Reviews

Research shows that there is no statistical plateau when it comes to the correlation between larger quantities of reviews and the benefits mentioned above. So, no matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, here are some ways that you can get even more customer reviews.    

  • Include All Groups
  • Don’t Ask for Too Much
  • Make it Easier to Review Multiples
  • Offer an Incentive
  • Timing is Key
  • UX is (Still) Important

Include All Customer Groups

Technology makes it simple to keep track of past customers, so make sure to ask everyone for a review. Even if you anticipate a negative response, those reviews are still beneficial in the long run, so don’t leave out anyone or any segmented groups.    

Don’t Ask for Too Much

Shoppers are doing you a favor by reviewing your product, so don’t take advantage of their time or effort. Carefully craft a review page that customers will only need to spend a few minutes on—if that. Even the shoppers with the best of intentions may become frustrated with a review page that is too long or requires too much effort.

Make It Easier for Customers to Review Multiples

Don’t deter shoppers from leaving a review by bombarding their inbox with a barrage of emails. Rather, send one email with a link to review all of their recent purchases on one simple page. As a result, shoppers will navigate the process with ease and are more likely to leave multiple customer reviews.  

Offer an Incentive

Everyone likes to win a prize, so consider incentivizing your customer review collection. Some brands have found success offering a small discount code (for use on a future purchase) to customers who leave a review. Other stores compile a list of all who left a customer review during the month and draw one name at random to receive a larger prize. Test out both options to see which works best for your customer base.

Timing is Key

Optimize the sending of customer review request emails so that shoppers are more inclined to participate. Depending on your industry or product, the timeline may vary—but try not to email too early or too late. A customer will likely ignore (and forget about) an email requesting a review that arrives before they receive the product. However, an email sent weeks after they've received their product may no longer seem important or urgent to the consumer.

UX is (Still) Important

Good UX (user experience) is essential during the review process just as much as it is during shopping and check-out. If a customer has too difficult of a time figuring out how to review your product, they likely won’t complete the process. Make sure to optimize your questionnaire for mobile devices and make it simple and easy to navigate.

More Customer Reviews = More Happy Customers

Reviews are essential to online business, and, by applying just a bit of targeted effort, you can make a massive difference in your bottom line. Scale your business and gain more happy shoppers by making the best use of customer reviews.

If you’d like to chat further about how Gapstow can help you reach your eCommerce goals, please feel free to schedule a chat today!