We recently wrote about which questions and prompts to provide to your customers when they write Ratings and Reviews for your ecommerce site. Once you’ve decided what sort of information they should provide, you’ll need to consider how to display it all.
Because this is one of the social commerce products with the most content to sort out, designing an optimized Ratings & Reviews system can seem a bit overwhelming. Your customers likely have a lot to say about your products, and you must thoughtfully organize all their viewpoints, recommendations, pros and cons, and ratings.
Most review content is placed towards the bottom of a product page, below pictures of the item and a description of it. You can either place the reviews in-line, so all customers need to do is scroll down to read, or you can create a separate tab on which customers must click to see the reviews. Example one below shows an example of in-line reviews, while example two shows a tab structure.
Another point that may be obvious but is worth stating is to make the “Write a Review” button or link very visible. You should make the font bolder or the color darker or brighter than the surrounding text or graphics so customers don’t have to search around to write a review.
Stars and Symbols
Most ratings systems have a visual component – usually stars. Some websites have a themed symbol instead of stars, like coat hangers for an apparel website or tents for a camping supply site. However, most of our clients elect to keep it simple and just use stars. Stars are universally understood as a rating symbol, so using them avoids any possible confusion.
Once you’ve decided on the rating symbol, you’ll want to put it in multiple places. Our recommendation is to place stars underneath each thumbnail on the category pages in addition to placing them on the individual product pages. Search results pages are also a vital place to include this sort of shorthand rating system. Example three shows what this looks like. However, it’s not wise to place stars beneath products on your shopping cart page, because once customers have added a product to their carts you don’t want to encourage them to change their minds.
Review content with stars will display in search engine results, too. Rich snippets with ratings underneath can increase CTR by 10% to 20%.
Bells and Whistles
In terms of managing and navigating that content, think about:
Remember, as with the content, don’t over-complicate navigation and design to the point of overwhelming your customers. When in doubt, keep it simple.
Once you’ve decided on these design elements, layout, and form options you’ll need to consider augmenting your Ratings and Reviews with other social commerce components, like Sharing and Referrals, Customer Loyalty and Visual Commerce. Then you’ll be ready to start soliciting your customers for reviews. Stay tuned to hear our advice about this next crucial step!