The better way to sell online

The power of testimonials and how to gather them

We all reference testimonials when we’re the ones buying online, so why do so few of us show reviews of our own products? Testimonials are powerful tools, proven to increase conversion, trust and engagement with your site.

If you’re looking to increase your number of sales, testimonials are a sure fire way to start: and they’re easy to implement too.

Why testimonials work

The most effective testimonials are those that come to us via word of mouth from the ones we know; our best friends suggesting products and solutions that they’ve tried. We also tend to listen to high profile people that we trust and look up to, such as athletes and celebrities. These testimonials are a form of social proof; we trust other people and are more likely to do or buy something if we believe it’s been done before and the response was positive.

Online website reviews can provide you with a way to leverage that social proof to encourage buying behaviour, using your existing customers to encourage future buyers.

The research backs this; Brightlocal found that 88% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations, Reevoo found that 50 or more reviews per product can increase conversion by 4.6%, and Econsultancy uncovered that sites that actively showcase their testimonials can have increases of up to 18% in sales.

Building reviews into your ecommerce websites isn’t just a nice extra: it’s essential if you want your business to thrive.

Three easy ways to gather testimonials

Gathering testimonials doesn’t need to be expensive or difficult; but it does require being proactive and asking your customers to give them to you. Thankfully, up to 68% of customers will leave reviews when they’re promoted to, and here are three ways you can do just that:

1. Automated emails

A number of different email subscription services allow you to send email chains; emails prompted by different behaviours. For example, when your customers purchase a product you might automatically send them a receipt via an email service, or a thank you for supporting your business.

In the same way, you could send a link to a survey or to a product page and ask for a review 5-7 days after delivery. This way, customers will have had a chance to look at and experience the product. You can even increase the odds of them engaging by offering them small discount codes in exchange for reviews, thanking them on your social media, or entering them into the running to win a prize

2. Place call to actions on your receipts or in your packaging

If adding an extra step in your email automation chains isn’t your cup of tea, consider adding notes to the packaging you send your products in or adding them to your receipts. These reminders might prompt customers to log back on and leave you a review; and if you can personalize the notes, even better.

3. Send out satisfaction surveys

Sending out generic satisfaction surveys can be an effective way to get all your customers engaged; consider sending one out to your email list using a tool such as SurveyMonkey, and ask broad open questions to allow your customers to best express themselves. You can then take their responses and highlight them on your website, increasing trust and social proof for your visitors.

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Let us know in the comments; do you use reviews to make your decisions when you’re shopping? And why have you left them in the past?

- Lena Klein

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