The benefits of customer reviews for your ecommerce business


I’ve just realised it’s been nearly a year since I setup product reviews on O2wear and I just received our 100th product review!

I’ll admit I was a little nervous when I first set up customer reviews on my site, what if I receive negative reviews? And you know what, you probably will receive a few, things go wrong, not everyone will love your product but the flip side is, what if you get great reviews. What better way to sell your product than have your customers do it for you? I can write all I want about the features, benefits etc of our bamboo ¾ sleeve top but reading what customers who have bought it think is so much better and of course much more genuine.

So why should you consider implementing product reviews on your site?

There are a lot of statistics out there about the power of reviews for increasing conversions. Shopify (ecommerce software) provides the following stats:

  • 70% of customers consult reviews or ratings before making a final purchase. (PeopleClaim)
  • 63% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews.
  • 67% of consumers read 6 reviews or less before they feel they can trust a business enough to make a purchase. (MarketingProfs)
  • As many as 79% of consumers trust product reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
  • 80% of consumers have changed their mind about purchases based on NEGATIVE information they have found online. (ReputationAdvocate)
  • On average, 75 percent of reviews posted on review websites are positive, and 71 percent of consumers agreed that reviews make them more comfortable that they are purchasing the right product or service.

When I setup O2wear back in 2011, product reviews weren’t so common on sites like mine, it seemed it was just Amazon and technology websites that offered product reviews. However times are changing. These stats say it all, 70% of customers to your site consult reviews before buying and are more likely to make a purchase if they can read feedback, so it’s time to jump on the band wagon.

There are other benefits for your site too, like SEO. New fresh content using keywords relevant to your products are an added benefit and may help you rank better in google. Furthermore this is genuine content that you don’t need to create that will be useful to your customers so it really is a win win.

Asking for customer feedback can be scary, what if I get negative reviews?

It’s likely you already have an idea of whether customers will rate you favourably or not. If you are getting lots of returns, email complaints and few people repeat buying then perhaps your business isn’t long for this world, but if this isn’t you, then you might be pleasantly surprised. By not having reviews you may be avoiding the odd bad one, but you are forgetting what you are missing out on, people who love your product saying so for all the world to see!

Of course negative reviews suck, and you will get some. But I think this is also an opportunity to show potential customers how you deal with things when they go wrong. Customers know that not everyone is going to love a product and rate it favourably, in fact all positive reviews on a site can look a little suss, so make sure you address a bad review and show potential customers that you will resolve any problems they might encounter. This builds trust, you can tell a lot about a company by the way they respond to the negative stuff.

So how do I setup customer reviews on my website?

Perhaps another reason customer reviews are so much more common these days is the fact that it is a lot easier to integrate in to your site. Quite a few of the big ecommerce platforms offer integrated customer feedback features that you can activate on your product pages. I’m using a paid app, yotpo on my bigcommerce store to handle reviews. I’ve been fairly happy with it, it looks quite nice and it sends out automatic emails to customers after they have made a purchase requesting a review ensuring they are all verified buyers. More importantly it makes it really easy for customers to provide their feedback, they can just enter their review in to the body of the email and post, no hassle. There are plenty of other options with similar features like feefo and powerreviews too.

ACCC guidelines for Australian online reviews

The last thing to consider are the ACCC guidelines for online reviews. Since people rely on reviews to make decisions they should accurately reflect the opinions of your customers and not mislead, fairly common sense stuff, but here it is:

  • Reviews should be genuine customer reviews
  • You should remove fake or misleading reviews if they were written by yourself, a competitor, were paid or enticed, written by family or friends and not disclosed, written by people who have not used the product.
  • Genuine reviews that are negative or unfavourable should not be removed or edited so as to influence the overall rating of a product.
  • Commerical relationships between businesses and review sites should be disclosed
  • Businesses should not offer incentives for positive reviews. However incentives can be offered where they are equally offered to customers for positive or negative reviews. I offer a $10 off coupon which is clearly stated in my review request, to any customer who leaves a review. Since I’m asking for a favour from my customers to take the time to leave feedback, I think it is only fair that I offer a ‘thank you’ in return but this is offered equally to all, regardless of their feedback rating and therefore within the rules of the ACCC.
  • Star ratings should show aggregate reviews ie. 5 stars from 3 reviews.

In ecommerce you rarely get to have a personal interaction with your customer the way you might with a physical store. Reviews feel like they complete that missing link in the sales chain and they are definitely one of my favourite emails to receive. Good luck!