How to optimize customer reviews in your online store

 In Tips e-commerce

Customer advocacy doesn’t stop growing in the era of e-commerce.  In this post we’ll talk about how to optimize your online store’s reviews to project what your customers think, why it’s so important, and what price you pay if you neglect users.

Why optimize customer reviews?

Within the online environment, the user has developed a type of group conscience. In most cases, deciding to make a purchase entails searching and comparing different products.

Within this decision-making process we tend to rely on the so-called social test or peer recommendation. We believe if a product has good reviews it’ll be the best one for us and therefore, based on other customers’ opinions we gain a certain power that makes us trust one brand or product over another.

I was recently reading a Brightlocal study that I think can be effectively extrapolated to any online sale, despite being focused on local sales. The main conclusions I reached were that 85% of users say they trust both online and personal opinions and 49% of users don ’t buy anything if it doesn’t have at least 4 stars.

It may seem a bit farfetched, but it is quite plausible. The best way to do it is to think of yourself as the buyer and you’ll see how relevant it is.

Customer comments according to their source

Before getting into optimization tips for comments, it’s important to distinguish between their sources. By sources, I don’t mean concrete domains, I mean origins.  Let me explain.  In my mind,there are on-page and off-pagereviews and we should treat them very differently.

On-page customer reviews

Obviously, these will be all reviews collected within the site itself.  Fundamentally, when we talk about e-commerce, the on-page reviews are usually concentrated on the product pages and other similar sections, or as free communication comments from customers on the blog.

These are pretty touchy because they influence the client directly at a time when they’re comparing and making vital decisions in the conversion funnel.

Looking at this definition I realized that there’s a gray area that I don’t know whether to consider 100%.  I’m referring toreviews that are received by mail, from a form, or inthe chat itself. Clearly, the channel is the web page but as these vias aren’t public, they remain slightly undefined. I don’t mean that they’re unimportant, simply that their optimization might require different nuances.

Off-page customer reviews

Here we would include all the references to our brand or the products that we sell and distribute that can be found in an external domain. The profile is so broad because it encompasses multiple sources:

– Specialized verticals: we have thousands of specialized pages in reviews from verticlas like Yelp of TripAdvisor, to more general purpose ones like Google My Business.

– Social media: we can’t forget about social networks. Thousands of reviews are poured into them daily.

– Forums: yes, they still exist. Actually, not only are they alive and well, they also act as review generators (especially in niches and microniches)

– Marketplaces: in addition to selling in our own e-commerce if we use platforms like Amazon, the importance of reviews grows exponentially. In fact, for Amazon, reviews have such an influence from organic positioning in their search engine that they can potentially get our account suspended for bad performance in the community.


How to optimize customer reviews in your online store

First of all, you have to be aware of what reviews represent. I think this has been made clear with everything we’ve commented on already.

Keep in mind that when someone gives their opinion on a website (either good or bad) there is a component of intuitiveness. When it’s a good review, everything’s perfect, but when it’s bad, never, I repeat, we must never let ourselvesbe carried away by emotion.

We always have to respond to negative criticism constructively and provide solutions; we shouldn’t be tempted to delete the comment without thinking about it further because that can ignite the fuse in other channels like social networks.That said, though we’re giving a solution publicly, try to redirect communication towards a more private via, like a livechat.

Good reviews are basically like digital gold, a great way to profit from them is to turn them into testimonials and put them in quotes on internal pages like the home page, category or even product pages, or the landing pages you use for your PPC campaigns.

Sometimes you can take advantage of those “off” reviews by taking them to the “on” page. TripAdvisor has widgets that let you embed comments and show awards and achievements on your own site. But this is only one example because you can also use services like eKomi, Trustivity or something similar that have tons of badges to place wherever you want and help provide credibility and confidence online.

As you can see, it’s important to have as much analysis as possible so it’s vital that you stimulate customers generating reviews. The best way is simply by asking for them. You can automate your email marketing so that buyers receive an email asking if they’re satisfied with their purchase and requesting that they rate you on the site.

There are even some companies that incentivize through gamification (giving a certain expert status to users who comment, created top commentators, etc.) or through discounts and coupons, which is borderline unethical because we are intentionally making the review biased.

I’d like to close with a reflection on reviews and queries. When there is a recurring question or comment, you can do something about it and turn it into an asset.  You can always make a glossary, incorporate it into a FAQ section or, why not use it as a source for blog content (and if you quote the author of the comment, it’ll boost their ego).

I hope you found this interesting and that you make the most of the comments on your website starting today.

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