Making the most out of online reviews

When we shop online, the first thing we check after choosing a product are the product reviews. There is an immense trust that we keep within these online reviews. Since we cannot have a physical experience of the product, online reviews play a very significant role in the same.

In the times of Yelp! And Facebook, the rapid increase in online reviews have started to decide the fate of online business and the way they are perceived.

Online reviews are important to maintain the authenticity of the online businesses and maintain positive results for e-commerce.

Who is Reading Online Reviews?

In today’s fast paced world, virtually everyone is reading the online reviews. According to data, 91% of people read them and 84% would trust them as they would a personal recommendation.

There is a good 31% more chance that an average customer will pick a product with excellent reviews.

Negative reviews weigh equally as the positive ones. 82% of people seek out negative reviews while online shopping. However, there are some benefits to it as well. Research indicates that the user spends five times longer on sites with negative reviews with 85% increase in conversion rate.

Customers like to see a lot of reviews. The more, the better. An average person sees 40 reviews before buying a product. Few reviews that are always better than no reviews.

With the level of trust people have in reviews, it’s safe to assume that literally everyone who is buying products online sees the online reviews, no matter the target demographic, industry or market.

Benefits of Online Reviews

There are numerous benefits of online reviews. In this fast paced world, the presence of online business is realised by its customer trust and which is built with positive reviews. A few positive words and you will find yourself among consumers that will stand by your product and business.

1. Drive Sales

The decisions and judgments of the people are very much dependent on the collective thought of people. So when there is a positive review from someone who made a similar purchase, the people trust that and thus it drives the sales of the product. It’s like a proof of authenticity that people demand from the business.

2. Build Trust

The global e-commerce market reached nearly $3.5 trillion in 2019. So with so many options in the market, it’s hard to decide which product or business to trust. While physically handling a product is the best way to decide that, online reviews are the next best choice for businesses that solely rely on their online presence. Reading positive reviews that indicate good quality helps in building the trust for the business.

3. Contribute to SEO Efforts

One of the main goals for the online businesses is them ranking high in SERPs. However, it is an extensive task requiring a lot of time and energy. Online reviews come in handy in this as well.

Most customers use keywords like the name of the product in their reviews which help in the page ranking adding more content for your page. So there are two benefits to it, your business name ranks high on the web page and along with that the positive reviews ranks high too.

4. Aid Customer Decision-Making

A customer put a lot of time and energy in evaluating a product before making a purchase. Reviews are key to the decision-making process guiding the consumers to get the best product. The doubts about the images and the actual product are also cleared through these online reviews.

5. Enable Problem-Solving

No business is flawless. There will be good reviews and bad reviews and that is absolutely okay. Bad reviews help in identifying the improvements. Sometimes a negative review is written by an angry customer but if there are 14-15 negative reviews, you might have a problem worth addressing.

Maximising the Benefits of Online Reviews

The benefits of online reviews are extensive but understanding them and knowing how to leverage them for the business are two very different things. The following tips are there to help you with that part.

1. Increase Brand Awareness

Because your brand will exist in as many places as possible, the consumers will know everything about it, your name and what you do. Reviews increase your presence organically. Stronger the reviews, the better chance of your brand coming on the top of the list among the companies of your industry.

2. Identify Keywords For Your Brand

Even if you have some particular keywords in your mind for your brand it’s not necessary that the consumers will use the same keywords while searching for the product. Through online reviews you can easily know which words are used the most for your brand and then you can use them for your SEO campaigns.

3. Highlight Positive Reviews with PR Campaigns

When you have great reviews, let them do the talking for you. Featuring your reviews on pages, press releases, marketing content and advertisements can help you give the publicity and reach that you want.

Tactics for Receiving Online Reviews

You can speed up the process of getting reviews in following ways.

1. Ask For Review

Sometimes all you need to do for getting the customers to leave a review is ask for them. Whether as a pop up on the checkout page or through an email after the product is delivered, simply asking for a review can make all the difference.

Emerly’s sends follow-up emails asking customers what they think about their products. Some storefronts take this a step further by including QR codes, links to Yelp! pages, or fillable forms to eliminate all labor on the part of the consumer.

Sparrow's product review reminder email
With Sparrow you can configure and send out product review request reminders to your customers automatically

2. Make the Process Easy

If you make the customers go through a lot of clicks in order to get feedback, it’s very unlikely that you’ll get one. Make it as easy as you can. Include your links to Facebook, Google My Business in marketing emails and your webpages.

woocommerce product reviews widget plugin
Sparrow adds a Woocommerce product review widget on your product page letting your customers leave reviews easily

3. Incentivize Your Customers

Customers love discounts and offers, so offering them in exchange of reviews can prove to be helpful in this domain. The long term benefits can outweigh the cost. This can be done after a few days or weeks of the product delivery and you can give offers in the form of promo codes and free shipping.

4. Send Customer Surveys

Surveys can be very helpful when it comes to online reviews. Just send out a form after the product delivery and include questions around the checkout process, shipping speed, product quality etc.

5. Engage in Customer Surveys

Customers like to be heard and especially when they review products. Google also presents this evidence as you can actually increase local SEO efforts. Just a simple “Thanks!” can go a long way in making your consumers feel special. Not only it helps in amplifying the positive reviews, but a study shows that 32% of people entirely deleted their negative reviews after a business follow-up.

Earn Online Reviews on the Most Authoritative Sites

Some reviews are more valuable than others. The reviews that are present on the third party sites are more trusted than the ones present on the business site. Sites like Google, Yelp! And Facebook reviews are the most valuable to the customers.

1. Google Reviews

Google is seen as the most authoritative when it comes to the web, and that includes reviews. Google My Business offers a lot of valuable information like contact details, hours of operation, and the review section. Google reviews can prove to be the most meaningful and beneficial for your business as it easily eliminates confusion. Google takes reviews in account when it determines the search engine ranking in which they comprise around 9% of the total formula.

2. Yelp! Reviews

Yelp! Has been a significant player in the world of reviews for over 15 years. Even while surrounded by some controversies, it’s still one of the most trusted names in the game. Yelp! Is different from Google and Facebook reviews in the terms of its algorithm where it doesn’t show all the reviews. The reviews that are not of much use to anyone, will come under the heading “Reviews that aren’t currently recommended”. It filters out the useless reviews by itself.

Yelp! Reviews carry a lot of weight when it comes to the business industry. Even an increase of a single star means a boost of 9% of total revenue.

3. Facebook Reviews

Facebook’s long standing review program has seen some changes resulting in a shift from standard reviews to feedback integration. It speaks recommendations of the business’ strengths while a person reviews as usual. Two in three facebook users visit a local business page and one in three makes use of the reviews that are on the page. They provide a lot more information on how the businesses are perceived online giving an additional view to make better buying decisions.

4. Niche Online Reviews

Some local ecommerce operations may also find value in the online outlets. From Reddit to general blogs on web and social media, can function as sources of reviews also in some cases being far too valuable.

Soliciting online reviews on such sites can be a bit more challenging considering most people prefer the obvious platforms for it, but it is not impossible. Provide links to profiles on places like Reddit, or specialty forums to see the king of feedback that is meaningful for your business.


Online reviews can work wonders for an online business when used strategically. They make for a great word of mouth marketing providing different perspectives on the products and services. Understanding the importance of reviews and having the knowledge of using them to get ahead in the competitive ecommerce marketplace can prove beneficial to your business.