We all know that reviews are extremely important to online companies as they allow potential new customers to feel confident in buying from you. A recent survey by Dimensional Research found that "90% of consumers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews"
Over the past 12 years at BasketsGalore, we have received hundreds of lovely testimonials by email. These were completely unprompted and simply sent in by happy customers and recipients. We posted these testimonials on our website and they became one of the most frequently hit pages.
As the years passed we realised that although our testimonials were great for once a customer had reached our site, what about those who are searching for a gift supplier & haven't reached your site yet? Also the Google Stars shopping ranking was becoming increasingly important and these could be collected using certain external review sites. External sites also meant that you couldn't be accused of "fixing" the reviews or posting your own!
"Seller rating extensions make it easier for potential customers to identify highly rated merchants when they're searching on Google by attaching your star rating from Google Product Search to your AdWords ads. These star ratings, gathered from review sites all around the web, allow people to find merchants that are highly recommended by online shoppers like them."
We already had a few reviews on Review Centre and it was listed as a Google partner so we decided to concentrate on growing our reviews on this. When a customer would email us with a testimonial we would email back to thank them and would also ask them to please post it on the external site. As a thank you we offered a discount code off their next order. We made it to the 30 required reviews and our Google Stars became active.
We worked on growing the reviews for many months until suddenly we noticed our Google Stars had vanished! After a bit of investigating it became apparent that these were no longer gained through our chosen review site anymore due to changes in the licence agreement and so they would no longer display. We were disappointed to have lost our stars but that didn't mean the reviews were no longer of any use. We were up to almost 200 and there were some really fantastic ones that were sure to build consumer confidence.
However, we set about finding a new review site to back up our Review Centre one as we wanted to gain our stars back. We checked the list of Google Search Partners and picked a few to start researching.
We decided to go with Reviews.co.uk as it integrated with our ecommerce platform and you also got a free 14 day trial.
This new method means that rather than us emailing customers individually, the system will automatically email our on our behalf asking them to submit a review. This method has proved to be very effective as we quickly reached, and passed, the required 30 reviews again. Now we just await our Google Star ratings once the site has been spidered.
We intend to move forward by utilising both review sites though as each have different benefits and you can never have enough reviews after all!
Have you any experiences with reviews sites, either as a business or a consumer? Which would you recommend most?