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The Digital Business Kit for Retailers

Learning Outcomes

Retailers will identify the online Customer Support strategies that can best suit their business. [printfriendly]

mod-arrow Review Sites

rvwReview sites are websites/apps where customers can provide feedback on their experience with your products and your brand. These review sites may be on your own website and controlled by your brand; or they may be powered by a 3rd party system, which may or may not grant your ability to edit comments (however, they should allow you to comment on reviews).

Review sites are sometimes viewed with concern by business owners, but they typically offer great value to customers. If you are a retailer concerned about the impact of reviews on your brand and product sales there is overwhelming evidence that reviews have a positive effect on company bottom line and buying behavior.


There are numerous review sites that are specialised for specific industries that may not be mentioned in the general articles. It would be impossible to list them all, but an example for travel, tourism and accommodation is Trip Advisor. It is recommended you search for “__ your industry__ + review + site” and see if there are specialised retail review sites you can join or should monitor.

Why use review sites?

thmIf you have bought anything online you are probably like the majority of people who check reviews by other shoppers before buying. The use of reviews and review sites is proven to increase customer buying confidence and sales ~ 60% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews. (Source: eConsultancy.com)

There are many products and industries for which online reviews, and feedback will help sales. Done correctly reviews take little time and create content and marketing material more valuable than what you can write as a business owner.

Why are reviews valuable?

  1. Allows your customers to have a voice and create consumer loyalty.
  2. Increase your sales.
  3. Understand your customers more.
  4. Helps you improve your customer service if need be.
  5. Celebrate a staff member who gives excellent customer service.
  6. On the other hand – it gives you the opportunity to respond and fix a problem if you have unhappy customers.
  7. Seeing reviews encourages other customers to write a review.
  8. Helps your SEO due to the fact that many of your keywords may be included in the review.


Is your company mentioned on any of the online review sites? Do you have a Customer Support plan in place that includes the new elements of CRM’s, online reviews, social media in addition to new website tools, live chat and more? You don’t need to have it all but there are some great tools available and considerations to understand, for your company’s success in this new online.

Reality for your business

Any review method will help your business. There may be other elements of Customer Support that require more investment from your company, but you can keep it simple and still benefit from having customer reviews.

Post text testimonials, pictures, video’s from real clients beside your products and on your pages.

How will a review program operate for my business?

Review programs can be integrated into your website and controlled by you – which means you will have to load a review program to your website to allow people to add reviews and read reviews from others. Alternatively you can use systems that are administrated by a 3rd party provider specifically for customer reviews.
Internal review programs:
Your company can host testimonials beside each product or category on the website. Software or plugins can be added to your website to capture reviews allowing you to capture, moderate and display customer reviews. Internal review systems differ from 3rd party as they allow for moderation and only display your products. They are not as highly valued by shoppers as there is a level of suspicion that business owners only put up positive reviews. See a couple examples in the resource section.

3rd party review sites:

If you have signed up for “Google places,” customers may review your product in this application. Similarly your products may be reviewed on other 3rd party sites like Yelp.

There is a review list of common 3rd party websites in the resource page here.

3rd party review site examples

Yelp – Click search yelp.com.au looking for a Hardware shop in Melbourne (note: this link is for search parameters, so results will vary over time based on reviews, activity, etc.)
TripAdvisor – Review www.tripadvisor.com.au site to view what travelers are saying about Sydney.

You will see in lower right screen that when you use TripAdvisor you may have friends who had stayed at and recommended businesses in this search. There are also reviews of all of the listed properties. It may be at first glance unsettling to have your business reviewed this way, but for the person doing the search they will gravitate towards businesses listed and, more so, towards businesses with ratings. From the perspective of a shopper, consider how your brand will appear if you are not participating?

Example of reviews on a website

Industry: Online clothing sales www.sierratradingpost.com

Note: This review and online sales program is fairly complex and intended to illustrate, for planning purposes, the variety of features a review program can have. In reviewing this example note the features that may be useful for your business and products.

Elements worth considering in this example :

  • Integrated: Shoppers can see reviews during the sales process when they click for “more” on the product.
  • Media: Offers different views of products.
  • Review summary: At a glance “stars,” show the average feedback ratings on products and the number of reviewers for context.
  • Click to view reviews: Shoppers can view the review history, which is also broken down into high level themes relevant to the product.
  • Fitting comments: These are very valuable to offer confidence to clothing buyers. Your product may have similar attributes that may inhibit shoppers from buying online, such as performance, fit, etc. Customer reviews provide confidence to new shoppers.

How do you get reviews? Sierra Trading Post follows up with customers by email to prompt buyers for a review and offers a 5% coupon code as a thank you.