Merchant Ratings – What are Merchant Ratings and Why Do They Matter?
Simply put, merchant ratings can help increase clickthrough rates (CTR) and revenue. In fact, on average, AdWords ads with merchant ratings get 17% higher CTR than the same ads without ratings.
By adding Google Seller Rating Extensions to your AdWords Ads, potential customers are able to easily identify merchants with high-ratings and make informed decisions about purchasing products or services from your company.
Merchant Ratings include ratings about the company—not the product
These rating extensions provide customer-submitted ratings next to a seller’s AdWords ads. Rather than providing ratings based on particular products, the merchant rating includes information about the customers’ buying experience from the company. These ratings show up next to AdWords ads on internet browsers—including smart phones.
How to install Merchant Ratings
Only certain ads are eligible to appear with seller rating extensions. After meeting the criteria and opting into merchant ratings your merchant ratings will show up next to your ads on Google.com and Google search partners.
- Your campaign must be opted in to Google search.
- Your business must have at least 30 unique reviews and a rating of four stars or higher on Google Product Search
Opt into Merchant Ratings
After you determine whether or not you meet the criteria, you can move forward with installing the Google Ratings Extensions. Opting in is easy—just submit your information to through a Google form.
If you change your mind, you can use the same form to disable the rating from appearing alongside your ads. Response time is quick–changes are typically made within 48 hours.
Where Do Merchant Ratings Come From?
Google Product Search seller ratings consist of an aggregate ratings score with snippets of customer reviews from third-party sites and Google Checkout. That can seem a little bit ambiguous–so, where do the ratings actually come from?
Companies that Provide Merchant Rating Services
In an effort to be fair, Google does not use just one site to generate ratings for sellers. Since there are multiple review sources, the seller ratings are very reliable.
Merchant ratings come from two sources–Comparison Shopping Engine’s (CSEs) and review sites. Merchants can integrate both into post-purchasing review processes.
Here is a list of common sources for Google seller ratings, and the cost for a merchant account with each service.
Bizrate provides customers with a way to navigate online retailers. Retailers use this information to discover how to give the best customer service experience to shoppers.
Cost: There is no set up fee for the review program but Shopzilla does provide a CPC traffic program where you only pay for clicks directed to your online store. Product listings will appear across the Shopzilla Sites (including BizRate and AOL’s InStore.com). Bidding tools allow you to specify the CPC and include the option for merchant ratings.
PriceGrabber offers consumers comparison-shopping. Consumers are able to find and compare millions of products in 25 different categories.
Cost: Fees are CPC and start at $.25, depending on the category of the merchandise.
Epinions helps people make informed buying decisions. A service of Shopping.com, Inc., the company strives to help people use online information to find, compare and buy anything.
Cost: Shopping, Inc. fees are CPC, as well. They start at $.05 depending on the category.
Reviews and ratings help people make informed decisions about businesses and services. At a glance, people can see how people liked a company based on a 1 to 5 star scale.
Cost: Add a basic business listing for free. An enhanced listing, including photos and a detailed business description is $9.99 per month.
Real people share reviews of products and services.
Cost: Free. Email Review Center and include your logo and any information you’d like included and they will post it within 14 days.
Over 250,000 members rate consumer products and help other people make smarter purchase decisions.
Cost: Free. If your products are not already listed, email Viewpoints to ask them to add the products.
Google Checkout Reviews
After a buyer completes a Google Wallet transaction, they receive an email from Google asking them to review the experience. The reviews give buyers an opportunity to help other shoppers make informed purchasing decisions.
Cost: The rate of your Google Checkout transaction fee is determined by your sales volume, minus any refunds, during the previous calendar month and is reset at the beginning of each month. There is no additional charge for the reviews.
ResellersRatings is a merchant reviews platform. The service allows merchants to manage their reviews and reputation. Additionally, merchants can add checkout exit surveys for customers that purchase products from their website.
Cost: $99 per month.
A review-driven community, Trustpilot connects online consumers with companies they are buying from. Consumers are able to make smart, informed decisions because other buyers share their shopping experiences.
Cost: There is a 14-day free trial. After that, merchants pay for 12 months of Trustpilot up-front. There are 4 plans to choose from based on number of domains and transactions.
RateItAll.com is a bit different from other sites, because it allows people to share reviews about anything—bars, restaurants, music, movies, pets, as well as products.
Cost: Rate it all! PromotePlus program is $39.99 per month.
eKomi is a feedback company that helps merchants collect authentic, valuable reviews from customers. eKomi helps businesses increase the customer satisfaction and sales.
Cost: Monthly fees start at $99 per month, and there is also a minimum $99 set-up fee for new accounts.
Tips for Getting Customers to Leave Positive Ratings for Merchants
**CPC Strategy Edit: A big thanks to our blog reader, Christian Baether, for pointing out that the minimum requirement has been updated and is now only 3.5 stars**
If you are looking to use Merchant Ratings, it is important that you have an average rating of 3.5 stars or above. Here are some tips on improving your merchant ratings:
1. Make it Easy
If you want to increase reviews for your company, you will need to make it easy for customers to review your products. For example:
- If your company is an online retailer, send an email to a customer after their purchase asking them to review the product.
- Do you own a brick and mortar building? Include information for providing a review directly on the receipt.
2. Provide Excellent Customer Service
Maybe these seems too basic, but the truth is that happy customers will mean more happy customers, because they rate you well and will tell others about your product or business—online and in person.
Customers are much more likely to leave positive reviews if you have exceeded their expectations, so by going the extra mile you are encouraging customers to leave a review.
3. Be Proactive
As you read the reviews about your business, it is important to be proactive in resolving any issues. If a customer has taken the time to write a review, be sure to acknowledge the review and thank them for taking the time to complete it.
If the review was negative, be sure to respond and address the issue. This will soften the negativity, and improve your company’s credibility.
So, what’s the bottom line?
If you qualify for merchant reviews, they can be a great way to boost traffic and increase revenue for your business.