Customer reviews have a lot of power to persuade people to make a purchase — and when you use them effectively they can increase your sales dramatically. 

So why do shoppers look at reviews before buying?

Because people don’t like wasting money on bad products or services! They want something that works, that delivers on its promise, and that fulfills their needs and desires. 

To get that kind of assurance before buying, hearing from a trustworthy person is very helpful. While customers buy based on emotion, they justify purchases with logic. Reviews provide that logic. 

The science behind reviews

57% of customers say reviews are extremely or very important in influencing their decision to buy. If you aren’t displaying any reviews at optimal moments in your sales funnel, then your customers have nothing to justify their decision to buy. They may hesitate and try a competitor, or decide to wait. 

Nine out of ten consumers say that an online review is as important as a personal recommendation. Why does this matter? It speaks to how much people trust customer reviews. If your relative or close friend recommends something, you trust them. Therefore, 90% of consumers read customer reviews with the same level of trust.

Customers spend 31% more at businesses with ‘excellent’ reviews. More trust means more sales. It’s that simple. 

Businesses increased sales of expensive items 380% when customer reviews were placed alongside their products. Similarly, putting testimonials on sales pages increased conversions by 34%. Your high dollar items are often your biggest money makers, so any increase in conversions can lead to better profits.

Customer reviews are a big deal — so get a lot of them, and use them. 

Anatomy of a customer review

The best reviews are specific. Generic lines like, “the service was great” or “we love it!” don’t hurt, but they won’t necessarily persuade a person to buy. 

It’s much better for a review to compare life before and after buying your product or service. What problem did they have, and how did you help solve it? Other good reviews might talk about bad experiences at other companies and how yours was different. 

Besides the content of the review, you also want the reviewer’s name, city or neighborhood, and business name, if applicable. Photos and videos are even better. Why? Because reviews need to be trusted, and disreputable businesses have been known to make them up.  Identifying information and photos make reviews more credible. Both Google and Yelp forbid anonymous reviews, and you should too. 

Six ways to increase sales with customer reviews

Getting good reviews is one thing, but how you use them, and where, is also important. Here are six ways to use customer reviews to increase revenue and boost conversions:

1. Highlight reviews on product pages

For online stores, your product pages are your sales pages. That’s where customers go when considering buying your items. 

customer reviews on Dr Scholls product pages
Photo © https://www.drscholls.com/

While it’s great to have a separate page with a bunch of testimonials, you should also pick out select customer reviews that are relevant to specific products, and put them right on those pages.

2. Leverage reviews in abandoned cart emails

If you haven’t explored abandoned cart emails before, now is the time to start. 

A whopping 88% of all online orders are abandoned. That means over two-thirds of people who go through the sales process fail to take the final step of actually sending you money

The good news is that there’s a 63% chance an order can be recovered — with abandoned cart emails.

To make your cart abandonment emails more effective, add some of your most powerful customer reviews right in the email. You could even link to a page with more of them. 

You can send cart abandonment emails using the Follow-Ups extension

3. Spotlight reviews that include customer pictures

Depending on your product, some reviews might include photos. And, as mentioned earlier, testimonials accompanied by photos have more power to persuade because they’re more trustworthy and credible. And if you can gather videos, they’ll be even more persuasive. 

pet product reviews with images of dogs
Photo © https://www.scratchpetfood.com.au/

WooCommerce offers an extension called Product Reviews Pro that makes all this possible. You can collect text, photo, and video reviews right on your website using a customizable pop-up form.

4. Use rich snippets to display customer reviews

A rich snippet is displayed in online search results, beyond the normal information. You’ve seen this with other businesses, where their star rating shows up in search results. You can have this too, and the Product Reviews Pro extension makes it possible.

5. Deploy smart pop-ups to collect reviews

Before you can display your reviews, you must collect them, and this process needs to be as easy as possible, because people are busy. A pop-up review form is the easiest way to do this online as it can happen right on the page. 

You can use the Follow-Ups extension to send out emails asking for reviews. For in-person sales, you can just ask right there. You can also conduct a customer service phone call to customers who bought higher value items and ask them to leave a review. 

6. Use intelligent customer segmentation

Pay attention to your reviews, even on third-party sites like Yelp. If someone writes something that is particularly useful, go grab it and repurpose it. 

For instance, a review might mention a particular demographic you want to target. It might mention a specific problem you’ve wanted to communicate as part of your marketing. It might mention a certain product or service.

Place those reviews right on the specific web page or marketing asset that pertains to that topic. Put them in emails. Put them on sales pages. Put them on written marketing materials. Put them on the product page mentioned in the review. Include them in targeted social posts.

In short, don’t treat all reviews the same. If you leverage the unique power that each one provides, you’ll make more sales.

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