How to Make the Most of Customer Testimonials in E-Commerce
Whether it’s deciding where to eat out on the weekend or choosing the right mascara, buyers always turn to other buyers for help.
It’s the safest way to ensure they’re making the right decision.
In fact, a whopping 88% of online shoppers turn to reviews, aka customer testimonials, before considering a purchase.
But authentic customer testimonials can do so much more than help sell your products.
They can build long-term trust and credibility around your brand, which is why they’re such a powerful tool for growing your e-commerce business.
In this article, we’ll discuss why customer testimonials are so important for e-commerce and how you can leverage them to build trust, drive traffic and conversions, and ultimately take your online store to the next level.
Why Customer Testimonials Matter
Fun fact: 72% of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a business more.
People are bombarded with thousands of brands and advertisements on a daily basis. Safe to say, their patience for scams and sleazy marketing tactics is at a record low.
With social media and independent review websites like Yelp at their fingertips, it’s easier than ever for customers to spread the word about your business.
For e-commerce businesses, it’s even more challenging to earn customers’ trust.
Operating online means having no face-to-face interaction with your customers, increasing the importance of online reviews by leaps.
But here’s the tricky part.
How do you make sure your positive reviews are actually being seen by potential customers?
Sure, they can find them on their own if they look hard enough.
But as a marketer, you can maximize the impact of positive testimonials by encouraging reviews, showcasing them at optimal touchpoints, and using different strategies to effectively communicate them to potential customers.
II. Where to Showcase Customer Testimonials
Before we jump into the strategies for leveraging customer testimonials, let’s discuss the different touchpoints where you can showcase online reviews to get maximum results.
Many brands prefer social media when it comes to showcasing reviews and testimonials.
The reason is simple — it’s where customers are spending most of their time.
Also, social platforms offer a natural, organic feel that helps build trust with potential customers. It’s a place where customers can interact with your brand and with each other to discuss their experiences.
This makes it a great place to share posts that can go viral or spark conversation, such as screenshots of real customer chats:
Plus, there are so many different ways you can showcase customer testimonials on social media; text posts, video posts, images, Stories, and more.
You can also encourage happy customers to leave reviews under the “Reviews” tab on your Facebook page. That’s where a lot of people will head towards to check out your brand.
For e-commerce stores, a website is like a virtual storefront.
Not only does it need to look good, but it should also give enough information to shoppers and make it easier for them to make a purchase.
But did you know that your website is also one of the best places to showcase customer reviews?
When a potential customer visits your website, your homepage is responsible for your brand’s first impression. Make sure it’s a good one by placing positive reviews and testimonials by existing customers on there.
Here’s a good example from Casper:
This will help wary visitors instantly build a connection with your brand and feel more secure browsing through the rest of your online store and making a purchase.
Other great places to showcase reviews on your website are:
- Landing pages
- Sales pages
- Underneath blog posts
Make sure you keep track of the pages getting the most attention and traffic. That way, you’ll find out where you need to place reviews and testimonials to get maximum results.
Digital marketing is highly rewarding but equally competitive. To stand out, you need to pay to play.
A great way to make your ads more effective is to incorporate customer testimonials into them, instead of just using “salesy” copy.
You can showcase testimonials in video ads, display ads, and even paid search ads.
As an e-commerce company, you probably send plenty of emails to your customers; transactional and marketing-related.
But in case you haven’t thought about this before, emails are a great place to showcase positive reviews and testimonials about your brand.
In fact, you can even send an entire email about a special testimonial or case study that shows subscribers how your product or service made a difference in someone’s life.
The key is to understand where in the funnel your subscriber is and use testimonials to take them from one stage to the next.
This is also why you should always segment your email list and send out tailored, more personalized emails.
For example, sending emails showcasing reviews is more effective for subscribers who still haven’t bought anything from you as they aim to build trust and convert.
To subscribers who have already made a purchase, you can send out an email asking about their experience and if they’d like to share a review. But more on that later.
Don’t miss out on any opportunity to showcase positive reviews.
If you’re shipping physical products to your customers’ doorsteps, make sure you design beautiful packaging and incorporate customer reviews on there to build trust and improve conversion rates.
You know what this does? It’s basic psychology, really.
Before they even use your product, they’ll probably read the box.
Reading glowing testimonials prior to experiencing the product can form good perceptions in the minds of new customers, which automatically increases their chance of having a positive experience themselves.
III. How to Leverage Customer Testimonials for E-Commerce
If placed somewhere your customers will likely view them, customer testimonials can make or break your business.
But how do you make sure you leverage this asset to its full potential?
Regardless of where you showcase reviews and testimonials, there are some specific strategies that will help you maximize the results. These include using innovative formats, utilizing different tools to their full potential, and more.
The key is to understand your customers and how they interact with your brand.
And let’s not forget — every platform caters to a different kind of audience and the content you post should be optimized to perform its best on that specific medium.
Here are several ways to use customer testimonials for your e-commerce business:
Video is one of the most high-performing content types out there.
According to a report, shoppers who view video are 174% more likely to make a purchase than customers who don’t.
This is exactly why video testimonials are so effective. They’re highly engaging and feel much more authentic and personal than your average text-based review.
Check out how Codecademy publishes video testimonials of how it changed the lives of its users:
When potential customers watch existing customers demonstrate or speak about their experiences with a certain brand, product, or service, they’re automatically able to put a face to the source and connect with them better.
If all goes well, this can translate into tons of credibility for your brand.
You can share video testimonials on social media, or embed them on your website or home page for a great first impression. You can even run short video testimonial ads on YouTube and other review sites. And there are lots of other effective video marketing strategies to choose from.
If you’re wondering how to showcase testimonials on your website, here is a great tried-and-tested strategy: create a dedicated testimonials page.
Honestly, lots of brands do that and customers love to check these pages out.
Because it saves them the time and effort to actually go and search for reviews.
Simply navigating to a single webpage and reading through multiple testimonials at once can help them make a quick decision.
But here’s the catch. Make sure your testimonials page looks genuine and not scripted.
Here’s a creative example of a testimonial page by Lotus Belle:
Notice how they’ve used images, text, and even screenshots of tweets to showcase testimonials in a scrapbook-like format.
In fact, this testimonial page does two things:
- Categorizes the reviews to make it easier for customers to understand them
- Gives an authentic, unscripted feel by combining various sources and formats
Another way to create a testimonial page is to have a ratings and reviews feed, where customers can share their own experiences or read others’ opinions.
The point is, be creative and look for ways to make your testimonial page look authentic while ensuring that it gets the job done.
Publishing case studies is a great way to introduce potential customers to your business and prove your value.
A case study provides readers with descriptive highlights of the customer situation, the problem, and the solution presented by the brand.
Any tangible results that show how successful your solution was is always a plus.
Since these are typically more in-depth than your average testimonial, they’re better suited for technology or service-oriented businesses.
Design tool Visme regularly publishes case studies on their blog that highlight how their customers are using the platform for various purposes:
You can also publish case studies in PDF, video, or even interactive formats.
Check out this PDF case study by Altorfer:
To create a great case study, hop on a call with one of your customers and ask them if they’d like to share their story. Make sure you reach out to a customer who has already expressed positive feedback.
Here are some questions you can ask:
- How did you know to come to know about our brand?
- What problem were you facing before you found our brand?
- How did our brand solve your problem?
- What positive results did you experience as a result of using our brand?
Influencer marketing is more powerful than ever.
In fact, it’s expected to become a $10 billion industry by 2020. If you can get influencers, or ‘social media celebrities’, to use and promote your products, you’ll automatically benefit from the influence they have on their followers.
Think about it. A popular person using your brand is like a testimonial of how good it is for the real people in their circle who trust them and aspire to be like them.
But simply getting influencers to promote your brand like celebrity endorsements doesn’t do much anymore. Customers are too smart to fall for that.
Take it a step further by finding ways to integrate your product with your influencers’ niche, values, and lifestyle.
Back in 2017, Morphe Cosmetics co-created a palette with Jaclyn Hill, a YouTube makeup artist:
Tons of other makeup brands have also collaborated with influencers to co-create products that give them ownership of the brand.
This is a great strategy to gain customer trust and use authentic testimonials to your own benefit.
User-Generated Content (UGC)
User-generated content (UGC) can take any form; a picture, an unboxing video, a tweet or even a blog post.
It’s pretty much any content created voluntarily by customers about your brand.
Brands can leverage UGC to their own benefit by showcasing it on their own profiles, pages, and website.
They get to use content created by someone else and users get more exposure by getting featured — win-win.
Here’s a great example of Glossier’s customers creating content for the brand:
Brands can feature these user-generated reviews on their official pages to show potential customers how others are using and loving their products and services.
One way to make UGC work is by coming up with branded hashtags and encouraging audiences to take a picture of themselves with the product.
Fashion retailer ASOS did this with the famous #AsSeenOnMe campaign that got viral and the best photos were featured on their profile:
Here at X-Cart, there are a number of great tools to help you get customer quotes and testimonials for your eCommerce store. Some of them are already built in eCommerce software, others can be easily bought (or just switched on if the addon is free) on X-Cart App Marketplace:
- Video and Content Testimonial – $29,99
- Google Customer Reviews Integration – $55
- Product reviews – Free
- Shopper Approved Reviews – Free
- Customer Satisfaction – $99
- Advanced Customer Reviews – $99
IV. Tips for Getting More Customer Testimonials
We’ve talked a lot about the benefits of customer testimonials and how to make the most of them for your business.
But how do you get satisfied customers to actually make the effort and leave great testimonials for your brand?
Here are a couple of tips to help you get more customer testimonials:
Seriously, don’t hesitate to ask for reviews.
If your customers are genuinely happy with your product, chances are they won’t mind sparing a few seconds to share their positive experience with others.
There are plenty of ways to ask for reviews.
A tried-and-tested strategy is to send out automated emails to customers who recently made a purchase and ask them about their experience.
You can make the task easier for them by enabling them to leave a review right inside the email or just letting rate you on a Likert scale or with ‘stars’.
You can also reach out on social media or SMS, depending on which channel is more popular with your customers.
Pro-tip: Ask for a short video or photos, too. This gives you more effective content to work with.
Your customer’s time is valuable.
You have to give them a solid reason to write you a review.
We at X-Cart love getting reviews! They help us define what our clients like and dislike, which drives us to grow.
If you have anything to say about your experience with us, now’s the perfect time. We are offering a $10 VISA International Gift Card to the first 100 clients who rate us on Capterra.Review NOW!
Small incentives like discount codes, entrance into a contest, free delivery on the next order, or even just a coffee on the house can motivate customers to take some time out of their busy schedules.
Respond to Testimonials
Forty-five percent of customers say that they’re more likely to visit a brand that responds to negative reviews.
This shows your customers will appreciate it if your business takes out the time to respond to their good or bad experiences.
Plus, customers who don’t usually leave reviews will be motivated to do so when they see that their voices won’t go unheard.
Thank customers who leave a positive review and apologize to those who aren’t so happy with your products or services.
Better yet, offer unsatisfied customers a solution or apology gift to make it up to them.
Make amends and learn from your experiences — that’s what growth is all about.
For e-commerce businesses, customer testimonials can be highly persuasive when used in the right manner and right context.
They are a powerful form of social proof and an immensely powerful trust signal.
But no single approach or formula is right for every business.
This guide will help you get started but don’t forget to be creative and put yourself in your customers’ shoes to find the perfect strategy for your brand.
Got any questions or feedback? Feel free to share them in the comments section below.
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Emil Kristensen is the CMO and co-founder of Sleeknote, a company that helps e-commerce brands engage their site visitors—without hurting the user experience.