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What are the best review platforms for eCommerce businesses?

Most consumers today start their shopping process with research and recommendations from friends and family, and the online shopping experience is much the same. Only this time, the personal recommendations are replaced by something just as powerful – online reviews.

These work to establish social proof for your business, showing consumers there’s a precedent for buying your product. If a product doesn’t have any reviews on your site, but has a thousand on a competitors’ page, it’s likely customers will feel safer shopping with them because clearly, that’s what everyone else is doing.

In fact, more than 88% of consumers use reviews in their purchasing journey.

That’s not to say you need thousands of reviews to establish trust within consumers. On the contrary – research shows that just five reviews are enough to make consumers 270% more likely to buy a product as opposed to one with no reviews. The numbers are even greater for higher-priced products.

But how can you make sure you’re getting the best reviews for your business? By starting with implementing the right review platform on your site. In this blog, we’ll map out what makes a great review and how to choose the right platform for you.

Are reviews important?

We’ve touched on this briefly already, but it’s worth digging deeper into why reviews are crucial for brands beyond just establishing social proof.

Recent research shows that up to 72% of customers won’t make a purchasing decision until they’ve read reviews. Don’t include reviews on your site, and you’re essentially directing a huge portion of people toward competitors that do.

Reviews have the power to paint the picture of what it’s actually like for someone to own and use your product. They also help to build up your business’s reputation, and show customers they can trust you. It doesn’t matter if consumers don’t know the reviewer first-hand – reviews are essentially still a personal recommendation.

And reviews aren’t just helpful for customers, but for you and your business, too. They allow customers to feed back their opinions on your product, fulfilment and customer service, and give you the chance to make amendments.

Yes, reviews can be a gamble. There’s a good chance your business will get, at the very least, the odd bad review. But bad reviews also present the opportunity to show potential customers how you respond to negative feedback and make things right.

Reviews can also have positive SEO implications for businesses. Google reads reviews as content, so the more reviews, the more new and relevant content on your site, which then can lead to better rankings.

Plus, reviews can help to create rich snippets which, when listed on Google, have a higher click-through rate than regular snippets. Rich snippets include much more information than the average snippet, as well as eye-catching star ratings.

Let’s compare:

Basic snippet

Rich snippet

Which one are you more likely to click on? The rich snippet wins every time.

What makes a great review platform?

We’ve outlined that reviews are important, but not all reviews are created equal. So, what makes one review better than another?

Obviously, each individual review comes down to the reviewer, but the more detailed you allow your review to be, the better. Are you a clothing brand? You’ll likely want your reviewers to post images of them wearing (and loving) your clothing. Selling pet toys? There are few people that wouldn’t be swayed by a video of a puppy rolling around on your eco-friendly dog beds.

You’ll want to consider carefully what it is that would best benefit your brand, keeping in mind the following:

User generated content (UGC)

UGC like images or videos are critical to creating strong reviews. They allow potential customers to see exactly what they’re going to get when they buy a specific product from you, and even check it out in action. It takes out a huge chunk of the risk of buying online.

Business responses

Consumers are looking not just at your business’s reviews but how you respond. Around 70% of customers say a business’s response to a review affects how they view that business, so having the ability to respond to negative reviews in particular is key here.

Google integration

As the most-used search engine—Google continues to dominate with more than 87% of the search engine market share—Google is one of the most powerful tools in getting customers on your site. When your site is integrated with a licensed Google Review Partner, you can qualify for Seller Ratings. From there, the reviews can be pulled through for paid advertising and display on search pages as rich snippets.

Top review platforms for eCommerce businesses

The internet isn’t lacking in review platforms, so you’ll have a huge range from which to choose. Your decision should be based solely on which works best for your business.

Here are a few of today’s market leaders. Please note that our ratings are completely independent and based on experience with using these platforms.

Reviews.io

Pricing starts from: £29 per month

Reviews.io might not be the best known, but it’s definitely one of our favourites. They offer all the basics—text reviews, image and video uploads and star ratings—plus quite a few cool tools, like the ability to easily convert reviews into social marketing like banner or Instagram ads.

They also offer the ability to view a list of Instagram users that have recently purchased your product. From there, you can take note of the biggest influencers and reach out to offer them the opportunity to collaborate and get your product seen by their audience.

Noteworthy features:

  • Google Review Partner
  • Customers can leave images and videos on reviews
  • Integration with popular eCommerce platforms
  • SMS reviews
  • Real-time competitor review metrics
  • Company, product and local reviews
  • No contract required
  • Contract buyout scheme

Our review: Reviews.io is largely our go-to review platform – we’ve used them on a number of client projects and have always been happy with the functionality and integrations, and support is first class. The contract-free option and comparatively low price for the amount of features you get in return also make it a cost-effective choice. They’ll also buy out your contract if you’re unhappy with your current provider.

Yotpo

Pricing starts from: Free. Growth plan: $19 for 500 orders.

Yotpo positions itself more as a customer loyalty platform, and is definitely feature-rich. It offers businesses the ability to use AI to collect reviews via sources like automated in-mail requests, as well as create Q&A content. Plus, you can optimise the AI to suggest high-converting topics that encourage better reviews from your customers.

The platform also allows businesses to create on-site galleries filled with UGC gathered via Instagram with shoppable images and videos. Their partnership with Facebook means it’s easy to convert UGC into dynamic social ads, as well as automatically share customer reviews to your Facebook page.

Noteworthy features:

  • Google Review Partner
  • Customised loyalty plans
  • Partnered with Facebook and Walmart
  • Integrated with popular platforms
  • Customers can post videos or images in reviews
  • Automated SMS review request flows
  • Customisable image and video galleries
  • Single platform for analytics, customisation and content moderation
  • Free basic plan

Our review: Yotpo was one of the first review platforms to be integrated with Google, and we’ve had good experiences with their Shopify integrations in particular. Onboarding and customer support is also very strong. However, while their low tier pricing is reasonable, for business selling larger amounts of products, costs can soon escalate.

Okendo

Pricing starts from: $29 per month

Okendo is built exclusively for Shopify stores. Its partnership with SMS and email marketing platform Klaviyo means it allows brands to seamlessly integrate the two and easily send automated customer review requests.

Their Attributes feature allows brands to gather customer data surrounding demographics, lifestyle and behaviour, and then harness that data to increase conversions and webpage optimisation. Attributes can also be used in a product capacity, encouraging customers to highlight specific aspects of a product that can then be emphasised in product descriptions.

Noteworthy features:

  • Shopify Plus Technology Partner
  • Google Review Partner
  • Klaviyo integration
  • Customisable review displays
  • Automated email and SMS request flow
  • Customers can add videos or images to reviews
  • No contract

Our review: Okendo has a reputation for quick and painless integration with other apps and your website, and for having great customer service. This comes at a bit of a compromise regarding customisation though – some email templates are a bit limited, as is the styling of the reviews themselves.

While their basic plan is cheap enough, a number of useful features are only included in the $99 per month package.

Stamped

Pricing starts from: Free

Stamped is unique in that it divides its offerings into two packages: Reviews & Ratings, and Loyalty & Rewards. The former is offered in a limited capacity for free, but the latter is paid – you can upgrade both as needed, or buy the Full Suite. The upside to this is that you can cherry pick which service would best benefit your brand initially, and move into integrating both packages as you progress.

Highlighted here is the site’s AI tool called StampedIQ, which performs automated features like evaluating customer data gained through sentiment and topic analysis, or prompting customers to review products in a better and more helpful way through machine-learned algorithms.

Noteworthy features:

  • Klaviyo integration
  • Free Reviews & Ratings option
  • Convert reviews into social banners
  • Allows customers to leave images and videos
  • Monitors business’s overall perception with a Net Promoter Score
  • A/B testing in automated emails
  • Shoppable Instagram galleries for Shopify stores
  • Integrates with all major online shops and apps

Our review: Stamped’s free plan doesn’t offer photo uploads in reviews, so this essentially counts it out. StampedIQ sounds good on paper, but in practice the insights that it produces have not been that useful. This, of course, is anecdotal – your experience may be different.

We like that you can choose between focussing on reviews or loyalty/rewards programmes which, separately, are reasonably priced. But opt for the full suite, and you’re looking at spending significantly more. As with many of these tools, Stamped’s customer service team is very responsive, but don’t expect mountains moved unless you’re paying for the pricier plans.

Trustpilot

Pricing starts from: Free

We couldn’t get away with not including Trustpilot on this list. More than 123 million people have left reviews through Trustpilot, and independent research shows that 87% of US and UK consumers found reviews including a Trustpilot logo and star rating to be more trustworthy than those without.

Trustpilot is free to use, but only on the most basic plan. With it, you can create a company page, set-up automated review initiation for up to 100 customers, feature two Trustbox widgets with your company’s overall rating and a stream of real-time reviews on your site, plus access basic reporting. Upgrade to a paid subscription, and these features expand.

Noteworthy features:

  • One of the world’s most popular websites
  • Google Review Partner
  • Service, product and location reviews
  • Recognisable Trustbox widget easily integrated to site, social and TV ads
  • AI monitoring of customer reviews that highlights emerging trends
  • Free plan available
  • Integrates with all major online shops and apps

Our review: Trustpilot is a complicated one. There’s no denying it has the best brand recognition, but you’re going to pay a premium for it. The jump between the free plan and premium plan is huge (nearly £200), and with the premium plan you’re tied into a pre-paid 12-month contract.

Businesses can also tack “add-on” features to their plans, but each add-on is POA so that, according to Trustpilot, they can tailor them to “the specific needs of each customer. To give you an idea, enabling API access is usually an additional £149 per month, which gives you an idea how costs can quickly escalate.

Each review platform comes with its own price point and set of features, so choose carefully based on which would be most beneficial for your brand. If you need an extra opinion when making the choice for your business or have any questions, get in touch – we’re happy to help.

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