The importance of reviews for sales
Reviews are the backbone to every eCommerce store. Without reviews, you have nothing to show people you are a real business.
Time and time again I have people come to me and tell me they can't get sales. 99% of the time I check their website and they have no reviews. Would you feel safe putting your credit card into a website and confident you will receive the product if there are no reviews? This is 1 of the 2 main reasons Amazon has become what it is, the reviews (and the fast shipping). Amazon took years and years to get to this point. That is what makes them successful and this is what makes you unsuccessful without them. People now expect to see reviews.
Below is a great example of a website who highlights their reviews. They are the leading site selling protein in The Netherlands.
Having reviews on every page is one thing, having them front and center is even better. There are different ways to display the reviews, in the very top banner above the menu (most people only show free shipping here), in the hero image(main image on homepage), or directly under your hero image.
Many sites who do add this overall review rating put this at the bottom of the home page. Which to be perfectly frank is completely wasted. You have to hope that the person is still looking that far down.
Your site should be laid out with the MOST important thing first. And trust me that reviews is it! Your free shipping is not an incentive if people don't trust you are a real site...
Think of the sites you buy from. They are likely to have been recommended to you (a review), you saw it recommended by someone on social media (a social proof review) or you see the reviews. How many times have you seen an ad and thought you'd like that product - you look at the site and not trust it so you head over to Amazon to find the same thing. When was the last time you entered your credit card into a site that looked fake?
Ok, so I know some people will be saying "I made a sale without reviews"... Sure there is always going to be that person who will buy, but these days that is VERY few people. You can't run a business on relying on that.
If you are starting out and you don't have many reviews you can do a few things.
1. Contact the company and ask if you can use their reviews. Of course, you cant use the reviews that say "fast delivery" but you use the reviews about the products.
2. Ask friends to try your products and give them reviews.
3. Offer a free plus shipping and ask for reviews
Make sure to have a good review app that automatically asks for reviews. And ask more than once. So many times I am asked for a review and I think "give me a chance to try it out first" or "I don't have time right now". Don't take it personally that they don't leave a review immediately, your reviews are not the top priority for your customer....
So here's the thing.... Make it their top priority! Offer a discount for a second purchase or offer some other incentive.
Also I have come across a new app called Swave. It is amazing! The idea is to turn your customers into your social proof. Get people who love your product to tell everyone about it on Instagram. This also means you can add the app to your own website displaying these rave reviews.