Why ratings and reviews are important for your ecommerce store, and how to get more of them…

We bet, before you purchase something online, you jump to the reviews section to have a quick read of other people’s experiences. And then what you come across there, will likely influence what you end up doing. Right?

It comes down to the principle of social proof – that people will more likely do what you want them to do when they see other people doing it. It goes back to our primal survival instinct of fitting in and that’s not going to change anytime soon!

Consulting reviews first is even more important when the product/service is a big-ticket item, or it’s an item you’ve never purchased before or from a store you’ve never used before. And so, what reviews are doing is helping to reduce a customer’s level of uncertainty (reducing friction), through social proof, and by building trust.

Clearly then, gaining ratings and reviews is crucial for the success of your ecommerce store. But that’s easier said than done. How then, do you go about getting some? Here are some things we’d recommend you focus on first…

Make it easy

The biggest and most obvious reason? Reduce any friction for the customer when leaving a rating or review. In other words, MAKE IT AS EASY AS POSSIBLE. Remember there are two key levers you always want to be pulling with your ecommerce store – one that maximises perceived reward and another that reduces perceived pain. This one is clearly the latter.

It needs to be just one simple form to fill in – one that doesn’t require the customer to go through multiple steps. And a form that is optimised for different devices (e.g mobile) and operating systems. We talked about the importance of optimising your store’s online forms in a previous post. But if you haven’t read it, bookmark it, and stay with us here for now…

Automate it

You’ll know by now, automating as many processes as you can within your ecommerce store is crucial for success. This is truly what separates online stores from ecommerce businesses – with the latter taking full advantage of the opportunities offered in the digital world, again something else we talked about in a previous post, here. (Blimey, we’re trying our best to make you click away from this post, but again, stay with us).

And so, you need to set up a simple automated post-purchase email campaign. Simply, an email is automatically sent 2-3 days after someone has received their product. This email not only thanks them for their recent purchase but, yep you guessed it, requests a rating or review.

Now, within this email you want to get your messaging right…


Be explicit about why ratings and reviews are so important. Make it personal if you can by getting it across how reviews help you build your business and live out your dream – even better is if your brand is making a positive change in the world and you can say how reviews will speed this up creating even more value and positive change in the world. By doing this not only are you showing just how important ratings are, but it will help customers feel like they are doing a good deed. And remember, when people are asked for their help, more often than not, they’ll give it to you. You don’t ask, you don’t get.

There’s one other thing you could include in the automated email to help further nudge them to carry out the desired behaviour…

Offer incentives

A simple 10/15% of their next order will do the job. Seeing this, combined with the messaging that explains the importance of giving a review, and stating how easy the review process is, is a powerful messaging mix.

Furthermore, these are people that should be happy with their purchase – so as long as your actual product/service and customer experience are both excellent, which of course they will be, these are customers that should both happily recommend you and purchase from you again – the two things you are making it even easier for them to do in your email to them!

Display reviews prominently

We opened up this article by stating why ratings and reviews are so important, explaining the role they play in the purchase journey. Therefore, you want to make sure people don’t miss them and are easy to find.

Not only does this provide all-important social proof, but within reviews, customers would have likely left answers to potential customers’ questions. This then is another important, less obvious role that reviews play.

Think about your own behaviour again. We bet, you probably had a few questions or reservations about a product that you were hoping the reviews helped with? And they probably did, right? If you’re thinking about something, chances are someone else would have had the same thought and is likely to have addressed it in their review to help others. Finding that answer in a review, could be the thing that pushes someone to purchase.

Engage with reviews

As well as making reviews prominent, you also need to engage with them. Write a personal response to them, and share them on your other channels – social media etc. This will show that you really value customers’ opinions and help. Doing this will also encourage more people to leave reviews because they can see it is a behaviour that is valued and appreciated.

There you have it, there are five simple things you can easily do to increase your chances of getting all important reviews. We’ll be back soon with even more on the topic of ratings and reviews.

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