For any eCommerce business, both company and product reviews are essential in building trust and in helping customers make decisions on which products to buy and which sites to buy them from. 93% of customers read online reviews before buying a product and say that reviews influence their purchasing decisions. 
Getting positive reviews for your eCommerce business is not only important to help your customers make decisions, it’s also vital to get ahead of your review strategy to be prepared for the inevitable bad review to come in.
We work with many eCommerce businesses. Some are just starting out and they don’t feel like they have enough customers to start collecting reviews. Others are more established, but with everything they need to think about in running their business, reviews just never made it to the top of the list. Wherever you’re at with your business, it’s never too soon to start collecting reviews, and we’re going to tell you how to do that. I guarantee that getting started with your review strategy is something you won’t regret.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Are Reviews Important
- 2 Company Review vs. Product Review
- 3 How to Start Collecting eCommerce Reviews
- 3.1 Enlist the Help of a 3rd Review Platform to Collect Both Company & Product Reviews
- 3.2 Review Syndication for Product Reviews
- 3.3 Google Customer Reviews
- 3.4 Automate Product Or Company Review Requests Without a 3rd Party Review Platform
- 3.5 Personally Reach Out to Your Customers
- 3.6 Offer an Incentive
- 4 In Closing
Why Are Reviews Important
When it comes to eCommerce, reviews are important for two reasons. First, they help customers make purchase decisions. If you’ve ever shopped online and were looking to buy a piece of clothing or furniture, for example, you likely read the product reviews before pulling the trigger. Second, if a customer is new to your site, reviews help build legitimacy and trust. When shopping online, customers want to know that they’re purchasing from a reliable source that will stand behind their products and get them to the final destination quickly, accurately, and safely. “Customers don’t trust companies with lower than 4-star ratings”  so it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re not only collecting reviews, but that you’re collecting them from advocates of your business.
Another very important reason to begin collecting reviews for your eCommerce business is that negative reviews are inevitable. You can have the best customer service in the world, and there will still be some people that you just can’t make happy.
Negative reviews are something that any business owner dreads. I remember one time early on with our in-house eCommerce business, DermWarehouse. I was grocery shopping with my husband when a notification popped up on my phone that we received a 1-star review. The tears immediately started flowing right in the middle of the cereal aisle. While this may have been a little dramatic (and the icing on the cake to an already tough week), any negative review can be harmful to your business (and your ego!). This is precisely why it’s important to get ahead of this happening and make sure you have tons of positive reviews behind you for when those negative reviews do come in.
Learn More: Removing Negative Reviews From Google
Company Review vs. Product Review
Expanding on what I touched on above, a company review is a review that a shopper leaves for your company. These are extremely important to build trust in your company, especially if you’re just starting out and people may not have heard of you yet. In fact, “higher ratings equal higher sales. Small changes in star ratings can drive explosive sales growth for products – anywhere from 30% to 200% depending on the category.” 
When we first started collecting reviews on the DermWarehouse site, we saw a huge bump in conversions and revenue. People who may have been skeptical of shopping with a new skin care company they’d never heard of could rest assured after reading the amazing things our customers had to say about us.
Product reviews are reviews on the product pages on your site and these are extremely important as well. “When a product receives five reviews, the likelihood of purchase increases by 270%. Not only that, conversion rates increase by 380% when reviews are displayed for higher priced products.” .
These statistics above just go to show you that both company and product reviews are extremely important and you should be focusing on both for your eCommerce business.
How to Start Collecting eCommerce Reviews
Enlist the Help of a 3rd Review Platform to Collect Both Company & Product Reviews
“At least half of online shoppers say they trust third-party review sites more than reviews on retailer sites.”  This is just one of the many reasons it pays to use one!
So what is a 3rd party review platform? When a customer publishes a review on a website that’s not affiliated with the business being reviewed, they are posting on a 3rd party review platform. Some popular ones that may come to mind are Google, Yelp, Facebook or TripAdvisor.
For an eCommerce business, there are platforms out there that will make collecting reviews extremely easy because these platforms will help you automate your review collection process so that you don’t even have to think about it. You can create an email template and select the timing in which you want your reviews to go out (7 days after delivery, with a reminder 14 days later, for example). These emails will begin going out and the reviews rolling in, without you having to lift a finger.
Some review platforms are preferred Google partners, which means that once your business collects enough reviews, they can show up in your Google ads and organic listings. This means that when someone is searching for one of your products or for your company on Google, your listing will showcase your reviews. This is really important in building trust right from the get go.
Which Review Platform Should I Choose?
Google lists it’s preferred review partners on their site. There are a lot of them, but some are more well-known than others. For DermWarehouse, we use TrustPilot and we have since the very beginning. At the time (about 5 years ago), there were far fewer Google partners. We chose TrustPilot because of their ability to send both company and product reviews coupled within one email. You can choose which review is more important to you and decide which one you want customers to see first.
Below is what the email looks like that DermWarehouse sends out from TrustPilot. This goes out 7 days after an order is placed with a reminder 7 days later.
Initially, when we were just starting out, we wanted to grow our company reviews. These are the reviews that will show up on Google and as a company just starting out, we wanted potential customers landing on our site to know we were legit. We originally sent out a company review email, followed by a product review email. These both came within the same email message, but in order for our customers to write their product review, they first had to write their company review.
Now that we have over 6,000 company reviews, we’ve switched the order of our emails so that the product review goes out first. Once a customer completes the product review, the next screen will take them to our company review.
Some of the other more notable review companies that partner with Google are Yotpo, Bazaar Voice, Power Reviews, and Shopper Approved. Each company offers something a little bit different and with a slightly different price point. I recommend scheduling demos with several different companies to see which one makes the most sense for your business.
Downsides to Using a 3rd Party Review Platform
There are two main downsides to using a 3rd party review platform. The first is that the cost can be prohibitively expensive in using one of Google’s partners. When we first started using TrustPilot, it was our biggest expense each month at around $500/month. Since then, the cost has gone up each year, and now we’re paying almost $700/month. This leads to my second downside.
Once you make your choice and start working with one particular review platform, it’s difficult to switch. We’ve been wanting to switch to another review platform for quite some time because TrustPilot doesn’t offer review syndication (more on this below). Plus, the cost has gotten so high, we feel that we can get a better deal elsewhere.
The issue with this is that TrustPilot owns all of our company reviews. While our product reviews live on our website, our company reviews would stay with TrustPilot and we’d have to start from scratch. Our company reviews wouldn’t be deleted, but they would live on the TrustPilot site. This means that when we showcase reviews on our website, which pull into Google, instead of saying we have over 8,000 company reviews, we’d be starting from zero. After spending 7+ years building up these reviews, this seems like too much of a risk for us.
Below is an image of our reviews that live on the TrustPilot platform. We’re able to display these reviews on our website using a widget from TrustPilot, but if we left TrustPilot, these reviews couldn’t come with us.
Other Review Platforms
If you’re just starting out and don’t have several hundred dollars in your monthly budget, there are certainly some less expensive review companies that work very well to collect product reviews. For Park Perfection, our in-house skincare line, we use judge.me, which works extremely well. We don’t collect company reviews via Judge.me, only product reviews, but for this business, product reviews are most important to us. With platforms like this, you’re still able to send out review request emails and reminders and then pull the reviews into your site. Judge.me has a free plan and a $15/month plan.
Earlier, I mentioned review syndication and wanted to expand on this more. If you’re using a company that offers syndication, such as Bazaar Voice, this is a fantastic way to increase the number of product reviews on your site. “Review syndication is the process of accumulating, sharing, and distributing customer-generated reviews across multiple sites — brand websites, retail sites, social media, review sites, and search engines — to reach more consumers.” 
Review syndication allows you to share product reviews to other sites and pull in reviews from other sites to yours. For DermWarehouse, we have about 2,000 products on our site. While some of our products generate a lot of reviews, other less popular products only have one or two reviews or even none! If we were able to syndicate our product reviews, we would be able to pull product reviews from the brands we work with and display them on our site. Let’s say our brand SkinMedica also used the same review platform as us and opted into syndication. We’d be able to pull SkinMedica’s product reviews into the product pages on our site, without creating any duplicate content issues (which is why you can’t just copy and paste reviews from one site to another). This could essentially add thousands of additional product reviews to our site.
There are several issues with review syndication. First, the platforms that offer it can be more expensive. Second, in order to syndicate reviews from another source, that source has to be using the same platform as you. Let’s take the SkinMedica example from above. If we used Bazaar Voice and SkinMedica used another review platform, we wouldn’t be able to syndicate their reviews. This works well if you need to pull reviews from a single source, but likely not as well if you need to pull them from multiple sources.
Google Customer Reviews
If you don’t want to use one of the third party services referenced above to pull reviews into your ads and organic Google listings, you can use Google Customer Reviews. This is Google’s own review gathering platform. According to BigCommerce, the reviews collected by Google Customer Reviews help you become eligible for seller ratings. When you participate, you can display a badge with the Google brand and your seller rating. Your seller rating will also appear on Search Ads and in Google Shopping.
The issue with Google Customer Reviews is you don’t control the experience and it’s somewhat clunky. We’ve used this in the past for DermWarehouse and while we generated a lot of reviews, they are hard to access, you can’t respond to reviews, the survey that’s sent out from Google can’t be customized, and the experience overall just isn’t great. Customers will need to opt-in after making their purchase in order to be sent a review request email.
Google Customer Reviews is a great place to start if you don’t want to absorb the high monthly fee yet, but want to start getting reviews accumulated for your ads and organic Google listings.
Automate Product Or Company Review Requests Without a 3rd Party Review Platform
If going the route of a 3rd party review platform isn’t for you and you want to collect reviews on your own directly through your website, you can still automate this process. If you’re using email software like Klaviyo, which enables you to send out email flows, creating a flow for product reviews is pretty simple to do.
You’ll want to create a flow that’s triggered when someone places an order. Make sure you set a time delay so that the review request email goes out after the customer receives the product and has a chance to use it. Sending this email after 14 days is a great place to start.
You’ll be able to pull in the product the customer purchased and then link to the review section on your website. Klaviyo walks you through this process.
Alternatively, you can ask customers to leave company reviews, either on your website or on another platform like Google or Facebook.
Personally Reach Out to Your Customers
Even if you have a great strategy in place to collect reviews on your website, you’ll also want to think about places like Google and Facebook for company reviews. About a year ago, we had over 7,000 company reviews on our website via TrustPilot but only a handful of reviews on Google and almost none on Facebook.
Guess what happened? A negative review came in on Google and I hadn’t taken my own advice to stay ahead of this. Ever since then, we’ve put a strategy in place to reach out to our customers who have left a review through TrustPilot asking them to leave a review for us on Google and/or Facebook. The message is extremely personalized, including a link to where they can leave both reviews and the original review that they wrote so that they can easily copy and paste.
In the last few months we’ve collected almost 300 reviews on Google using this strategy and now we don’t have to worry as much if another not-so-stellar review happens to come in.
Offer an Incentive
Another way to entice customers to leave a review is to offer them an incentive. I’ve been offered gift cards, free products, and more in exchange for reviews. You’re asking people to take time out of their busy day to do something to help you, so shouldn’t they be rewarded?
While we don’t offer any incentives for reviews on DermWarehouse (other than our outstanding service and fabulous products), incentives do work. In my experience, if you’ve given your customers great service and products, that should be incentive enough. This is, however, certainly another idea to keep in your back pocket.
- If you’re not already collecting both company and product reviews for your eCommerce company, there’s no time like the present to get started – it will pay dividends.
- Reviews will not only increase trust and legitimacy with your company and make customers feel more comfortable ordering from you, but they also ensure you’re prepared for any negative reviews that come in.
- Whether you use a Google partner or not, utilizing a 3rd party review platform makes collecting reviews extremely easy.
- Automating your review strategy is the way to go. Take the work and thinking out of the review collection!