Google recently announced Google Customer Reviews, a new way for ecommerce businesses to collect reviews that are truly valuable.
Previously, anyone could write a review for a company through Google, and there would be no way of knowing for sure whether they were legitimate reviews from customers, fake reviews from the company itself, or malicious reviews from competitors. This is still the case and this review function isn’t going away. But Google Customer Reviews is a new feature which operates in a slightly different way so that only people who have made a purchase on your website are able to leave a review.
You may have seen something similar on Amazon. On Amazon, anyone can leave a review for a product, but some reviews are accompanied by a little orange note saying “Verified Purchase”. This means that the person who wrote the review bought the product from Amazon – Amazon knows this because the user is logged in and used the same account to buy the product and then later leave a review. This is a way of seeing which reviews may be more trustworthy than others. It doesn’t mean that reviews are only worthwhile if the product was bought on Amazon, but simply that this person has bought, and therefore likely used the product, and they are probably being truthful and unbiased in their review.
Google Customer Reviews works in a similar way. Once a user has made a purchase on your website, they can opt in to receive an email inviting them to leave a review.
To get set up, you will need a Google Merchant centre account. Once you’re set up with one of these and signed in, select “Merchant Center” programs from the dropdown in the right hand corner, click “Get Started” on the Google Customer Reviews card, and accept the agreement. Then you’ll need to add the survey op-in code to your website. You can also add the badge code to your website, which displays your seller rating and shows that you’re integrated with Google Customer Reviews.
It is important to point out that this feature will work for ecommerce websites where customers can go through a checkout process and make a purchase online. But for lead generation websites or other sites where customers can’t make a payment through your website, it won’t be possible to use this feature because there is no way of verifying that a purchase has been made.
It is also important to note that this is an opt-in feature – you won’t suddenly start getting these verified reviews unless you sign up and add the code to your website. But it’s a free feature, and while it’s relatively new, it could be worth looking into so that your customers can see which reviews may be more trustworthy.
Of course, all of this isn’t to say that your other reviews that don’t come from Google Customer Reviews shouldn’t be trusted. But perhaps savvy users will put a little more stock in the reviews which have come from verified purchases. Reviews can also count towards seller ratings on your AdWords text ads and Google Shopping ads, which you can find out more about in Mary’s recent blog post.
For information on how you can gather more reviews and use them wisely on your website, check out my blog post “Making the Most of Your Testimonials and Product Reviews”.