Why Do Online Shops Pay for a Review Platform?

paying for review platform

If you have a business, you probably already know the value of reviews. If not, a little refresher: reviews are the social proof that your online shop is trustworthy and fulfills customer expectations. There are a lot of free review platforms out there (like Google Business Profile) or platforms where you can have either a free or a paid profile. So, why would you pay for a review platform with so many options out there?

In this article you will learn:

What is the benefit of a review platform in the first place?

Before we answer the question of paid vs. free, we first need to look at the benefits of a review platform in the first place. Review platforms are a collection of business profiles where customers can leave reviews. These reviews show how happy people are with a product or service.

Nowadays, visiting these review platforms is an important part of the customer journey. Sometimes, the journey even starts there, but often they are used by online shoppers to gauge how trustworthy (or not) an online business is.

As a business, these reviews make up your online reputation. If you don’t have any online reviews, shoppers will probably wonder why and end up trusting you less. This can drive them to your competitor – a business that has an easily found online reputation! Also, if your reviews are only positive, customers might think your reviews are not real. Therefore, it is important to have an active and balanced stream of reviews.

Review platforms essentially give businesses an opportunity to showcase their services while online shoppers decided whether or not to buy from your shop.

10 reasons you want to pay for a review platform

With several free versions of review platforms around, why would you pay for one?

1. Possibility to respond to reviews

Free review profiles (especially “unclaimed” ones) often do not let the business respond to reviews that they receive. This is a very essential part of review management because if you never respond, people don’t feel heard. Responding to comments, both the negative and the positive, gives off a signal that you listen and engage with your customers, especially when customers are unhappy for one reason or another.

Sometimes, you do have the option to reply to feedback in free versions, but all of your responses have to be written manually, you don’t always get notified when a new review comes in, and in some cases, there is a limit to the number of reviews you can answer.

Reply to online reviews whitepaper

2. Actively asking for reviews can improve your score

Experience tells us that when a customer is unhappy, they are more likely to find a way to leave a review than if they are happy with your service. That is why it’s so important to actively ask for reviews. Being proactive by asking all your customers for reviews increases your chances that the happy ones will also leave a review. Having all sorts of customers leaving reviews shows a more balanced and realistic view of your service, which usually results in a better overall rating.

Usually, you have to pay to be able to ask for reviews through an automated system. In some situations, you pay for a certain amount of requests per month, whereas services such as Trusted Shops let you send unlimited requests no matter which paid package you have.

Of course, you can send review requests manually, but that costs a lot of time; time that could be better spent on other parts of your business!

With the automated system of Trusted Shops, you can even decide when the system should send out the request: a day after shipping, a week after shipping, whatever time you think makes sense for your shop.

review request settings

3. Potential SEO boost

Did you know that review platforms can improve your SEO? Review platforms can increase the traffic to your website and it gives you a backlink, making it a valuable tool to increase your own SEO. Other than that, it also increases your online presence, which is something the search engines like.

Furthermore, reviews are user-generated content and search engines value that as it increases your website’s keyword relevancy.

4. Professional appearance

Becoming a (paying) member of a review platform, usually means you can upload your logo to the review profile. This means you can align the platform’s look and feel with your brand. It helps with giving a seamless experience to the customer, but also a sense of recognition and safety.

small people adding stars to a review

Source: Shutterstock/Irina Strelnikova

The review requests you can send automatically are usually also customisable, so the customer knows you are the one sending the request and recognises your brand.

5. Increased trust and credibility

If an online business cannot be found on any review platform, a customer is less likely to trust it. Why is nobody talking about this online shop? Is it too new? That smells phishy (pardon my pun). Also, the more reviews you collect, the more trustworthy and credible you are - because clearly a lot of people are convinced of your services (another reason to be proactive in requesting reviews from your customers).

6. Options to integrate reviews on your site

If you have great reviews, you’ll surely want to show them off. You can take a screenshot of the score and upload that on your site, but it does not only not look great, it also cannot be updated in real time. A lot of review platforms give their members the option to integrate a widget onto their website, that shows their score in real time. The fact it’s a widget from another company, gives it more credibility too.

reviews widget on homepage

7. Showing star-ratings in Google Ads

Some review platforms (like Trusted Shops) are officially recognised by Google. This means you’re able to show your well-earned stars in your paid Google Ads and/or in Google Shopping. It will make your advertisement stand out from the competition and on top of that, it will save you money on your ads – a higher click-rate on your ads (and more conversions on your page) lead to a lower cost-per-click (CPC) for your ads.

example of stars in google ads

8. Advanced features and products

A lot of review platforms give you a variety of extra options and products if you become a paying customer. One of them is the ability to easily share your reviews on social media, for example.

Others features include the ability to integrate your reviews directly on your site, tools to help you respond to reviews, tools to collect reviews for multiple platforms at the same time, and even more. Becoming a paid member can give you access to a lot of options that can save you time.

9. Analytics and insights

Your efforts would mean way more if you can actually analyse them. How many reviews do you receive per month? How has your rating increased or decreased over time?

Many paid review platforms provide reporting tools that give you insights into your reviews, but sometimes even more, such as trends. Any of this data can show you where to improve and what you are already doing well.

etrusted dashboard

10. Customer support

The review platform wants you to do well if you are a paying customer, therefore they will provide your business with good customer support. They can of course help you with technical support of the reviews, but in some cases, they can also help you with other issues since they are experts on e-commerce and can show you how to improve your customer rating or even how to avoid shopping carts from being left behind.

Why would you want to become a Trusted Shops member?

Trusted Shops is a one of those review platforms providers, so why would you want to become a Trusted Shops member?

A well-known review platform in all of Europe

The Trusted Shops review platform is known throughout the whole of Europe. Consumers know that the business profile of a Trusted Shops member shows a realistic view of the shop’s service.

Trustmark and Buyer Protection

Trusted Shops TrustbadgeBusinesses that pass the Trusted Shops audit process can display the Trusted Shops Trustmark (which includes a 30-day Buyer Protection) on their website.

The Trustmark shows customers that your online shop has been certified by Trusted Shops and that it is trustworthy.

The Buyer Protection shows that we have such confidence in our customers, that we vouch for them if the order does not arrive.

Easy integration and management

First of all, to collect reviews for Trusted Shops, we send out automated emails to your customers, so you don’t have to. Remember, when you ask for reviews, happy customers are more likely to leave positive feedback, which will improve your rating as well as your conversions.

The Trustbadge® (which displays your shop rating) is easily integrated onto your website without having to be a coding-genius.

The dashboard on our platform, eTrusted, is very clean, and easy to use. You can also see your analytics as well as your individual reviews. Through the platform, you can easily respond to reviews, which increases your trustworthiness even more!

15% boost in conversion rates  Future Shop benefited from the partnership with Trusted Shops Read the case study

Google Integration

As a Google partner, Trusted Shops offers a product called Google Integration. With this tool, you can show your well-earned stars in your paid Google Ads or Google Shopping. Remember, displaying star-ratings in your ads can boost performance and thus, save you money on your marketing.

A variety of extra features

Trusted Shops has certain extra features and continuously works on new ones.

One of these features is the Social Media Creator, which can help you turn your most glowing reviews into beautiful social media posts with a few simple clicks. This feature is free for every member!

Furthermore, we offer the option to collect reviews for 3 different review platforms at the same time, using the Reputation Manager. Your good rating will be shown all across the internet.

Another product that you might be interested in is the Smart Review Assistant. Using A.I., you can generate replies to reviews with only one mouse-click. Either edit the response or confirm it directly, it’s up to you! This technology is supported by AI and will save you up to 50% of your time.

Conclusion

There are many free versions of review platforms that work fine, but using a paid account means you are a stable online business that is willing to improve their products and services and engage with your customers. When making the decision if this is worth it for you, consider the value and return on investment (ROI). A good way to figure out if you want it, is to have a conversation with the experts of the review platform, so you can ask them questions.

Paying for a review platform has many benefits and if your online shop is growing, it would be wise to start investing in one.

trusted shops product overview

This article was originally published and translated from our Dutch blog: Waarom betalen shops voor een reviewplatform?

06/09/23

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