What Really Drives Good Reviews In Ecommerce?

  • Written by John Ridley
What Really Drives Good Reviews In Ecommerce?

Practical tips built on researching 2000 TrustPilot reviews (with examples)

Positive reviews can be, and often are, the difference between making a sale or not. This is what makes reviews crucial to growing an ecommerce business.

This is why we’ve analyzed over 1000 five-star reviews on TrustPilot and 1000 one-star reviews to figure out what you need to offer to get great reviews and avoid the bad ones.

We’ve also looked at other studies on the power of reviews, revealed how to optimize your operations to get better reviews (with examples) and researched the best tactics to use to get more reviews.

To help give a complete picture of how you can get in your business in a position to get great reviews, we've asked two of our Customer Success Team to give their advice: Ben Inman and Celsey Stephens.


Why do customers leave five-star reviews?

In short, it’s not just about your products. To get the answer to this question, we analyzed over 1000 five-star reviews on Trustpilot to see what the most common reasons given for leaving the review are.

Unsurprisingly, the most common reason for a positive review was the quality of the product. But, perhaps more surprising, are the other most common reasons given in reviews.

For example, the second most common reason (listed in two out of five reviews) is fast delivery (just pipping customer service). Our research also showed that late delivery is the most common reason for a one-star review, which just shows how important it is to have your fulfillment operations in order.

One review could have multiple reasons

One in ten reviews included praise for the online ordering experience, so make sure your website offers as frictionless an ordering experience as possible.

Why customer reviews are important

Reviews are vital for a number of reasons. Start getting bad reviews, and you won’t only lose the customers you’ve already annoyed, you’ll also lose future customers.

Reviews are also everywhere, you will probably want to have them on your website and they will also be on every channel you sell. And that’s before you start thinking about TrustPilot and Google Reviews etc.

Good reviews can also benefit your search engine optimization. This is because they increase click-through rates, improve bounce rates and even improve your ranking from relevant keywords.

Four statistics showing how positive reviews can impact your business

Why do customers leave one-star reviews?

There’s an old saying in the military, ‘amateurs talk strategy, professionals talk logistics'. And so it is in ecommerce. Great user research, clever marketing, and packaging, and a killer USP are important, but it’s the mundane details of reliable fulfillment that seem to trip sellers up.

The single most common reason causing bad reviews was ‘late delivery’. Add that to ‘sending the wrong item’ (4th), ‘items out of stock’ (5th), and ‘poor returns process’ (7th), it starts to become clear where the big improvements are to be found, the inventory & fulfillment management.

A lot of companies react to bad reviews by building a slick way for customers to leave reviews - or even offering incentives. But if you don’t fix your fulfillment process, you may have just made it easier for customers to slam you for sending late or mispicked items. 

We’ve looked at how you can improve your shipping and fulfillment operations in order to give yourself the best chance of getting positive reviews and improving your business as a whole. To do this, we’ve selected some example reviews from our clients to show you how they have used Veeqo to get better reviews through improved fulfillment operations.

Get great reviews due to your shipping processes

While it’s tempting to simply blame your shipping carrier, there are many things you can do to give yourself the best chance of getting good reviews from your customers. 

Speed up your shipping processes 

This is the first and most obvious way to improve your reviews, as the speed of shipping is a large factor in whether or not you will get a positive or negative review. While many retailers will often point to shipping speed being in the control of the carrier, this isn’t entirely true. There are in fact a number of ways you can speed up your shipping process.

Four ways you can speed up your delivery times with fulfilment software

Use automation and shipping rules
Knowing which carrier and service to use can be complicated. Shipping rules can be used to ensure you are always selecting the optimal carrier. You can then pass the savings onto the consumer by providing free shipping or cheaper shipping rates than your competitors.

Bulk print shipping labels, pick lists and invoices with one click
You can speed up your fulfillment process by bulk printing shipping labels, pick lists, and invoices with one click. This saves time on every order you have to fulfill and leaves less room for error. This can be a key way of improving both the speed of your shipping. Giving your customers a better experience and make it more likely they will leave positive reviews. 

Control your shipping from one platform
A key timesaver is simply having one platform to shop and track each delivery. This means one platform for you and your team to use, saving time on each order and providing greater visibility of where your products are.

Prioritize your most important orders
This may seem simple to say, but it is harder to do without the right processes. But, by using flexible filters and views you can make sure orders for key sales channels are prioritized. For example, say you sell through Amazon, your customers will expect an Amazon-like delivery experience. It’s much easier to deliver this experience if you are able to easily prioritize Amazon orders.

Now that you understand how getting great reviews normally rests on great fulfillment processes, why don’t you learn more about Veeqo’s ecommerce fulfillment software. You can even start a free trial or book a demo.

How the Gay Pride Shop got better reviews by speeding up its shipping processes

Gay Pride Shop has a Google Review rating of 4.8, which is pretty spectacular. Of course, Gay Pride Shop gets lots of positive reviews based on the quality of the brand and its products. But, as you can see below, reviews also often mention the speed of delivery.  They haven’t achieved this by chance, they have put a lot of thought and effort into making sure their shipping and fulfillment process is flawless.

When they started with Veeqo, they jumped straight into setting up over fifty shipping rules to automate their shipping process! They also completely rebuilt their entire order management process to work with Veeqo.  This has halved the time it takes to fulfil an order, greatly improving the speed and reliability of their shipping. Which, as you can see, has had a big effect on their reviews.

If you are shipping internationaly- make sure you have the right processes in place

One issue faced by many retailers is the challenges faced by shipping internationally. In fact, the challenges of doing so are often seen as a barrier to growth for businesses. But it doesn’t have to be. With the right set-up you can not only sell internationally, you will receive positive reviews for your ability to do so well. Setting you ahead of your competition.

You can improve your international shipping processes by using pre-filled customs forms and paperless commercial invoices. Making the whole process as frictionless as possible.

How Digital Motorsports get great reviews while selling internationally

Digital Motorsports offer premier digital motorsports products. Including some truly impressive digital motorsport rigs. They are rightly proud of their TrustPilot Reviews, putting them right at the top of their homepage.

It only takes a quick glance at their reviews to understand that they offer great overall service and product. But it’s also clear that they have nailed shipping internationally. This is impressive as shipping internationally is seen by some ecommerce businesses as a barrier to growth, as it can seem more complex and less controllable than domestic shipping.

Yet Digital Motorsports have managed to maintain their high level of customer services and ship internationally at the same time. Leading to more positive customer reviews like the examples below.


Keep in touch with your customers

Communication is key to all relationships! And that holds true for the relationship between brand and customer. In fact, one survey found that 83% of customers expect to have regular communication about their orders.

One way you can keep that communication going, without having to invest heavily in a customer service team, is through automated emails.

Automated emails keep your customer up-to-date with tracking links for carriers. Simply by letting them know where their parcel is you can help build that relationship between your brand and the customer. Showing that you care about giving them the information they want and meaning they are not going to feel left in limbo while waiting for a package. So, even if there's an error, they are less likely to leave you a bad review. 

Optimizing your picking and packing processes

One underlying factor in getting positive reviews is by making sure your warehouse processes are on point.

Use digital picking with barcodes to decrease returns & improve speed and accuracy

The advantage of digital picking with barcodes on your products is that the picker isn’t relying on their own eyes to make sure they are picking the correct item. Instead, each item's barcode is scanned before it is packed. So only items with the right barcode go in the package. 

How TCO got better reviews thanks to digital picking

TCO sells a wide range of DIY products. Many of which look very similar. When doing manual picking, this led to mispicks and returns. This is understandable as warehouse teams get tired and dealing with orders that are composed of multiple similar items is a recipe for mispicks and unhappy customers. They aren’t alone in facing this problem by any means. In fact, one-in-ten one-star reviews give having the wrong item sent as a reason. 

To solve this problem they implemented Veeqo’s digital picking system.  Doing this means they were able to increase orders by 166% while decreasing mispicks and returns. In fact, they were able to cut their mispick rate by 91%. The results were also reflected in their reviews. In their marketing manager, Ravi’s, own words ``Customers will not forgive you if you send the wrong item. We now have no more reviews about customers being sent the wrong items.”

The success of this, and their excellent customer service and product, can be seen in their reviews.

You can see all of their excellent reviews here. 

Add discount codes to your packing slips

Giving your customers something a little extra can push them towards not only giving you a great review but also towards becoming repeat customers. With the right fulfillment platform, you can edit all of your invoices and your packing slips using templates. This means you can easily add discount codes to your packing slips. Which you can then use to reward loyal customers, which is exactly the sort of initiative that gets great brands’ good reviews.

How good inventory management can improve your customer’s experience

End overselling across multiple channels with inventory syncing and tracking

A survey we carried out earlier revealed that one in four ecommerce retailers stated that increasing the number of sales channels leads to problems when it comes to syncing inventory. And these problems can easily lead to items being out of stock.

Previous research by us has shown that being out of stock or having items unexpectedly on backorder can lead to bad reviews. And, it will certainly reduce your chances of getting a good review!

To effectively compete in the world of multichannel ecommerce you need to be able to have complete control over your inventory. This means that when a sale is made on any channel your stock levels are automatically updated across all of your channels. Drastically reducing overselling.

Another tool that you should use it avoid these pains is one that allows you to dynamically forecast your inventory needs going forward.

How The Cheap Shop gets excellent reviews while selling on multiple channels

The Cheap Shop Tiptree sells Knitting, Fabrics, Haberdashery, Arts & Crafts across multiple channels, including; a real-world shop, Etsy, Ebay, Amazon, and their website. 

If you scroll through their reviews it doesn’t take long to see how much customers value this brand for their wonderful products, fantastic customer service, and knowledgeable staff. All of which will be a big part of them achieving a stellar 4.8 rating in Google Reviews.

That The Cheap Shop is capable of getting such good reviews while multichannel selling shows that they have solved the problem of keeping in control of their inventory while increasing their sales channels. This means that when they make a sale on one channel, the others will be updated. So they won’t disappoint customers who order products only to later find out they are out of stock.

Use bundles to send your customers a free gift

If you are capable of managing kits and bundles with your inventory management system, you can use it to send customers a free gift to go with your more expensive products. This is also a great way to free up shelf space, essentially moving some dead-stock from your shelves and keeping your customers happy.

You could do this without an automated system, but it can lead to inventory control challenges if you are more than a very low number of orders.

How to get more reviews

Now that you have optimized your fulfillment processes to make it more likely customers want to leave you a positive review. You now need to make sure you are getting as many reviews as possible to really help them improve your sales and profits. 

Make it easy to leave a review

Customers are likely to go out of their way to leave a negative review but are less likely to put the same effort into leaving a positive one.

This means you have to work that much harder to gain a positive review. One way to do this is to make sure you include clear and enticing CTA’s in your emails and on your website. 

Your CTA should be simple and obvious, so leaving a review is just one click away. Notice how the below email from Etsy reminds them of what they have bought, almost suggests they have an obligation to review in title, has a clear CTA, and reminds the user why they should review.


Incentivize leaving a review

To be clear, this means incentivizing leaving ANY review. Not just a good review. Doing the latter could leave you in all sorts of trouble as it contravenes most review sites ts & cs.

An incentive could be a free giveaway or a discount on a future purchase.

It’s also important to repeat, doing this when you haven't sorted out your fulfillment operations could lead to you giving discounts and free gifts to people who have left bad reviews. Which isn’t as helpful!

Ask at the right time

This may seem obvious, but you might be surprised how often customers get sent an email before they have received their product. This is not only a waste of time, it can actually lead to a negative review if the customer is left waiting for their product longer than expected and they have just been asked to leave a review. 

That said, you should be able to use a CRM to automate it so that customers get an email asking for a review after every purchase.

Have your customer service team ask for reviews

Customer service is mentioned in 42% of all positive reviews, and it’s no surprise that it’s an important part of the process for consumers. 

How important customer service is to get good reviews actually varies by industry, with it being most important in the Home and Garden sector. This may be because they are often dealing with larger items that are harder to visualize online, therefore leading to more questions that need to be answered and sometimes a more complex fulfillment process.

If you work in a sector where customer service is a key part of the process, it may be wise to train your customer service team to ask happy customers to leave a review. This can work well because they will have established a more personal relationship with the customer. Making it more likely that the customer will take the time to leave a review. 

Offer multiple ways they can leave a review

For multichannel ecommerce retailers, it is likely that there are many ways a customer will have purchased a product. If that’s the case, give them the option of leaving a review on multiple sites. This means having links to these sites in your follow-up emails, any other communications you use, and on your website itself.

We hope that now you understand not just how to get more reviews, but how important having the correct operational processes in place will naturally lead to better reviews.

About our contributers

This article couldn't have been written without the input of two of our Customer Success Team, Ben Inman and Celsey Stephens.

Celsey Stephens

Celsey Stephens is a Customer Success Manager at Veeqo. It's her job to help customers get the most out of their Veeqo account! She does this by helping users to understand all of the features available to them and how these features can fit into workflows to help their business save time and money.

Ben Inman

Ben Inman is Manager of the Success Team at Veeqo making sure users get the optimum value from their Veeqo account and achieve their goals.

Ben recently held a webinar where he took delegates through digital picking, using the Veeqo scanner. You can watch that webinar below.

If you found this interesting you may also be interested in learning about what is most likely to lead to a one-star review, the biggest challenges in ecommerce right now or about the value of using an ecommerce erp.

About the author


Written by John Ridley

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