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Have you been wondering whether or not to start using Google Customer Reviews for your business? Or should you go for the paid alternatives? Hi, my name is Francisco, and I am the owner of Planet Marketing, a Digital Marketing Agency. My company specializes in Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Remarketing. The issue of collecting customer reviews is one that I have covered extensively on this blog. Generally speaking, you have 2 options; you can use Google Customer Reviews, which is “free,” or you can go for paid online review management companies such as Shopper Approved. This article aims to help you make the right choice. In this post, I cover the following areas;
- Why are Online Reviews Important?
- How to get Online Reviews.
- What is Google Customer Reviews?
- How does Google Customer Reviews Work?
- Alternatives to Google Customer Reviews.
Why are Customer Reviews Important?
Before I dig into this topic, I wish to point out that online reviews are not just for show. They are important for businesses around the world. They are not just something that floating around out there with no substance.
Here is something that you may not be aware of; businesses that gain one star on Yelp tend to see their sales increasing by between 5 and 9%. So, customer reviews are worth real money. They can be the determining factor between success and failure for your business.
Clearly, customer reviews are of paramount importance. But did you know that online reviews influence the purchasing decisions of up to 90% of consumers across the globe? Commerce has long been driven by word-of-mouth. And online reviews are word-of-mouth on steroids.
You may also be interested in knowing that people trust online reviews. In fact, up to 88% state that they believe in the recommendations that they get from complete strangers. It doesn’t matter that these people may be complete strangers in different countries.
How to Get Online Reviews
Businesses around the world have been flocking to leverage the power of online reviews, but how can you join the bandwagon? How do you get online reviews? Generally speaking, your business can get online reviews in the following ways;
1. By claiming your Business or Page for free on Yelp, Facebook and elsewhere
Across the world, there is a seemingly endless number of online review platforms. Of these, there are a few that are better known than others. These include Yelp, Facebook, Google and TripAdvisor.
Claim your business on Yelp
But how do you get on Yelp? Well, to get on Yelp, you need to first claim your Page. This is done free of charge, so your business does not have an excuse for not being there. After you have claimed and set up your Page, it becomes the platform on which your customers can give you feedback.
There is one thing that you need to know about Yelp, however; people can still review your business even if you have not claimed your Page. That should answer the question of whether or not to claim your Page on there. You absolutely need to do so to have some control over presentation of your brand.
On Facebook, businesses can also set up Pages free of charge. A Facebook Page acts as the hub on which everything to do with your brand revolves. It’s another great way of controlling the narrative. Facebook Pages are also useful for coming up with Custom Audiences when doing Facebook Ads.
2. You can use Google Customer Reviews to get online reviews
This is another option that your brand can use to get online reviews. Google Customer Reviews comes free of charge. However, there is a catch; you may end up having to hire somebody to set up Google Customer Reviews on your site. It’s not something that a layman can do easily. I will explain more about Google Customer Reviews in the next section.
3. You can get online reviews using an online reviews management company
That’s the third option for getting online reviews. You can use a paid online reviews management company. There are plenty of them out there. Here is a list of companies that are approved by Google to syndicate data relating to online reviews for use in Seller Ratings. Those are all online review management companies. These companies perform the following tasks;
- They have software that helps you gather reviews from your customers upon checkout.
- They automate the process of gathering reviews. That includes the automatic sending of emails and/or SMSs to your customers at set times.
- Reviews that are gathered are displayed on your website and on your products pages. That’s important as far as giving people social proof is concerned.
- Some of these companies are also approved to syndicate data to Google and other search engines for use in Seller and Product Ratings.
What is Google Customer Reviews?
Okay, now we get to the crux of the matter. Google Customer Reviews is a great option as far as gathering online reviews is concerned. But what is it?
Google Customer Reviews is a service from Google through which businesses are able to gather feedback from their customers upon purchase of a product or service.
Benefits of using Google Customer Reviews
There are several benefits of using Google Customer Reviews;
- You get to gather feedback from your customers free of charge. Of course, we have already qualified that by pointing out that you may need to pay somebody to get set up. But once that is done, you should be good to go. You don’t need to pay a monthly fee to use Google Customer Reviews.
- Once you have everything set up, you are allowed to display a badge on your website showing your Seller Rating. Seller ratings relate to people’s perception of you as a business. That’s different from Product Ratings, where people are reviewing a particular product that you have on offer.
- Reviews that are gathered via Google Seller Ratings form part of the data that’s used for Star Ratings. That’s important if you advertise via Google Ads. Star Ratings are those stars that you see on some ads. You may think that they are not very important. However, they can contribute a boost of up to 17% in your CTR. That’s substantial.
Is Google Customer Reviews available in all countries?
Google Customer Reviews is available in most countries around the world. See a list of the countries that have Google Customer Reviews.
How does Google Customer Reviews Work?
Google Customer Reviews is a great tool that online stores can use to gather feedback from their customers. But how does it work? The following is how Google Customer Reviews works;
- First, you need to integrate Google Customer Reviews on your site. This is where most of the work is. You may need to hire someone who is knowledgeable to do the work on your behalf.
- Your website needs to have an order confirmation page.
- Once everything has been set up, your customers will get a reviews survey op-in form upon checkout. Once a customer has opted in, they get an email at a later date asking them about their experience.
- Timing of delivery of these emails is up to Google and depends on the estimated time of delivery of their order.
- Your rating will now appear on Google Ads, Google Shopping.
- You can display the Google Customer Reviews badge on your site. This will have your Seller Rating.
How to Integrate Google Customer Reviews
So, how do you integrate Google Customer Reviews onto your website? The following is the basic process;
- You need to have a Merchant account. Sign in if you already have an account.
- Go to Merchant Center programs. You can do so by clicking on the dropdown on the top right of your screen.
- Next, click on Get Started in Google Customer Reviews.
- Accept the Program Agreement.
- Set up your order confirmation page to comply with Google’s requirements. The page’s confirmation code needs to use HTML 5 DOCTYPE: <!DOCTYPE html>.
- Next, you will need to add the Opt-in Module Code to your site. Place the code before the closing </BODY> tag on your website.
Clearly, this is not something that a layman can do easily. So, you may need to hire someone, such as me, to do the setting up bit on your behalf.
Google Customer Reviews Alternatives
The major selling point for Google Customer Reviews is that it’s free. It’s a good way of getting Seller Ratings if you advertise via Google Ads. But is it the best way of managing online reviews? I don’t think so!
As far as online reviews are concerned, Google Customer Reviews is only geared towards a few tasks. That’s not the complete picture. Of course, as Google itself say, you can use Google Customer Reviews along with other third party tools to help you fully leverage the power of online reviews. But what are these Google Customer Reviews alternatives?
1. Shopper Approved
Google Customer Reviews alternatives: Shopper Approved
I need to tell you here that I am partial to Shopper Approved. I have been recommending people to them for years. Through that time, I have referred over 300 businesses. Shopper Approved is a great Google Customer Reviews alternative. It’s not free, but you get a whole lot more as far as managing your online reviews is concerned.
Shopper Approved offers the following solutions;
- Seller Ratings
- Product Ratings
- Automated review requests
- Reviews on your site
- Survey destinations
- Video Reviews
- Social Evidence
- Local Reviews
Google Customer Reviews vs Shopper Approved
|Google Customer Reviews||Shopper Approved|
|Google Customer Reviews badge||Product reviews on your site|
|Seller Ratings||Seller Ratings|
|Product Ratings||Local reviews|
|Cell||Automated management of reviews|
So, how does Shopper Approved perform when compared with Google Customer Reviews? Clearly, Shopper Approved offers a lot more. What’s in common is that they both offer Seller Ratings and Product Ratings. From there, the terrain becomes a lot different.
For one thing, Shopper Approved is a lot more versatile. The Survey destinations feature means your reviews reach the widest possible audience. Your online reputation, after all, it a composite made up of various pieces. It’s not just about your website and Google.
With Survey destinations, you choose where you wish to have verified customers leave feedback. Destinations can include any of the following chosen at random;
- Shopper Approved
- Reseller Ratings
Shopper Approved provides you with Social Evidence
You get Social Evidence with Shopper Approved
Additionally, Shopper Approved offers local Social Evidence. That’s of particular importance when it comes to getting people to buy. Having social proof can boost your conversion rate by as much as 15%. This feature allows you to display the following widgets contributing to social proofing your products and services;
- Reviews are displayed on your site.
- Streaks. An example is; “30 Shoppers bought this product during the past 24 hours.”
- Conversions. These work in an almost similar way. An example would be; “Jack S in California just bought the Mark X air fryer.”
- Visitor count. This states the number of people who are viewing a product at a given point in time.
How much does Shopper Approved cost?
Shopper Approved no longer displays their pricing structure. The last time that they did so, the entry level plan stood at about $199 per month. So, you can use that as a guideline. To get a quote, you will need to get in touch with Shopper Approved.
Cost is where Shopper Approved has the major disadvantage. However, I don’t believe that is important in this case. With Shopper Approved, you are getting a lot more. It’s a full package for the management of your online reputation.
Google Customer Reviews is barebones in this regard. So, is the cost justified? The answer to that is a massive yes! If you are really serious about online reviews, you should sign up with a company like Shopper Approved.
You can sign up with Shopper Approved using the link below. Note that we are affiliates and will get paid should you decide to sign up using our link.
Sign up with Shopper Approved Today!
We have referred over 300 businesses!
eKomi is another great Google Customer Reviews alternative. What I like about eKomi is that it is an all out online review management company. Once you have signed up, you can sit back and relax. They will do everything on your behalf, including responding to both negative and positive reviews. In fact, eKomi prides itself in being the only fully managed online reviews company in the world.
- Seller Ratings
- Product Ratings
- Reviews on your website
- Automated review requests
- Review management
- Social recommendation
eKomi vs Google Customer Reviews
Again, we need to repeat that Google Customer Reviews is great. But it does not go far enough, at least not when compared to third party tools such as eKomi. As you can see in the features list, eKomi is well-rounded.
You can sign up with eKomi using the link below. Note that we are affiliates and will get paid should you decide to sign up using our link.
In this article, I gave you an introduction to Google Customer Reviews and how it works. I noted that the program is geared mainly towards getting businesses Seller Ratings. That’s important for businesses that advertise via Google Ads and for those that are in Google Shopping. So, Google Customer Reviews is a great way of getting Seller and Product Ratings.
I also gave you 2 Google Customer Reviews alternatives. These are Shopper Approved and eKomi. The two are paid options. However, they offer a lot more than Google Customer Reviews. Shopper Approved is a great company to which I have referred hundreds of businesses. You too can sign up using the link below.