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Online reviews by customers are today’s version of recommendations from a friend. Today, 91% of consumers read online reviews before they make a purchase, with 94% reporting that a negative review makes them avoid a brand

Consumers trust online reviews to inform their decision making process.

Online reviews carry a lot of weight and when you've got a good thing going, you want all those positive reviews easy for potential customers to read.

Here we'll go through exactly how important online reviews are for your business and how to get them. We'll also share a few case studies from our customers that used positive online reviews to fuel their referral program.

Why Online Ratings and Reviews Are Important 

We're not just talking about the shiny positive reviews that every brand dreams of. Both positive and negative reviews are needed to build trust with potential customers.

Let's go through all of that here.

1. They Allow You to Increase Sales through Personalized Messaging

Customers today actively seek out personalized communications with the ecommerce brands they buy from. They want to be served product recommendations geared towards their specific needs rather than generic marketing messages that don’t stick.

In fact, most consumers prefer personalized ads across most age groups. The younger the age group, the more they understand the value of personalized recommendations.

And what are product recommendations in your online store but a type of personalized ad?

Online customer reviews allow merchants to collect valuable customer insights — including key customer and product attributes — for advanced segmentation. You can use this customer feedback to create hyper-segmented campaigns and personalized marketing messages for your customers. 

For example, if you’re a skincare brand, you could learn from your reviews that a customer is a female between the ages of 18 and 24 who has oily skin. Use this information to send her content and recommended products that suit her individual needs. 

This is exactly what dog treat brand WAG does. 

They used valuable customer data collected using Okendo’s Attributes feature to create hyper-personalized segmented campaigns in Klaviyo to determine the age of their customer’s furry friends and the kind of treats they like, to serve up personalized messages based on this information. 

Doing so has resulted in a 300% uptick in placed order rate and a 423% increase in revenue per recipient.

And these kinds of effects don't just apply to your marketing materials. You can bump your repeat purchase rate with personal recommendations too.

Adding personal recommendations on the shipment tracking page can boost repeat purchases by 3%.

Consumer reviews not only convince prospective customers to shop with you, but they also keep your existing customers shopping with you.

2. They Allow You to Boost Organic and Paid Listings on Google

The majority of shoppers start their search online — and often, that’s via Google. 

But, when every search term serves millions of pages of results, it can be difficult to stand out.

This is where ratings and reviews are invaluable. 

Besides the fact that incorporating star ratings makes your listings stand out among plain text alternatives, a ton of great reviews tells Google (and other search engines) that your store is liked and trusted. As a result, your listing will be bumped up in the results.

For luxury shoe brand The Office of Angela Scott, it was important to stand out and show social proof in order to compete with cheaper ecommerce brands on the search engine results pages.

Price tags often take center stage on Google, but by using Okendo’s integration with Google Shopping and Google Shopping PLAs the brand was able to increase conversions by 81% and witness a 91% increase in Return on Ad Spend. 

3. They Allow You to Increase Conversions

Reviews help build customer trust through a digital word-of-mouth technique. 

Shoppers are more likely to spend their cash on a product that has multiple five-star reviews than a product with zero reviews to its name. 

By populating your product pages with high-quality reviews, you instill buyer confidence and nudge on-the-fence shoppers towards a sale. In fact, shoppers who interact with review & UGC are 4-5x more likely to convert than those who don’t. 

For baby accessory brand Freshly Picked, they were able to build a strong online community around their products by incorporating beautifully branded on-site reviews and user-generated media galleries to increase conversion rates by 5%. 

Another great example is women’s athletic clothing brand, Nimble. The brand was looking to encourage buy-ready shoppers to make a purchase by including customer reviews and product ratings in their abandoned cart email campaigns. As a result, the brand experienced a 16% increase in revenue per recipient.

Not all reviews are positive reviews, but that doesn't seem to matter as long as the majority of them are generally positive. A 2019 survey found that 52% of online shoppers said a mix of positive and negative reviews make brands more trustworthy.

This social proof means that they can trust the positive reviews that sit alongside the bad reviews.

4. They Allow You to Increase Revenue Through Referral Marketing

Referral marketing can deliver 5x the lifetime of customers compared to other marketing channels. 

The reason? Referred customers are more highly qualified and likely to become repeat buyers than other customers. This is because there is already a certain level of trust established since they were referred by a trusted friend or family member.

One of the best times to ask advocates to share your brand with friends is immediately after they have had a positive experience. They’re feeling good about your brand, so this is a good time to prompt a referral and provide an incentive for sharing. 

Okendo’s integration with Klaviyo and Friendbuy allows you to send referral links to customers after they have left a positive review. Friendbuy customer Ilia does this to delight its already-satisfied customers and prompt more sharing.

ilia-email-postpurchase-referralemal (1)

So the more product reviews that you can encourage, the more referred customers that come with them.

Not only that, but also the more they share, the more rewards they get and the more likely they are to make another purchase, ultimately leading to a higher LTV and revenue.

See how Tonal drives up to 7% of online revenue with a Friendbuy-powered referral program


Best Practices for Collecting Online Reviews And Ratings

Knowing how important customer reviews are is just one piece of the puzzle. 

The next step is generating a consistent flow of high-quality online reviews to keep your product pages fresh and updated. 

Here’s how you can increase your chances of getting online reviews: 

  • Be creative with your copy — let your brand personality shine through, and speak to customers as you would a friend
  • Send review requests at the right time — give customers enough time to try out your product, but don’t leave it so long that they forget
  • Offer rewards — incentivize the review process by giving customers a discount or a freebie if they provide a high-quality review

How to Ask For Customer Reviews

Here are 7 proven strategies for asking for eCommerce reviews from customers that can help you collect more reviews and improve your online business reputation:

  1. Send Review Request Emails — You can send an automated email to your customers after they have received their order, thanking them for their purchase and requesting a review. A review request email is a great opportunity to engage with customers and build a relationship, while also requesting feedback.
  2. Use Pop-up Windows — Another way to encourage customers to leave reviews or to solicit feedback is to use a pop-up window on your website. This can be triggered after a customer has completed a purchase or has spent a certain amount of time browsing your site. The pop-up window can ask website visitors for a review or offer an incentive, such as a discount on their next purchase, in exchange for leaving a review.
  3. Incentivize Reviews — Incentives can be a powerful motivator for customers to leave a review. You could offer a discount or coupon code for their next purchase, or enter them into a draw for a prize. Just be sure to disclose that you’re offering an incentive in exchange for the review.
  4. Use Social Media — Social media is a powerful tool for eCommerce businesses. You can use your social media accounts to ask customers to leave a review, and even showcase reviews from other customers to help build trust and credibility.
  5. Provide Excellent Customer Service — One of the best ways to encourage customers to leave a review is to provide excellent customer service. If a customer feels that their needs were met, they are more likely to take the time to leave a positive review.
  6. Make it Easy to Leave a Review — Make sure that it’s easy for customers to leave a review by providing a link or a button to a review page. The easier it is for customers to leave a review, the more likely they are to do so.
  7. Follow up on Negative Reviews — Unfortunately, not all reviews will be positive. When a customer leaves a negative review, it’s important to follow up with them to try to resolve their issue. Not only can this help to turn a negative review into a positive one, but it also shows other customers that you are committed to providing great customer service.

Once you have collected reviews, there are various ways you can display them on your website and online to showcase your reputation and build trust with potential customers. Here are some common ways to display reviews:

  1. Display Reviews on Your Website — You can create a dedicated reviews page on your website to display all your customer reviews. This page should be easy to find and navigate, and should showcase a mix of positive and negative reviews to demonstrate authenticity. You can also embed customer reviews on relevant product pages, so that customers can read reviews specific to that product.
  2. Use Third-Party Review Sites — You can use third-party review sites such as Google Reviews, Yelp, and Trustpilot to display your reviews. These sites are trusted by customers and can improve your online reputation. You can link to these third-party review sites from your website and social media profiles.
  3. Display Reviews on Social Media — Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter allow you to display customer reviews and ratings on your business page. You can also use social media to share customer reviews and testimonials as posts, stories, or tweets. Facebook reviews will even show up on search engines.
  4. Use Review Widgets — You can use review widgets such as Trustpilot and Yotpo to display customer reviews on your website. These widgets allow you to showcase reviews on relevant product pages and can also display overall ratings and customer satisfaction scores.
  5. Include Reviews in Email Marketing — You can use customer reviews in your email marketing campaigns to showcase customer satisfaction and improve open rates. You can also include a link to your reviews page or third-party review site in your email signature.

By displaying your customer reviews in multiple locations and using different formats, you can maximize their impact and improve your business reputation.

Take the Effort Out of Selling With Customer Reviews

Ratings and reviews are a merchant’s best friend. 

They take the effort out of selling and work to build trust and confidence in your brand. 

Ratings and reviews are an integral part of the buying process. Without them, you could be losing out on a large chunk of sales. Okendo helps you quickly and effortlessly generate reviews and display them across your website and marketing channels so you can increase conversions at every touchpoint.  

Find out more by booking a demo with Okendo and receive your first 60 days free!

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