As ecommerce continues to boom, consumers are facing an increasing number of choices for where to buy on the internet these days. The wide selection of options available has many shoppers turning to reviews to determine the best place to make a purchase.
In fact, in a 2020 survey conducted in the US by Statista, 55% of respondents stated that customer reviews on the internet were very helpful for online shopping.
Reviews from customers who’ve previously purchased from you can be extremely beneficial in growing your business. This is true whether those reviews are on your own ecommerce site, your social media accounts, or a service such as Google Shopping.
If you use Google Shopping ads to promote your products, the two rating systems that you’ll need to understand are product ratings and seller ratings. While product ratings aid shoppers in deciding if a product is worth buying, seller ratings assist them in determining whether they should purchase from a retailer.
Both systems are important, but this article specifically examines seller ratings. Keep reading to learn what seller ratings are, why you’ll want to use them, what you’ll need to do to get them to show, and how you can boost your own seller rating!
What are seller ratings?
Google’s seller ratings are a type of automated extension for Google Ads. They provide online retailers with a 1-to-5 star rating and state how many ratings the merchant has received in total.
Besides appearing in text-only ads, seller ratings can show up in Shopping listings, both paid and free. The platform doesn’t charge retailers to include seller ratings in their listings, meaning that having ratings in your ads won’t have an effect on how much Google Shopping will cost your business.
Although they display as a star rating for text-only ads, they can appear differently in Shopping listings, depending on the country in which the user is viewing the listing.
For instance, in France, shoppers will see a star rating followed by a number in parentheses, which is the total number of reviews, as shown in the image below. In contrast, in the US, seller ratings are presented as a percentage in Shopping listings, e.g., “90% positive (750),” also followed by the total number of reviews in parentheses.
Shoppers may also see a qualifier, such as “average delivery time,” that indicates why the business received the rating. Note that Google determines the rating and may not display one at all if there isn’t enough data present. Google obtains data on which to base businesses’ ratings from a variety of sources.
For instance, there’s Google Customer Reviews, which is a free program that gathers feedback from customers after they’ve purchased from merchants. Google also examines various performance metrics sourced from shopping research led by Google itself.
In addition, Google Consumer Surveys, a market research platform that compiles information for specific businesses and domains, may be used to help determine seller ratings.
Finally, Google also uses reviews for the store’s domain. These may consist of comments from a number of independent sources, such as Bizrate, Feedaty, TrustPilot, Verified Reviews, and others.
Criteria for seller ratings to show
If you’ve been promoting your products on the Shopping platform for a while now and are wondering why you haven’t received any seller ratings yet, read on.
To get seller ratings to appear in a certain country for your online store, you’ll need to ensure that several criteria have been met.
Your business needs to have received a minimum of 100 different reviews in that country within the past year. These may be obtained via Google Customer Reviews or any of Google’s third-party review partners.
However, seller ratings can still appear if you have less than 100 reviews if Google has evaluated your site using Google Consumer Surveys or completed another type of research evaluation.
Although those 100 unique reviews mentioned above must have an average rating of at least 3.5 stars for text ads, seller ratings may show for Shopping listings with a lower average.
Finally, it’s important to remember that the domain you have in a listing must match the one connected with the ratings.
Why should you use seller ratings?
It’s true that it can take some work to get seller ratings to start appearing for your business. However, there are several reasons why you’ll want to start implementing seller ratings for your Shopping listings if you aren’t already doing so.
To begin, as you’re probably aware, social proof is crucial in ecommerce. People like knowing that other shoppers have had a great encounter with your store before they decide to purchase from you themselves.
Seller ratings are an excellent way to build trust in your brand. Positive reviews indicate that other consumers have previously visited your store, made a purchase, and were satisfied. This in turn can encourage prospective customers to try your business as well.
In addition, although Shopping listings already stand out from text-only ads due to the inclusion of product photos, seller ratings shine the spotlight on your business even more. If shoppers see that your ads feature seller ratings, they’re more likely to click on your ads rather than those of a competitor who’s not using the extension.
Besides increasing your click-through rate, seller ratings can also get you more conversions. When consumers visit your website and are checking out a product page, they’ll already have accumulated confidence in your store. An enjoyable user experience on your site may then be all that you need to seal the deal and earn a new sale!
Ways to improve your seller rating
It can sometimes be difficult for businesses to get customers to leave reviews after they make a purchase. People are generally more apt to give a review when they aren’t satisfied, and a poor seller rating on Google Shopping isn’t going to do you any good.
Your best bet is to take a proactive approach for a better chance of having customers leave positive reviews for your business. Here are 5 great ways to improve your store’s seller rating on the platform.
1. Ensure that you’re providing customers with the best service possible
Hopefully you’re already offering shoppers excellent service. However if your seller rating isn’t as high as you’d like it to be, this is definitely an area of your business that you’ll want to look into.
As customers won’t have face-to-face interactions with you like they would when buying products at a physical store, the service that you offer pre- and post-purchase is even more critical. There are several parts of the user experience that you should consider for your store.
First, make sure that you have a mobile-friendly website. Increasing numbers of consumers are shopping on mobile devices these days. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile use, customers may leave disappointed, even if they do end up making a purchase.
Next, you’ll want to review your checkout process. Supply shoppers with a variety of payment options if possible. In addition, you might want to offer customers the option to check out as a guest rather than creating an account.
Shipping is also an essential element related to how much customers enjoy buying from your store. Although many shoppers are used to fast and free shipping, this might not be feasible for you. That’s totally okay!
As long as you’re transparent with customers about delivery timeframes and shipping costs, most people will be fine with it. Just make sure that you can actually do what you say that you’re capable of.
While it’s true that your business might not have a huge center to assist customers like those of much larger companies, you can still give shoppers thoughtful, personalized service.
If you don’t have one already, create a carefully planned strategy for handling any of the issues that may occur for customers visiting your website. How you handle customer challenges is guaranteed to have a significant impact on your seller ratings on the Shopping platform.
2. Keep your product feed up to date
There’s a lot of work that goes into creating a Google Shopping feed for campaigns. The system requires a long list of specifications for you to provide, and the slightest discrepancy can cause an error and delay the launch of your campaign.
After you finish uploading one for your first campaign, you might feel like you’d be happy to never look at another product feed again!
However, it’s essential that you make any updates to your product feed as needed to avoid confusing or disappointing potential customers. Always ensure that your product details and pricing are clear and easy to understand.
The very way that Google Shopping functions makes it ideal for converting internet users into customers. When consumers are ready to buy, they’ll often utilize specific keywords when shopping for products on the internet. For this reason, you’ll want to consider how to word your product details most effectively to attract more customers.
Give your online store the best chance possible of earning shoppers’ business by providing a transparent, up-do-date product feed.
3. Request that customers leave reviews
The unfortunate truth is that customers who didn’t have a positive experience with your store are more likely to leave a review than those who liked buying from your site. If shoppers are satisfied with your store, they’ll often just move on and enjoy their purchases.
To even things out, it’s a good idea to take a proactive approach and ask for reviews from every customer. While some of the responses might turn out to be negative, the increase in positive reviews will hopefully improve your overall seller rating on Google Shopping.
It’s relatively easy to request reviews from customers, so why waste the opportunity to learn what your business is doing right and how it can improve?
Generally speaking, the most effective way to obtain customer feedback is to send customers an email after you know that their order has been delivered to them.
If you send your request for a review too early, customers will probably decide to wait to respond until after they’ve received the item and are able to try it out. When their order arrives, they may have already forgotten about your request.
Be careful with how you ask for reviews, though. To comply with Google’s policies for seller ratings, you must avoid offering customers financial incentives in exchange for their feedback. While this might make obtaining reviews a little bit trickier, it’s far from impossible!
4. Be careful with how you ask for customer reviews
As with any other kind of marketing message, the key is using the right language and sending the message at the right time. Although there’s not one correct way to request customer reviews that works for every merchant, there are certain guidelines that you’ll want to follow.
Put yourself in the shoes of the customer and consider what content you should include in your post-purchase emails.
First, be clear in what you’re requesting. You want people reading the email to understand that you’re asking for a review of your business rather than the product that they just purchased. Furthermore, indicate why you’re making the request and ensure that the process for leaving reviews is simple and easy to understand.
Second, consider adding a bit of your personality to the message. How much you add will likely depend on your type of business and your customers, but some extra flair can help increase your chances of people following through with your call to action.
Finally, ensure that your email is brief. With shoppers’ ever-decreasing attention spans, a wordy email that goes on for pages and pages is unlikely to be read all the way until the end. Some customers may even delete the email immediately if they think it’s too long.
5. Respond to every customer review
As the reviews come in for your store, be sure to respond to them, especially the negative ones, in a timely and effective manner.
Yes, bad reviews are not fun to read, but they indicate that there’s room for improvement in your business and can be a wonderful opportunity for growth. Avoid using automated responses, and tailor your responses to each piece of feedback that you receive.
Apologize for the negative experience that the customer had. In addition, indicate that you want to remedy the situation and provide additional contact details if necessary so that the customer can reach out to you privately.
Consumers pay close attention to how businesses respond to negative comments. They may decide to shop elsewhere if they deem a store’s responses to be overly dismissive or defensive.
Note that it’s a good idea to respond to positive comments too. It demonstrates that you care and that you appreciate people purchasing from your store. Thank customers for their purchases and invite them to shop with you again in the future.
You can also use reviews to answer customers’ questions in your responses. For instance, a shopper might give your product a great review but might still have questions about how to care for or maintain the item. Providing a helpful, informative answer can build even more trust in your brand.
Start accumulating great reviews today!
An increasing number of ecommerce entrepreneurs are using Google Shopping as a way to reach a wider audience and attract more consumers to their websites. If you’re doing the same for your own business, getting seller ratings to display for your Shopping listings will help optimize your experience on the platform.
Use the tips mentioned in this article to begin gathering reviews from happy customers today or improve your current seller rating. The boost in trust and visibility that seller ratings can bring your business on Google Shopping are well worth the effort!