June 20, 2020

The power of product reviews in an Online Shop

In my previous article I touched upon the topic of the digital shelf in the online  shop and the importance of having top sellers at the top of shelf. Now, imagine having your top sellers without any reviews – what impression does this give to the prospect? The product reviews in an online shop shouldn’t be underestimated.

If I have learnt anything in eCommerce business, it is definitely not to underestimate the power of product reviews in an online shop. You would be surprise how many times I have seen products without reviews not selling at all.

As a matter of fact, often when reviewing the sales there was a clear correlation between low sales and no reviews. This is not surprising, according to Statista, as 73% of customers are influenced by reviews.


What does this mean for your online shop? How can you get more reviews and increase online sales?

If you are thinking now about fake reviews my answer is NO don’t do it! Of course, there are shops who use fake reviews and probably as a short-term strategy it pays off. But it is just a question of time before buyers are going to realize they were tricked. Tricked customers not only will never come back to your online shop but they will also spread negative feedback about your online store.

So, how to convince customers to write a good review once they have bought product? And what should you do when you have just launched your online shop and you don’t have any reviews?

Firstly, let me give you some tips on how to convince customers to write the product reviews in an online shop. One of the most successful tried and tested techniques is to follow up with customers once she bought the product. You can send an email asking the customer for the feedback. A simple email asking your customer to rate the product is often a very good and effective method. However, we are all very busy nowadays.

If you see you have a low response rate, you might want to offer something in return for the feedback. Think of giving a reward to customers who take their time and review your product.  The reward can come in a variety of different formats  e.g. loyalty points, discounts, freebies, etc. (depending on  your margin). At the multinational I work for we normally give away loyalty points. If a customer writes a review, she would get 5 loyal points for free with the next purchase. We actively promote this benefit on the site. Also in the “follow-up email” in which we ask the customer for their feedback.

What should you do when you have just launched your online store? And you don’t have any reviews because no one has bought anything yet?

Well, probably you have some friends, family or potential customers who you can ask for feedback. You can send them some of your products for free and ask for a review in a return. This is how you can at least get a few reviews at the beginning. Of course, afterwards make sure to keep the momentum by encouraging customers to give their feedback. It is very important to keep in mind that at the very least, your top sellers should always have reviews and naturally you want to aim for a good reviews.

If a product receives a bad review, it is important that you evaluate and understand the negative score. Once you have a better understanding of why the low score was given, make sure you make any necessary improvements. The latter is very important as you want to avoid getting more bad reviews from other customers.  However, it is important to know that bad reviews are an inevitable part of the business  and they will be present in your shop.

As the saying goes: “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”. If you are thinking of deleting bad reviews, I am afraid I need to disappoint you as this is definitely not recommended. Instead of deleting them,  you should think of ways to improve the product. This will help you to get back on track with good reviews.

For example, at my employer’s company, when we get a bad review, we always try to understand the customer’s viewpoint. And if needed we make a correction to the products in order to make sure the same frustration doesn’t appear with the next customer. Secondly, after we fix the error, (if there was an error), we try to make sure the next review is as positive as possible. And we get it as quickly as possible. You can do this by sending an additional (non-automated) email to customers who bought the product but haven’t given  feedback yet – after  you have fixed the error of course, that caused the dissatisfaction in the first place.

Lastly, I just want to share one interesting fact relating to the correlation between customer loyalty and reviews.

You may not know this,  but customers who regularly review  products tend to be more loyal to the business. I guess it gives them a feeling of being heard as they have an option to provide their feedback. This is just another reason (if the ones until now haven’t convinced you yet ;)) why you should always make sure you  encourage your customers to rate your products.

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One Comment

  1. Sara March 25, 2021 at 11:14 pm - Reply

    Hey Maya,

    I own an online shop and former ecommerce strategist for large companies. I have to say, you got it spot on with your advice. The product reviews are indeed really powerful. Thanks for sharing and good luck in the future

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