Ecommerce Customer Reviews: Why They’re Important and How to Design Them

A closeup of a person leaving an online product review via a cell phone

Soliciting ecommerce customer reviews have become a ubiquitous part of the post-purchase experience. And for good reason because reviews are a shoppers’ go-to source of product information. In today’s data-driven ecommerce marketplace, an increasing number of consumers now rely on reviews to inform their shopping behaviour. Recent research shows that 95% of consumers consult customer reviews before making a purchase, and 30% of customers research reviews for every purchase they make. 

Reviews uncover customers’ true and often unfiltered opinions about a brand, its products, customer service and marketing. Online customer reviews play an important role in boosting sales and conversions and establishing the type of brand authenticity and transparency that gain customer trust. Reviews can also help brands score higher in those all-important search engine rankings. 

How important have customer reviews become for brands with DTC ecommerce businesses? Statistics tell a compelling story:

Six Benefits of Online Customer Reviews

As the above stats highlight, customer reviews can have a tremendous impact on sales and conversion rates. But the advantages do not stop there. Here are six ways customer reviews benefit brands with ecommerce channels.

Boosts Sales through Social Proof

Increased sales are the main reason why customer ratings and reviews are important to brands with DTC ecommerce channels. Research shows consumers are more willing to purchase products from brands that post positive and negative reviews. Customers also tend to trust reviews twelve times more than any other form of marketing. Social proof of this type helps customers decide whether to purchase a product, as they get first-hand testimonials from customers who enjoyed the product and customer experience — or not. 

Social proof is especially important for brands entering new markets. In fact, customer reviews should be part of a comprehensive marketing strategy that also includes targeted ads and localised promotions.

Improves Conversions

Product reviews can encourage shoppers to purchase a product they may have been on the fence about. According to research, the purchase likelihood for a product with just five reviews is 270% greater than a product with no reviews. Additionally, reviews have a greater impact on purchase probability for higher-priced items than cheaper ones. Research indicates displaying positive reviews for higher-priced products can increase conversions by 380% and boost conversion of lower-priced products by 190%.

Strengthens Customer Loyalty

Posting all reviews – not just the positive ones – shows consumers a brand cares about their opinions, greatly enhancing customer loyalty and brand perception. Online customer reviews can particularly build trust with new or prospective customers who are uncertain about buying from a brand they know little about. The better quality reviews a brand has, the more value new shoppers will give to a brand and its products. In fact, customers are 63% more likely to buy from a company they feel good about.

Improves SEO

DTC ecommerce brands always want to rank high in search engine results pages (SERPs) because it increases traffic and sales. Customer reviews can improve a brand’s SEO standings since they often contain keywords such as product and brand names. In fact, Google’s algorithm gives pages with consumer reviews higher rankings on search engines, plus the added word count means there are more opportunities for relevant keywords. Ultimately, DTC ecommerce websites with higher-rated products and reviews are more likely to rank higher in overall and local searches.

SEO is key for both market entry as well as ongoing growth and success. Brands should focus on boosting their online presence through audits, Google Search Console monitoring and keyword monitoring. 

Gives Better Product Insights

Reviews help consumers determine whether a product’s quality and specifications will meet their expectations. Reviews can also give consumers a clearer picture of what to expect when their product arrives, which will help minimise returns. They help potential customers get a clearer picture of what they can expect from a product, such as its performance, flaws and overall pros and cons. They can also give insight into shipping and delivery times.

Free Marketing

Whether positive or negative, the fact that customers take the time to write and post a review demonstrates their vested interest in a brand and its products. In this sense, reviews can give brands exposure far beyond what a simple marketing campaign can offer. This type of micro-marketing is free and keeps working long after a customer posts their review. Providing a constant positive image to potential customers creates continual brand awareness that offers substantial short- and long-term marketing benefits.

The Importance of Responding to Reviews

A woman unboxes an ecommerce delivery

While collecting reviews is important for all DTC ecommerce brands, responding to those reviews is just as important. Customers do not want to be ghosted by brands; in fact, 52% of customers expect a response to their reviews within an hour, while another 57% believe brands should respond on weekends. 

To that end, prompt responses to both positive and negative reviews can go a long way to building customer trust. Review transparency shows that a company genuinely cares about its customers’ opinions and is open to receiving feedback of any kind. Customers particularly appreciate brands that respond to negative reviews. As many as 45% of consumers are more likely to support businesses if they see that they respond to negative reviews. 

Responding to every review requires extra customer service time and effort, but the effort is worth it. Answering as many as possible builds stronger customer relationships, protects brand reputation, helps meet customer expectations, and improves online ratings.

How to Get More Reviews

Ecommerce customer reviews have become such an important part of the DTC ecommerce process that it behoves brands to collect as many as possible. Other than relying on customers, how do brands attract even more reviews?

The answer to that question is simple: just ask. 

In fact, 70% of people asked to leave a review will do so. Whether on a checkout page, as a pop-up after making a purchase, or as an email or text request after confirmation of product delivery, simply asking for feedback can make a big difference. 

One clever way of obtaining more reviews is to provide a review template that customers can adapt and modify or simply publish under their name. Review templates streamline the process and make leaving reviews quick and easy.

What Are Customer Review Templates?

A customer review template collects feedback from actual users who have bought or used a brand’s products or services. They give deep insight into customers’ perceptions of their customer experience. Companies can embed a review form on their website or make it available to customers via a direct website link, email, text messages or social media. A good best practice is to send review templates after users have had enough time to try out a product to give accurate feedback.

How to Design an Ecommerce Customer Reviews Template

When designing review templates, brands should tailor them to focus on what worked with a product or service, what could use improvement and a customer’s overall experience with the brand and the product. The beauty of review templates is they allow customers to get granular in describing specifics about a product or experience.

For instance, a fashion brand can ask if a garment fit true to size or ran larger or smaller than expected. A booking site can ask about specifics about hotel accommodations, while a beauty brand can inquire about the ease of use of a product and if it had the desired effect. Allowing customers to post photos of themselves wearing or using a product or showing details about that hotel room adds to the power of review templates.

Free and customisable review templates are easily available online, and it is up to the brand to choose one with the features that work best for them and their industry. Ultimately, the in-depth insights offered by review templates will not only benefit brands but also serve as a valuable source of information for other consumers.

ESW Covers Every Part of the DTC Ecommerce Experience

Customer reviews and feedback are just one part of the DTC ecommerce and post-purchase experience. ESW can help guide your brand through every aspect of successful global cross-border ecommerce. We facilitate a faster, safer and smarter entry into global markets for businesses of all sizes through a powerful combination of technology and DTC ecommerce know-how. Contact ESW today to learn how your brand can partner with a true end-to-end DTC ecommerce provider.