Types of Reviews
What types of reviews are most important, and how can you best leverage them on your website to turn page views into sales volume?
Types of Reviews
It's clear that reviews are important, and that they factor into consumers' decisions to buy one product over the other. This means that — if you aren't already doing this — you should get to work on driving reviews for your business and your products.
Now we're going to get a little bit more specific. What types of reviews are most important, and how can you best leverage them on your website to turn page views into sales volume?
There are four key different categories of reviews: business reviews, product reviews, photo reviews, and video reviews.
Here's a breakdown, explaining what each type of review is, what it communicates to a prospective buyer, where it's normally found online, and some best practices when leveraging it on your eCommerce site:
Business Reviews & Seller Ratings
Business reviews are what you'd feedback left for you as a seller or your business in general. These types of reviews allow prospective customers to understand what doing business with you or your brand will be like.
If past customers have had positive experiences buying from your online store, your reviews will be positive and consumers will be more willing to trust you — the opposite is true if your business has negative reviews.
Where Do Business Reviews Appear?
Apps and extensions can help you leverage business reviews in a number of different places, but they do appear organically as well. Google, Facebook and Yelp are some of the most popular platforms where you can find Business Reviews.
Business reviews can be found on your Google My Business (GMB) profile if you have one. When a consumer performs a Google search for restaurants, stores, or service providers, Google will boost a few results on a map feature called the "local pack." In these top results, consumers can view things like location, contact information, hours of operation, and more — including reviews from past customers. This online reputation is essential for brick & mortar businesses. Lots of negative reviews can hurt their ability to be found in organic search results, directly impacting their revenue.
But GMB is less important to online sellers without a physical location. For online retailers, you'll want to focus on Google Merchant Center, the place where you can centralize your Google-affiliated online properties for e-commerce. This is like GMB for retail — you can update your product information, communicate sales and promotions, and, critically, have your products appear in Google's Shopping function.
This is where Google Customer Reviews, also known as seller ratings, are important. Your products' ability to appear organically (and via paid advertisements) will be boosted by your high online reputation. Additionally, you'll be able to generate a Google Customer Reviews badge to put on your website, and a high rating there will build additional credibility for you as a seller.
Business reviews can also be found in on review websites like Yelp as well industry-specific directories like Fiverr, Healthgrades, and Angie's List. Some regions even have smaller databases where members of the community review their experiences with local companies or contractors so that their neighbors know what to expect.
One of the final noteworthy places where business reviews appear is Facebook. Most businesses have a Facebook Business page where they advertise their products or services, run paid ads, and build a following. Like many business directories, Facebook allows visitors on your page to leave a review, and also similar to many other review sites, display a star rating to indicate average rating.
Seller Reviews Best Practices
While the way search engines like Google and Bing use seller ratings to influence retail search results can be complicated, there's nothing unclear about the importance of business reviews as a whole: you need them, and positive reviews will go a long way towards getting customers to focus less on whether they can trust you and more on the products you're offering in your online store.
Product Reviews and Ratings
If business reviews tell prospective buyers whether they can trust a seller, product reviews accomplish the same objective for a specific product.
In Chapter 1, we illustrated the importance of product reviews to the average consumer — to reiterate, over 90% of consumers read five or more product reviews before coming to a purchasing decision. To underline the impact of customer reviews, we can look to the largest online marketplace in North America: Amazon.com.
According to research, positive reviews on Amazon equate to a 20% increase in total sales of a product.
This is because in the digital age — we mentioned in the last chapter that online reviews have surpassed word-of-mouth-referrals as the most effective measure of social proof — people are looking to see other people's experiences with a product before they make a decision whether to trust it themselves.
Where Do Product Reviews Appear?
eCommerce stores and large online marketplaces, like Amazon or Google Shopping, are generally the most natural locations where you can find Product Reviews.
In e-commerce platforms like WooCommerce and Shopify, reviews have to be activated through native apps on the platform or third-party apps and extensions. Stamped.io Reviews & Ratings integrates seamlessly with Shopify.
Product Reviews Best Practices
Because product reviews on e-commerce sites don't appear automatically in most cases, you'll have to do some legwork of your own to make sure you're reaping the full benefit of a positive reputation on your product and category pages.
Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, and the other leading online retail sites have native product review functions that you can activate on your website. While they all serve the primary goal of displaying product reviews in the right places, they're a bit basic and you may feel like the resources they offer to manage and generate product reviews are underwhelming.
That's where third-party apps come in, specifically designed to give you the widest array of options when displaying, generating, and managing product reviews. Stamped.io is an intuitive review management app that integrates seamlessly with Shopify and other leading e-commerce platforms to help your online store thrive using a variety of different social proof formats.
Photo reviews are product reviews that incorporate one or more images of the product or the customer using the product in them. More than text-based product reviews, photo reviews allow customers to make a deeper connection with a product and get a better understanding of how they might be able to benefit from it when they can see a review rather than just reading it.
Photo reviews are a category of User Generated Content (UGC), and 53% of millennials say that this type of UGC influences their buying decisions when leveraged effectively.
This suggests that despite the fact that photo reviews are more difficult to generate, they may be able to build more credibility for your products than text reviews.
Where Do Photo Reviews Appear?
Reviews on Google platforms, Amazon, eBay, and other online marketplaces are generally easy to include one or more photos along with the text. These sites do this because of the evidence that consumers are more likely to make a decision after seeing a product in use than when they read about another person's experience with it.
Another place where this type of UGC can be found is on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For some products and audiences, content that appears on social media can also be a big factor in influencing their decision to purchase one product instead of another.
When it comes to eCommerce platforms, photo reviews can be displayed, but you'll want to use a visual UGC app like Stamped.io to make sure you have control over the reviews that end up on your site and options for how where they appear.
Photo Review Best Practices
Photo reviews are more difficult to leverage on your site than text reviews, because native apps on Shopify and other platforms don't generally offer a range of options when it comes to photo (and as we'll talk about next, video) reviews on seller or product pages.
Third-party apps like Stamped.io can, however, with galleries that can be plugged into a number of places on your web pages to bring powerful UGC closer to the point of sale.
Video reviews are a lot like photo reviews, but using videos of customers using (or explaining their recommendations of) a product instead of a photo. Video reviews take the immersion of photo reviews to the next level, with a demonstration that enables interested shoppers to imagine themselves in the shoes of the reviewer.
Where Video Reviews Appear
Like photo reviews, video reviews are not easy to display on e-commerce websites without the help of third-party apps. Unlike photo reviews, though, video reviews are not as often found (or able to be created) supporting reviews on Google, Amazon, and other online product marketplaces.
The place where video reviews appear in large quantities is YouTube. Whether paid as part of a brand deal with the seller or just to as a mission to create content their followers will pay attention to, there are countless personalities on YouTube who craft their digital persona around offering advice on products to buy and companies to support.
This trend can also be observed on social media platforms, most commonly Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
With a specialized app, like Stamped.io, businesses can easily tap into one of the most compelling types of UGC by curating and showcasing customers’ videos across their different marketing channels.
Video Reviews Best Practices
In order to drive video reviews for your online store, you may need a coordinated outreach strategy — i.e. asking customers to turn their text or photo reviews into videos.
Some brands leverage social media to their benefit. This depends largely on your target audience, and it explains the rise of "influencer marketing": 70% of YouTube subscribers feel that they can relate to reviews from public figures on their preferred platforms, and will trust product recommendations from them.
But you don't have to rely on an inconsistent and costly influencer marketing strategy to leverage user-generated video reviews on your site. Apps like Stamped.io can centralize your outreach with turnkey review generation campaigns and add video reviews to your product pages so that buyers don't have to look elsewhere to engage with reviews of your products.