What are customer review plugins and why do you need one?
We’re sure that you are already aware of customer reviews for your business. You might face a problem though when it comes to actually implementing a customer review and rating system into your store. A customer review plugin might be just what you are looking for.
Don’t know what a plugin is? No worries! We will begin by looking at what plugins are and why they are a good solution before moving on to customer review plugins specifically.
What is a Plugin? A plugin is a piece of software that can be added on to a program or another piece of software with relatively low effort. Usually, these plugins contain either a specific feature or set of features and functionality that isn’t present in the original software in its default state.
The name itself comes from the real world in which we now also have plug-and-play devices such as a keyboard or mouse. These devices often require no additional setup. You merely have to plug them into your computer, sometimes without even having to wait, and your computer has immediately gained the extra features and functionality that these devices provide.
A plugin works in much the same way. It might just feel more complicated because it’s not as tangible as a physical device. In the age of content management systems, such as WordPress, that make developing your own website possible for everyone, you can imagine how powerful concept this is. A user doesn’t have to have any coding experience or expertise. They just need to be able to download and install a piece of software.
A few everyday examples of plugins that are commonly found today are:
- A plugin to easily integrate and share stuff on a website on social media such as Facebook or Twitter.
- A plugin that allows your site to show related content to an article or content piece.
- A plugin that allows you to get customer reviews, coincidentally what we will be discussing right now.
- A plugin that receives and displays the latest news or updates via an RSS feed.
Why Should You Get a Customer Review Plugin?
The term customer review speaks for itself. It’s a way of allowing a customer to rate his or her satisfaction with your product (often through a star rating) and comment on the experience (usually through a short written piece). It’s almost impossible nowadays to even find an online store or marketplace that doesn’t use customer reviews and openly display them on their product pages.
You might be wondering why you need customer reviews in the first place. There are a few very good reasons:
Recent studies have shown that up to 90% of online shoppers view customer reviews just as much as personal ones. The same amount of customers also look at reviews before even considering doing business with you. If you don’t have any reviews, they will just move on to a site that does.
Customer reviews are a great way for you to continuously get feedback on customers experience with your products and services. It will help you identify real-world and relatable issues or see what you are doing right.
Customer reviews have become a crucial part of your search engine rankings. You are doing yourself a major disservice by not using them as you will struggle to land high up on search results compared to those that do.
Now that you know why customer reviews are so important, why should rely on plugins for your customer reviews?
Don’t reinvent the wheel
Customer reviews are not a new idea and they are pretty straightforward. As such, there are already great plugins out there that all provide relatively the same functionality. You simply can’t improve too much on the already sound formula.
Your time is also precious and it can be better spent than learning to code and then developing your own or finding a developer and waiting for them to complete it. There are already so many high-quality plugins available that can be downloaded, installed, and configured within a matter of minutes. You could have customer reviews ready 10 minutes after finishing this article! Why wait?
This is especially important if you are starting a new business. Even the most expensive customer review apps won’t cost nearly as much as hiring a developer or team of developers to make one from scratch for you. Margins are tight in those first few crucial months and you can’t indulge any unnecessary expenses.
As you can see, there really is no reason why you should not have customer reviews and no reason why you shouldn’t rely on plugins to provide you with this functionality.
Common Customer Review Plugin Features
WordPress powers 26% of the web and has become the go-to platform for anyone who wants a new website fast and without extensive web development skills.As such, it has become almost synonymous with plugins that promise much of the same to this kind of users. There are already 50,000 free plugins in the WordPress repository and many more premium ones. Simply searching for “customer review” in the plugin repository already provides 563 results.
With this amount of plugins available, you might wonder what to look for to distinguish the best ones. Most plugins with a decent rating should do everything you need to but just in case you want some extra guidance we will provide you with this list.
This one should be a no-brainer. Any plugin worth its salt should provide a good interface with which the customer interacts. If it’s confusing, not obvious or would take longer to use, most users will simply skip it without a second thought. Try to see what it would look like before you make a decision.
This is another important feature. While it’s important to be transparent and honest and display good and bad reviews, some users will try to post reviews that are simply too vulgar or blatantly untrue to allow on your product pages. Most review plugins will give you the option to approve reviews before letting them be posted.
Integration with e-commerce
WooCommerce is the biggest and most popular e-commerce plugin for WordPress. Chances are, if you are using WordPress for your online store, that you are using this plugin. If you are using something else, then it’s equally important to make sure that the plugin is compatible with your site.
There can be many other features such as layout customization, the ability to add schema markup, shortcodes, adding extra rating criteria, etc. Lastly, it’s important that you establish what features are free (if any) and which are paid.