#110: How to use reviews the right way to increase conversions and retention
In this episode, I talk with Tomasz Sadowski, CEO at Opinew.com, about how to use reviews the right way to increase conversions and retention.
This episode is sponsored by Fluorescent, a Canadian-owned design agency who have just launched their newest, boldest Shopify theme ever. Learn more at fluorescent.co.
On the Show Today You’ll Learn:
- The importance of reviews when selling online
- What merchants miss out on when they use review apps
- How reviews can increase conversions and retention
- Designing the perfect review layout
- And more
Links & Resources
About Our Podcast Guest: Tomasz Sadowski
Tomasz founded Opinew, a Shopify review app, 6 years ago to make it easier to BOTH collect reviews, and use them to improve conversion rates and create more customer-focused marketing. Time permitting he also helps to run a family-owned guest house and enjoys ice skating or long hikes in the Scottish Highlands.
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Claus Lauter: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the eCommerce coffee break. Today. I wanna talk with you about how to increase conversions and retention and how to do that. So one way to do this is with reviews. [00:01:00] And one way to do this is obviously you having the right app in there. Now the getting a little bit deeper into the topic.
I have Thomas Sadoski with me. He is the CEO of Optum and he's helping brands scaling with the power of reviews. So hello, Thomas, how are you today?[00:01:15] Thomas Sadoski: Hello? , thanks very much for having here. I'm doing good. Yeah. All things considered. We're , very busy getting ready for, , Shopify unit in London. It's gonna be some good stuff happening there. [00:01:24] Claus Lauter: ,
tell me a bit of your background. What got you into eCommerce? What got you in app development?[00:01:29] Thomas Sadoski: Sure. It's been a long time, I'm a fan of reading reviews before I make any sort of purchase. I'm that person who will spend, a couple of days just, scrolling through reviews, , watching videos online before I buy a phone.
it's always been, , on my mind and then eventually at the end of the university, We had to do a project and mine was in reviews and, , I decided to take it forward and build a company around it. And, surely a few good years later. , we. Managed, , to, , scale the team to [00:02:00] over 15 people.
And as of recent, we have been, , acquired by shop circle. So we're, , a part of a growing ecosystem of, , apps, that where the point is that, over the next few years, we'll, , basically be offering a whole suite of them to merchants. And the review component , is opinion, but, , that's where we are at right now.[00:02:19] Claus Lauter: .
Okay. Now obviously most merchants, most Shopify stores have one or the other review system in there. I don't think that most people really understand how important it is and how it has an impact on , increase in conversions and also, , the average auto value. So tell me, what do you think is missing out?
Or what merchants are missing out when they're implementing review systems into their store, into their business. .[00:02:42] Thomas Sadoski: These days, people are actually starting to realize slowly that reviews are important. noticed that when we were starting maybe in 2015, 16, that, a lot of people weren't sure about reviews, but then, people just got better educated. , there was more educational content released. , there are more studies done. And now everybody realizes that if you wanna [00:03:00] sell online, you need reviews. And, if you want to get people to click on your links, you need them.
If you want them to click on your app to carts, you need them is basically. Social proof, it's like you, , asking your friends, Hey, is this restaurant good? Is your TV working well? But, it's more of a social proof of the crowd wider population, it's a crucial component. We've had some customers which, just happened that they switched their theme on Shopify. And, , when switching the theme, , sometimes some apps don't carry on and, , it happened that our app got switched off and we had them coming to us and. complaining, Hey, , my sales drop by 70% reviews are off.
Can you put them back in? and it, just shows, how important they are. we've seen , the difference also when people started using reviews in, email in Google organics only way more clicks. If they're using them in ads, suddenly way more click through, their ads are doing, better.
Reviews are there to help you wherever you are, presenting your product in whatever [00:04:00] format, be it on your product page. Be it in social media. Be it , in a newsletter. They, , give that social proof push, for people to take action. , so you might have a great converting page. You might have it designed.
Perfectly in terms of the copy, the structure. but it's not going to convert as well without the social proof.[00:04:21] Claus Lauter: Talking about the product detail page, how should be the perfect layout for , a review? So what kind of content, what kind of elements do you need to have with a [00:04:31] Thomas Sadoski: review? There is this psychology of how people, look, through reviews and, , especially when they land on the page. So the first thing that they will look at is the average, , amount of stars. We tend to help, our clients, , in optimizing their pages. And sometimes we see that, people don't install the product, , to the stars under the title on the product pages.
And sometimes it happens that the main review section is way down below. so it's not present on your, screen that you see at first. And if you don't [00:05:00] have the stars, there's no suggestions that there are any reviews. And , I'm not saying that everybody, but it will just look that the page doesn't have any, and some people might not even scroll all the way down to see.
especially if they're new to your site, if they don't know that, , reviews are at a specific, height, of the page. so that's the first element. , you need to have those stars below the title then in terms of the, , review widget, when people look at it and think to yourself, you know, what do you.
When you look at reviews, you want to see the first page and so you see the, , first impression, then you very rarely go to the second one. It's just like with Google search results, , only the desperate go to the second page. , and, with reviews, there is this interesting.
Behavior that we see the first page, and then we want to see the worst reviews right after that. So we want to see what happens when things go wrong. And, , here is where we need to advise people the most. Because of that behavior, if you don't have any negative reviews , on your product, because I'm not going to lie.
There are plenty of merchants that, curate reviews and they hide, [00:06:00] even stupidly literally, they hide one or two star reviews because of their ego but in the end, you are there to run a business and the best way to optimize for making the most sales, , but also preventing returns because you don't wanna be having a situation where people buy your product and then return it a lot.
You need those, moderate three star and then negative two and one star reviews. I'm very passionate, about it because there is a lot of, , pushback from the merchants ,[00:06:31] Claus Lauter: I have the same experience. , if you come to a store and they only have five style reviews, , you are going to question how legitimate these reviews are. So there is no business where from time to time, you don't have an unhappy customer who is going to vent on your review. So you're quite right. So you should have, , the negative in there, and there's always more transparent.
Overall now a lot of businesses are not only selling on their, online store. They might have reviews also on other platforms on Amazon, on, I don't know where, so how do you deal with this? Is there a [00:07:00] way to funnel them together?[00:07:01] Thomas Sadoski: . Yes. Correct. That's one of the things that, , we offer to our merchants.
If you happen to sell across, , different channels, we allow you to port those reviews from Amazon, , into Shopify. And we see a lot of success that our clients have, , by, , bringing those because it's. Prevents you from that cold start, if you're opening a store and Shopify and, you want to start selling there more, you know, you're lacking that social proof.
We kind of help you kickstart , that channel[00:07:26] Claus Lauter: , what's the minimum number of reviews someone should have on a product detailed [00:07:30] Thomas Sadoski: page. Another interesting bit of behavior, , that we have here. So if you have none, that's obviously the worst, , then between, five and 10, that's not too good, but you already start seeing some influence of those reviews , that they have, but , it's still not enough over 30.
, that's where, The benefits of having reviews really start kicking in, , because it allows people to judge that you have enough reviews. For them to consider that [00:08:00] it's basically enough, if it had 10 or 20 more because basically the volume is , too small them to form, , an informed opinion.
And then an interesting thing happens when you go into hundreds or thousands. Let's say you have a collection of products and one of them. 30 reviews. And the other has 5,000 that product that has 5,000 reviews. Those reviews also suggest the volume of sales.
So the popularity, and, , when I go to a shop to buy, protein powder, I will more likely go for the one with thousands of reviews because it suggests that a lot of people are buying it. That's in terms of the counts. So two elements that we discussed already, you need to have a good balanced mix of reviews, and then if you go into thousands, it shows it's popular.[00:08:43] Claus Lauter: Okay. Now, a brand new merchant or somebody who is just moving from brick and mortar or whatever over into online. What's the best way to collect reviews. How do you reach out to past customers or get them from other systems , in your, , system? [00:08:57] Thomas Sadoski: there are multiple different ways. And, for [00:09:00] the only review, , app , that covers more than, the first two that are most popular are post purchase email. You can design a whole flow and, that's a. Probably 10 or 20 minutes conversation just on how to, , design this email flow, that converts, by which, I mean, how do you ask people to get reviews?
Because the review, , leaving rate is about 5%. So out of a hundred people, only five will leave your review. but yeah, like I said, conversation for a different time, then you can send them an SM. if, , you have a way of, interacting them via text and we provide that.
And, , lastly, you can try. So if you are in charge of your packaging, you can integrate the review app and our app does it with your, , order printer. So you can add this, , little, , QR code and the link on your, packaging slip. So when somebody receives the item, , they open it up and there's this little car saying, Hey, look, you're gonna get a 10% discount.
If you leave a review, just scan this QR code and go ahead. so there are , many different ways of, doing that, but those are basically , the three main ones you've got [00:10:00] the email SMS , and printed requests. So that's what we help. And obviously, if you can, you import them , to kickstart your sales because in the end, , if you want to gather a lot of reviews, you need a lot of orders and you're not gonna get a lot of orders without the reviews.
So it's a chicken and egg problem, right? Any way that you can get this initial critical mass.[00:10:19] Claus Lauter: Now reviews, as you said, user generated content. You wanna probably have also photos, maybe video. I mean more you get out of your client the better this, or do you motivate them to as far as getting their phone out and make a photo? [00:10:33] Thomas Sadoski: Just by asking them to leave a review, that's already asking for quite a lot because, the person, , they've already paid for the product. But , they pay for the product. You're asking for an extra action to take, which is leaving the review.
They leave a review. , how do you incentivize them to leave a photo? You can offer them a coupon, , that is conditional only on adding. A photo or video to that review. , and in our particular case, we can even, , have it so that the opinion sends an extra [00:11:00] email. If they didn't add a photo, they'll get an extra email saying, Hey, look, if you've left your review, thank you.
But as a special things, if you could please add a photo to it, you're gonna get an even better coupon. Those are some of the ways , and the best way of, , optimizing this. Because if you offer coupon, you increase that rate by almost twofold. So from about four or 5% to even 10[00:11:20] Claus Lauter: where do you put your coupon?
Your testimonials, , your reviews. What's , the best areas on your store to show them?[00:11:27] Thomas Sadoski: It depends on where you are on the store. So if you're on the homepage, people are, your, visitors are in the frame of mind of judging your entire store. , and therefore you should put the reviews.
You should select reviews that are specific. to the entire shop. So showing your customer service, , showing the experience with the delivery, those kind of things. If you're on the product page, those are product reviews. . And here you need to optimize. If you can, for showing the best quality reviews [00:12:00] up.
Like I said, people will look only on the first page, mostly over 95% of them will. So the content that they see at first is the most important. And , there are only two companies in eCommerce that, , can optimize that at scale without having to, , Have a whole bunch of people who do manual work of selecting the best quality reviews.
And I don't mean the five star reviews. The best quality review is the one that will show you the. Experience of somebody, , using that product in a well written, clear to read way, , that shows you, okay, those are the certain , features, of the product. This is my experience with it, so that you can make an informed decision.
And , the two companies that do it, , are Amazon and opinion. So we're the only company in the space that. Manage to, , track that code, of showing the best reviews, up top. we use it see quite a lot of, , success with doing so. And we're talking about, , 50% better results compared to sorting by the recent reviews.
In terms of placing the [00:13:00] reviews, , on the product page, there are a few other places, , if you want to help people judge your store as a whole, , you can also use the so-called all reviews page. , put it in the navigation bar so that people can easily access it.
Something similar to that, again is a widget that you can put in the food. You'd be surprised how often people go down to the footer, because that's where most of the time is your, , delivery policy returns policy. And so when they are looking through those pages down there at the bottom, it is beneficial for you to include this, , general overall rating of the store to.
Put this idea into their mind. Okay. And associate , good store rating with delivery with returns. Those would be the most important, , bits in terms of, , where you place the reviews, how we placed.[00:13:48] Claus Lauter: a hundred percent agree. I do a lot of, , screen recordings.
I watch a lot of screen recordings on hot chart, like orange and all of these tools on stores. And I'm always surprised how many people come to our store specifically on mobile devices before they [00:14:00] do anything. They're scroll immediately down to the foot. I was like, okay, what are they looking for? So the footer is actually quite important to get this right.
You mentioned Amazon. , Just you the expert. And I just wanna get your take on that. I usually recommend that , the stars should be exactly the Amazon yellow color code. , of course people have this connection. Is that something you would support or do you say no, it can be any kind of color.[00:14:21] Thomas Sadoski: I don't have the data to confirm it. So I, can't say anything. I guess it's a valid suggestion, but, I can't back it , with any data. What, , we tell our merchants is, look, you can go for the typical yellow, standard that people are used to seeing across. Whole eCommerce, stars historically always have been , this yellow or like you said, , the Amazon yellow, but there's another way of, , thinking that, , it's not like we recommend this.
, there's two ways, either yellow or you match it to your, , store theme. , so if let's say you have a, , high end. Clothing brand, or a clothing store. It might look better. , their stores are always that [00:15:00] minimalistic look and, , stars being yellow.
They break that look. So sometimes they choose, whatever, if you're minimalistic look is mostly black, then you go for, , with black stars or, any other color that matches your color. Okay. Two schools of thought not backed by any concrete numbers. So, I can't tell.[00:15:16] Claus Lauter: So how long does it take to, integrate and get trained and opt new?
Sarah what's the time usually for, implementation?[00:15:23] Thomas Sadoski: the initial implementation is very quick. Actually, if you just want to, , get your reviews, migrate from another system and then set up your, , automation flow, import , the reviews and put the widgets on takes probably half an hour, not more.
Just to put widgets to the, to display any, anything, the page. , it's really five minutes from installation. We've got most of those, , functions automated. So you don't need to, involve yourself into manual. Code changes. And, , our importing system is pretty straightforward. You don't need to do, , manual work.
There are bulk, , options , to import lots of reviews. , same , with the requesting automation. We've got a [00:16:00] basic and advanced, so depends, how. Custom and how polished and how, , many different features , you want to, , involve, , or if you let's say want to involve plao in the entire mix , and other integrations.
But, , if you're really that advanced, we have a white glove service that we offer with our customer success manager. And, , we can help you set it up, , over a meeting with you. Pretty much, according to your, , specification, we do it for you.[00:16:26] Claus Lauter: Okay. Gimme a bit of idea about the pricing.
How is that structured?[00:16:29] Thomas Sadoski: we're, We're pretty affordable. So you can, , roll on the free plan, , with obviously limited features, but if you're just starting it's, , more than enough. And then, , in terms. Paid, , plan. We range from 19 to 399., we cover a whole range of your, , small and medium sized store.
You can definitely afford it, but if you're an enterprise client, , you can be sure that, , you will get that wide glove service , dedicated servers, , custom reporting, all of that. And, all the integrations , that the app can.[00:16:57] Claus Lauter: Okay. Do we have one gold nugget that [00:17:00] you would throw in for someone who wants to really optimize and squeeze the most out of reviews? [00:17:05] Thomas Sadoski: Use them everywhere that you show your product and, , you'll be fine. Even if the reviews aren't the top most quality, as long as in any place that you present your product. Even on a leaflet that you hand out because maybe sometimes, , people have those, , pop up stores, even on your leaflets, in your email, on your website, , on your ads.
If you can put the reviews, you can put that social proof. Do it.[00:17:32] Claus Lauter: Okay. Yeah. I'm agree with you. Don't underestimate the power of reviews. It definitely makes a huge difference on the bottom line and will show in conversions and in revenue at the end of the day. Cool. Where can people find more about [00:17:45] Thomas Sadoski: You can go to opinion.com. That's O P I N E w.com to find, , more about the app. And if you're interested in the entire portfolio , of , our family of apps, you can go to, , shop circle dot. [00:18:00] Which I, , welcome you to do so. [00:18:02] Claus Lauter: Okay. I will put the links in the show notes that people can reach was one click.
Cool. Thomas, thanks so much for this overview. I think there was a lot of insight in there to make the most out of reviews and hopefully people will go ahead and try your app and, , then get the most out of it. Thanks so much for your time.[00:18:18] Thomas Sadoski: You're very welcome. Thanks for having me.
Today's Episode Sponsor
Today's podcast sponsors are Fluorescent, a Canadian-owned design agency who have just launched their newest, boldest Shopify theme ever. Infinitely flexible and loaded with powerful features, Stiletto offers endless possibilities to take your luxury brand to the next level. It comes packed with highly-customizable sections and built-in app functionality to create a compelling product discovery experience that eliminates friction and boosts conversions. Learn more at fluorescent.co today.
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