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20 Ways To Increase The Number Of User Reviews In Your Online Shop

Henning Frettem
Published by
Henning Frettem
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20 Ways To Increase The Number Of User Reviews In Your Online Shop

Henning Frettem
Published by
Henning Frettem

Very few online shops manage to collect high numbers of reviews from their customers. It is too bad since user reviews come with many undeniable benefits:

  • More traffic – user reviews make online shops more ‘lively’ which is interpreted in terms of popularity by search engines.
  • Better positioning – search engines like Google love updated and user-generated content.
  • Increased trust – customers trust other users’ opinions more than product descriptions prepared by webshops.
  • Better product insight – you get a lot of knowledge on how customers use your products and can improve the identified bad products in your assortment.
  • Easier choice and purchase – user reviews make it easier for other shoppers to make a decision and finalize a purchase.

It may seem easy to talk highly about the numerous cool benefits customer reviews give us, but you may be sitting and wondering how to increase the number of reviews in your webshop? There are many, both simple and more demanding ways to achieve this goal. We have gathered 20 tips and tricks which can help you get started!

How to increase the number of user reviews in your online shop

1. Ask customers to share their opinions

It may sound obvious, but to have your customers leave their review you have to take initiative and ask them to do it. It is usual in restaurants that the waiter asks guests if they enjoyed their meals – and you need to think about your customers in the same way. Ask them both on the more general level (“How was your overall experience with us?”) but also at the product level (“What do you think of the product you bought from us?”).

2. Be personal

However, it is not just about if you ask your clients for feedback, but how you ask. To evoke positive associations around providing feedback, you need to create a good atmosphere from the very start. It does not require more effort than a friendly and personalized “thank you for your purchase” message. This small gesture often goes a long way in making the customer feel noticed and appreciated, and willing to share their feedback with you as a result.

3. Send automatic emails after purchase

Many web shops fix great newsletters to drive sales, but it is also smart to use emails to follow up customers in the aftermatch. Advanced systems for ratings and reviews offer automatic send-out of emails encouraging shoppers to rate their just-bought products. Automated emails can be customized to fit your corporate identity so that your messages look natural to your customers when you follow them up after purchase.

4. Ask the right questions

When you have formed and customized an email to your company’s identity it’s time to find the right question. What do you want to know? What question should you pose to get valuable feedback? It is also important to ask yourself what your customers are interested in. What are their biggest concerns in the shopping process? What are the significant “pain points” in your industry (which you are eager to solve for your customers)? The right focus in your automatic emails helps you collect valuable and relevant feedback.

5. Show customer reviews on your product side

It may sound weird but the truth is that not all the online shops display collected customer reviews but prefer to keep them hidden in their software system. Obviously, it deprives other customers of useful product information but also hides it from the search engines that rank product pages with user-generated content high. If you show product reviews on your website, the customers will see that their feedback is useful not only for your company – but for other customers who can draw from their experiences. In this way, you give your customers a sense of ownership and motivation to continue sharing their feedback!  

6. Monitor and share insights on external channels

Your customers don’t always give you feedback directly. This is why it’s smart to map where your potential and existing customers discuss your products and maybe also your webshop. These can be both closed groups on Facebook and various discussion forums. It is good practice to respond to your customers also there, regardless if the feedback is positive or negative. You can also publish their comments on your website to create engagement around your products.

7. Be open for criticism of your products – regardless of the channel

As mentioned before, customers do not always give feedback on your website but they may tell something about the product they’ve bought directly to your employees in the physical shop (for example when filing a complaint), post something on social media or write an email to your customer service department. This knowledge is precious. Don’t be afraid to encourage your customers to share their opinions directly on the product page, even though they may initially share their feedback on other channels:

“Thank you so much for helpful feedback. We need to take a closer look at this. Please leave your feedback also on our product page so that other customers can benefit from your considerations. ”

8. Give customers an incentive to share their feedback

You should be careful about giving something to the customers to share their opinions. If you encourage customers to share their opinions with rewards, the reviews will quickly be considered advertising, will have to be marked as ads and clearly distinguished from regular customer reviews. In some cases, however, incentives can be used in the form of rewards without changing the nature of reviews into advertising. To achieve this, the reward must be small, and it must be clearly stated that the consumer has an equal chance of getting the reward regardless of whether the review is positive or negative. An alternative is to give customers bonus points and integrate the reviews system with your loyalty and bonus programs.

9. Encourage customers to share pictures and videos

In certain industries it is very useful to see products in use. It is especially relevant in the fashion and interior design sector. Let customers upload their pictures and videos on your website or your other marketing channels, and show their product pictures based on hashtags from selected social media. User reviews are important for creating a sense of community among your customers and giving you a competitive edge in more places than your product pages.

10. Encourage customers to share their perceptions of the product’s use value

No matter how well you do your job, there will always be dissatisfied customers – but it does not always mean that there is something wrong with a product, even though the customer is not happy. A dress can be only slightly smaller in size than expected or the mattress is softer than the customer imagined it to be. Let customers provide this kind of information by marking points on a scale. It is often easier for the customer than writing long user reviews and oftentimes is much more valuable than a general assessment.

11. Contact those who give positive feedback

If you get an amazing user review in your webshop or another platform, reach out – say thank you! In some cases, it may also be a good idea to ask for permission to use their feedback as a ‘shoutout’ on your own social media channels.

12. Contact those who give negative feedback

Negative feedback is nothing to be afraid of. In fact, negative user reviews can be valuable for your business. When you receive negative feedback it is important to keep calm, reach out, and respond objectively. Research shows that 95% of unhappy customers will shop at your web store again if you handle the situation properly. Read more about how to handle negative user reviews.

13. Moderate user reviews

Good reviews give more good reviews. Good user review focuses exclusively on a product, not general impressions about the shop or delivery. Sadly, this is not always the customer’s focus when they’re writing a review. As a result, reviews are sometimes rejected as irrelevant. Sometimes only a little editing may be needed. Other times, the user review is relevant, but the customer’s language skills are limited and you are reluctant to approve the review. As the shop owner, you are responsible for moderation. Simple language correction may be done without consent, while other times you will need to contact the customer for approval. But fear not, reach out anyways and remember – customers are also just people.

14. Give your customer another chance

If you delete a review because it was offensive, contained inappropriate language, or was false, you should let the customer know what kind of reviews are and are not published. In such cases, you have the opportunity to show the customer that you are a serious player, and thus potentially increase customer confidence in your company.

With clear guidelines, the customer can then decide whether they will post a new review given that the first one was deleted. Read more about why you shouldn’t pay for fake reviews.

15. Use product recommendations in your marketing

Show your customers that you appreciate their engagement and use both ratings and reviews in customer magazines, newsletters, and announcements. You could use the customers’ pictures, but remember to clarify this in advance with the customer to avoid copyright issues. By highlighting customer feedback, you make them feel noticed. User reviews obviously have great value as a strong social proof, but more than that, they have great and often undiscovered potential to increase the sense of ownership in your customers!

16. Link to external user reviews and product tests

Customers may write on their own blog about their newly purchased product, instead of writing a review in your online store. If that happens, you can gain a lot of recognition by linking to their blog post. Similarly, you may also want to link to more professional websites that review products. For example, Dinside.no conducts many good product reviews that can be useful for your customers. Don’t be afraid to link out of your own website, as long as it gives your customers additional value.

17. Be precise and clear in your product description

Good USPs (unique selling points) should not only be visible at the store level in the form of arguments such as “Free shipping”, “Large selection” and “Fast delivery”, but also at the product level. This can be, for example, in the form of three bullet points with what makes this product special, drawn from customer reviews. This is not only useful to customers but can also help increase engagement and inspire your customers to ‘grab a pen’ and write their own observations. Long and futile product texts copied from your suppliers’ product databases do not contribute to engagement in the same way.

18. Update product descriptions based on user reviews

There is only one thing that irritates customers more than the fact that essential product information is missing from a product page. This is when they notify the online shop about wrong or misleading information and the shop does nothing about it. When the customer writes a long and insightful complaint on a product or customer service, the product information should be updated as soon as possible. Not only will your product descriptions constantly improve (which may positively influence the percentage of returns), but also you will prove to your customers that user reviews you receive become really useful for other customers, which again can result in even more reviews.

19. Update your product assortment based on user reviews

Sometimes it is a good idea to let customers’ opinions influence your assortment. Maybe there are products which should no longer be in your assortment or new products that should be there? If you follow this track, a lot of good things will come in return. Customers talk and you are lucky enough to have them talk where you can see what they say – it’s up to you to grab this information and make adjustments just in time!

20. Use customer insights for future recommendations

Some online stores use the insights they get from user reviews to give customers new product recommendations. This is yet another way to make customers feel seen. Who knows, maybe you will get another sale by making the customer aware of related products they are not familiar with but are very interested in!

Finally, a reminder: your customers have more important things to do than write long reviews of your products.

The most important thing, therefore, is that you give them a reason to leave their feedback and make the process as easy as possible!

Henning Frettem
CEO & Founder