Google Customer Reviews is a free review service that collects reviews automatically from customers who have made a purchase directly from your website. If you're an e-commerce business not using Google Customer Reviews, read on and learn why this is an essential part of your digital marketing mix.
What are Google Customer Reviews?
Before we dive into the reasons why you should opt into Google Customer Reviews, let’s quickly explain what it is. Google Customer Reviews was launched by Google in March 2017 to replace Google Trusted Stores. This service allows you to collect valuable reviews from verified customers for free – unlike most review sites.
So, Why Did Google Introduce Google Customer Reviews?
There could be a variety of reasons for the rebrand of the previous Google Trusted Stores program. Here are a few possible suggestions:
- Better integration with other Google products such as AdWords and Merchant Centre
- Competition from other e-commerce selling platforms such as Amazon, which actively encourages reviews
- Better account management tools and customer insights via surveys
Whatever the reason may be, if you are an advertiser on Google’s networks such as Google Search, Display and/or Shopping, opting in to Google Customer Reviews could be integral to your campaigns.
Who Is It For?
There are a number of criteria you need to meet to be eligible as per the below requirements from Google:
- An order confirmation page that is hosted on your website domain
- Secured order confirmation page with an SSL certificate (HTTPS)
- Opt-in to participate by agreeing to the programme’s terms and conditions
Ideally, this is suitable for e-commerce websites, but is not limited to physical products. For example, you could be a hotel selling packages online, an online course provider, or someone selling digital copies of books. As long as customers can complete the entire transaction online, you should be eligible. However, this excludes third-party selling platforms such as standard Shopify stores which have a different domain at checkout.
It’s important to note that this review programme is only available in certain countries which are listed below:
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Czechia (Czech Republic), Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Why Should You Opt-In?
Reviews are continuing to be a hot topic within digital marketing. For a lot of business owners, positive reviews are hard to come by and customers are more willing to ‘rant’ rather than ‘rave’ about your service. However, if you own an e-commerce store that allows customers to buy from you directly, Google Customer Reviews allows for easier collection of reviews.
Better Collection of Reviews
Let’s say you have more than one review site. For example, you might have reviews located on TrustPilot and are now considering a cheaper alternative such as Reviews.co.uk. Google Customer Reviews will aggregate all your review service sites including its own. There are some benefits to having more reviews collected within 12 months, which will be explained further.
Collecting Reviews Can Be Expensive
Review sites are not the cheapest to sign-up to. Costs for popular review sites will range, and could cost hundreds of pounds a month depending which package you are on. Having Google collect reviews on your behalf for free sounds like a great alternative.
Customer Insights with Data Collection
Not quite sure what your customers really think about your overall service? Well, you can now collect this information using Google Customer Reviews. In the example below, Booking.com has showcased what 1,130 customers think about them. This is also a valuable trust signal for other customers, and it sets their expectations of the service they will receive.
Build Customer Trust with the Badge
You have the option of placing this badge on your website, which will display your rating to all visitors coming to your website. Identifying yourself with the Google brand could boost your credibility and convert more customers.
Boost PPC Campaigns with Seller Ratings Extensions
Opting in to Google Customer Reviews automatically makes you eligible for Seller Ratings extensions (if you satisfy all the requirements). Seller ratings show your aggregated review rating if you have a high rating of 3.5 out of 5 or above. They can be showcased in both Google Search and individual product listings within Google Shopping ads as per the example from Nike.com below.
As you can see from the above example, Nike dominates searches for Nike trainers using Seller Ratings extensions. They are mainly using Bizrate and Poulpeo to pull in reviews as per Nike’s Google Customer Review profile.
Now, Check Your Competitor’s Seller Rating
You can check to see if your competitors are already using Google Customer Reviews by replacing “example.com” with your competitor’s domain name in the following link: https://www.google.com/shopping/seller?q=example.com
Here are a few Seller Rating examples from popular retailers:
Seller Ratings Extension Requirements
Not every advertiser is eligible for Seller Ratings being displayed within their Search and Shopping ads. There are a few requirements you must meet after successfully opting in to Google Customer Reviews.
- 150 unique customer reviews within the last 12 months (previously 30 unique reviews)
- 3.5 stars minimum overall rating
- At least 10 reviews need to be in the user’s Google interface language. For example, if you want your rating to display in France you must have at least 10 reviews in French
Any Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Opt-In?
Generally, if you meet all the requirements to be eligible, there aren’t many reasons why you shouldn’t utilise this free service. However, here are a few reasons that might deter you from opting in to Google Customer Reviews:
- You are a small retailer and collecting 150 reviews within 12 months is highly unlikely
- Your customer service would struggle to meet the 3.5 star minimum rating
- You use a third-party selling platform, and integration with Google Customer Reviews would not be possible
- You use a different domain to direct customers to complete their transactions e.g. Shopify (basic)
As you can see from this overview, there are numerous benefits to using Google Customer Reviews. Integrating it into your e-commerce marketing strategy could boost sales due to the added transparency of the quality of your service for all potential customers to see. If you have an e-commerce platform, you may need to consider collecting reviews with Google; particularly if you are already advertising on Google’s networks or are using one of the affiliated independent review websites such as TrustPilot.
If you’d like to discuss whether your business could benefit from Google Customer Reviews, contact one of our Google certified experts today.