Customer reviews can boost conversions. Reviews are also a crucial part of an ecommerce site’s social proof. Otherwise, shoppers have only sales copy to guide them.
But product reviews are not always easy to obtain, especially for new sites or sites inexperienced with user-generated content. There are options to fill the void on primary products while you take steps to encourage customers to leave quality reviews.
In this post, I’ll offer six ways to add reviews and recommendations until your customers do the talking for you.
6 Alternatives to Customer Reviews
Quote experts and personalities. Grab concise quotes from interviews and feature stories across the web and in print media. If someone well known is talking about the product, your shoppers should know about it. Include the quote and a link to the original article. You can, alternatively, display a screenshot of the dialogue — define the quote in the image’s title and alt text for search engine optimization and accessibility.
Quote moms. If you had to choose one type of person who could help sell your product, it’s a mom. From bath time goodies to home repair tools, moms rule when it comes to telling other women what to buy. If any of the thousands of mommy blogs have talked positively about a product you sell, showcasing what they say can help encourage others to click the buy button.
Embed video. YouTube is loaded with videos on unboxing, reviews, and usage of all sorts of products. Find the type of video that suits your goals.
- User reviews. You can find these for nearly any product type. Be sure to read video descriptions, as some reviewers list affiliate links to competing websites.
- Manufacturer hype. These are designed to sell the product and typically include branding, such as the manufacturer’s logo.
- Product comparisons put similar items up against each other. Look for ones published by review publications rather than other online stores (so you’re not showing links and details to your competitors).
- Staff picks. Your staff can help sell! Challenge employees to pick five products to review and shoot short videos (two minutes or less) of them explaining why they appreciate that particular item.
- How-to videos. These can be about the products you sell or related items. For example, a video showing how to jump-start a car battery is relevant to any brand of jumper cables. And how to get the best temperature read from a turkey is relevant to any type of probe thermometer.
Embed from shopping and business review sites. Review sites such as Yelp, Google Reviews, Bizrate, and Shopper Approved post reviews about shopping experiences as well as products purchased. Embed reviews that focus on a product and, if possible, about the shopping experience on your site.
Include “As Seen On” logos and related content. Sometimes shoppers just need to know it’s the same product they’ve seen on television or on a popular website or on YouTube. Including these credentials will help.
Showcase celebrity usage. If a product is seen in a photo of a celebrity, it can nearly always help sell (sometimes more than actual reviews). Just be sure to check the image source and get permission from the copyright holder (usually the photographer or publisher).
Some publishers allow the embedding of photos for free. Getty Images, for example, has a special tool for embedding celebrity pics. Granted, the photo links back to Getty Images, but it does the job if you’re trying to show how, say, a popular singer uses something you make or sell.