Think about the last product you bought online.
Before the purchase was made, you likely walked through a checklist of criteria—something that’s become almost second nature. After finding the product that best aligns with your interests, maybe you checked the price, product details, sizing, and if you’re like most online shoppers nowadays, you took note of any available star ratings and reviews.
Ask yourself about the weight you’d give to price versus star ratings: which is more important?
It goes without saying that either has the potential to impact whether you click that buy button or not. But whether you’re contemplating the purchase of big-ticket items or something with a relatively low cost, reviews and star ratings provide the justification needed for people to overlook price and view their purchases as investments for the short or long term.
Why Does your eCommerce Shop Need Star Ratings?
At a glance, star ratings give your products a stamp of approval of sorts. They show visitors that not only are people actually buying what you have to sell but that they are also motivated enough to reflect upon the pros and cons of what was bought.
The Social Proof of Star Ratings
In a nutshell, social proof is an idea that stems from a psychological concept known as normative social influence. It suggests that people need to be liked and accepted by those around them. As a result, they will be motivated to take action based on the things the masses like and advocate on behalf of. There is always strength in numbers.
As it pertains to your eCommerce star ratings, the more ratings you have, the more value placed on the social proof of what’s being sold.
Paired alongside written reviews, visitors have an even better opportunity of relating to use cases and situations that will influence their own purchase. As a shopper, fellow shoppers vouching on behalf of the products you’re interested in is a lot more credible than a brand motivated by profit.
The Statistical Proof of Customer Ratings & Reviews
If unswayed by the psychology, the proof is also in the numbers. Consider the following statistics:
- Before making a final purchase, 70% of customers will consult reviews.
- 67% of consumers need to read 6 reviews or less before they trust a business enough to purchase from it.
- 63% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a site that has ratings and reviews.
- 50 or more reviews and ratings on a product can lead to a 4.5% increase in conversion rate.
- Consumer reviews are nearly 12 times more trusted than descriptions produced by the manufacturers.
The SEO Benefits of Star Ratings
Aside from their ability to drive sales and establish trust across your brand’s audience, star ratings and reviews also help to fuel that SEO fire. For starters, the continuous upload of new reviews provides your website with an ongoing stream of fresh, relevant content for engines to crawl.
In addition, by including star ratings and reviews on your website, you increase the chances of ranking for relevant search terms.
It’s not uncommon for consumers to seek out reviews for any and all items, especially for those that come with a higher price tag attached. In instances when the words ‘review’ or ‘rating’ are included in that search, you become more likely to appear in results if already including the feature alongside your products. As any good business owner knows, it’s better to control that conversation than to outsource it completely to third parties like Yelp or Google’s reviews platform.
How to Use Star Ratings on your eCommerce Shop
When you’re preparing to implement star ratings in your eCommerce shop experience, it’s important to remain considerate of how they’ll impact the overall user experience. In addition, you’ll want to implement star ratings in a way that makes the most sense for your website’s parameters.
Select an eCommerce Review Integration
Rather than building star ratings functionality from scratch, consider putting an app or plugin to work in collecting reviews and ratings for your website.
RatingWidget provides WooCommerce users with an easy-to-use plugin that installs in minutes. The tool also allows for complete customization based on your website’s design, has zero effect on load time, and is optimized for mobile.
Create a User-Friendly Experience
The customer attention spans you’re working with as an eCommerce shop are often short and sweet. Because of this, you want to make sure you’re providing shoppers with a way to both easily navigate through star ratings and reviews left behind, as well as to easily leave their own.
In terms of the structure associated with your star ratings, you can either allow shoppers to provide overall feedback on each individual product, or create categories for each (i.e. installation, price, delivery, etc.) that help provide onlookers with more information at first glance. You want to provide as few barriers to entry as possible so that shoppers are left with little hassle and more motivation to weigh in for the sake of their peers.
Star Ratings: Moderate and Manage
While it can be easy to set and forget, when it comes to star ratings and reviews on your eCommerce shop, it’s important to keep an eye on things over time.
You’ll likely want to put a moderation plan in place or at the very least, set reminders for regular check-ins across your entire website’s products. Doing so will allow you to stay on top of opportunities to further connect and drive brand affinity.
Say, for example, that someone leaves a 5-star rating and raving review about a product in your shop. Responding back personally through an email or follow-up comment is a small but powerful touch that shows you’re invested in the customer relationship.
On the other end of the spectrum, negative reviews provide you with the opportunity to embrace feedback and stop issues from ever becoming issues in the first place.
How to Encourage Customers to Leave Ratings & Reviews
Give Ratings a Prominent Display
One of the easiest ways to encourage customers to leave ratings and reviews on your eCommerce shop is to simply make it clear that they can.
This means making the option to do so clear, prominently displayed on your website and each product. Remember that it’s not about making customers jump through hoops but rather readily providing them with the tools they need to create a meaningful experience with your brand.
Email is a great way to request further follow-up from customers. Consider timeliness based on when customers will most likely be willing and able to leave a review.
For example, sending an email asking for reviews right after a purchase has been made and they’ve yet to receive the product probably doesn’t make too much sense. Be mindful of typical delivery wait times and give consumers a chance to familiarize themselves with their purchase so as to provide you with the best and most thorough feedback possible.
Provide an Incentive
Whether in the form of a coupon code or contest prize winnings, incentives are a powerful tool when requesting almost any type of action on behalf of your customers.
This is no different when it comes to ratings and reviews. Whatever you have to provide from a benefit perspective is really a small price to pay when considering the lifetime value a collection of positive reviews will have in conjunction with your business.
Ready to put star ratings to work for your eCommerce shop? Get your free ratings widget and find out firsthand how RatingWidget can take your business to the next level.