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How retailers can leverage reviews to build an online presence

(Source: Bigstock.)

With the disruption to retail over the last two years, consumers have a higher expectation of their online shopping experience. While retailers have stepped up their digital game, it is those offering social proof, such as consumer reviews, to build consumer trust and credibility that are primed for the holiday season and for next year.

Recent figures show that at least 70 per cent of Australian and New Zealand shoppers read reviews prior to making a purchase, and 79 per cent trust reviews as much as a personal recommendation. 

With 2022 fast approaching, here are four tips for creating an online presence with reviews: 

  1. Build a trusted brand

As consumers want to buy with the ‘wisdom of the crowd’, it is important to showcase that your brand is trusted and credible along all touchpoints of the customer journey. By collecting reviews, it allows your customers to share what they love about your product, service or experience. From there, you can use widgets along all marketing touchpoints to instil confidence at the moment of truth to make the buying decision easy. Retailers can also share authentic third-party reviews and ratings on the home page, product pages, or cart to reduce abandonment. 

Collecting reviews is only one party to building a trusted brand. Retailers also need to respond to both positive and negative reviews. We know that not everything goes to plan 100 per cent of the time and in fact, 72 per cent of shoppers prefer to see a realistic mix of reviews anyway. 

  1. Stand out online with improved organic rankings 

Collecting reviews on a third-party platform will help you build off-page SEO and a stronger digital presence. Plus, user-generated content (UGC), like reviews, is SEO gold. UGC increases your credibility in search results and websites with UGC can see a 20-per-cent increase in return visitors. 

Also, consider the importance of review snippets (gold stars that appear in search and Google Shopping lists) by earning star ratings on organic search listings, appealing to shoppers who might be less inclined to click on an ad. The gold stars on listings can help retailers attract more attention and improve click-through rates by 20 to 30 per cent in organic search. 

  1. Improve paid digital campaigns to drive traffic
    If your goal is to increase traffic and conversions from your paid digital campaigns, consider investing in Google Seller Ratings to help improve your Google Ad performance. By  adding social proof to paid search listings, retailers can stand out from competitors and boost click-through rates. In fact, Google Seller Ratings can increase click-through rates by up to 10 per cent. 
  1. Learn what your customers want, so you can deliver it 

Reviews offer a goldmine of consumer insights and act as a window into your customers, allowing you to discover what they want – and deliver it – so you can build loyalty and attract new customers. With these insights, you will be able to deliver on your customers’ expectations, as well as go one step further and deliver on future trends.

With the pace of digital change for retailers and the rise of consumer reviews, Inside Retail and Trustpilot created a report “What Did Other Shoppers Say”, which aims to help retailers understand the importance of reviews and their increasing relevance in e-commerce. You can download the report here.