Last updated on December 19, 2023

Suz Morris
Content Marketing Writer @ Yotpo
March 8th, 2022 | 7 minutes read

Loyalty & Reviews — the dynamic duo driving customer retention.

Table Of Contents

It’s no secret that product and site reviews are invaluable when growing your brand. Collecting social proof and establishing trust from the first moment customers interact with your brand is imperative in an increasingly competitive online landscape. But, what are brands doing after the star ratings are clicked and the submit button is pressed? How are brands making the most of their hard-earned customer reviews?

Brands are incorporating loyalty programs into their reviews strategy to build an unflappable retention pipeline. Let’s explore the value of integrating loyalty with your reviews strategy and how combining the two can ultimately drive retention and accelerate brand growth.

The benefits of syncing loyalty & reviews strategies 

New avenues within eCommerce marketing focus on initiatives that improve customers’ average order value (AOV), overall retention, and customer lifetime value (CLTV) by capitalizing on integrations between brand loyalty and reviews solutions. Simply, brands are driving retention with their most loyal customers’ star ratings and reviews.

Recent studies signal loyalty programs are paramount for retention, especially as recession woes loom in the distance. Retaining high-intent customers continues to be more valuable than acquiring new ones.

In a 2022 study of 3,800 global consumers, Yotpo found that  64.7% of shoppers want to shop directly from brands to which they are loyal. This stat, coupled with a 61% higher conversion rate for shoppers that see user-generated content (UGC) and reviews on a brand’s site, demonstrates the potential benefits brands can gain from leveraging both loyalty and reviews.

Some of the most notable metrics brands are seeing improvement by building retention include:

  • Improved overall CLTV
  • Increase in AOV
  • Boosted CVR across products

      Reviews are the first step in your retention strategy

      Brands must see their reviews strategy as more than just a way to reduce customer acquisition costs. Instead, brands should use social proof as the first step in their retention strategy. Collecting and highlighting reviews and visual user-generated content (VUGC) across customer touchpoints engages shoppers immediately and puts them on track to become repeat customers.

      Yotpo’s research on eCommerce stores found that 94% of purchases are for products with 4- or 5-star reviews. This shows how much trust consumers put in the word of their fellow shoppers. How do you get more positive reviews? Offer points to your happy loyalty program members in exchange for their feedback. User-generated content (UGC), like written reviews, photos and videos, boosts brand trust and, ultimately, sales.

      Not only do you keep loyalty members happy and incentivized to buy with points for purchase; but you also create additional social proof for new customers. Whether shoppers discover your brand on social or search, your glowing 5-star reviews from loyalty members are there to greet them. In one fell swoop, your reviews strategy has gone from an acquisition effort to a long-term retention play.

      3 ways brands build retention with Loyalty and Reviews

      Using loyalty programs and a reviews strategy together incentivizes repeat purchases, establishes brand trust, and enhances community engagement. Combining these two efforts keeps shoppers engaged and coming back for more.

      Let’s explore how brands leverage their most engaged and loyal customers’ feedback in exchange for perks, exclusive rewards, and other unique branded experiences to improve retention.

      1. Boosting CLTV by leveraging reviews 

      To start, let’s take UK-based health and wellness brand, The Turmeric Co. They boosted their CLTV by 2x after just one year by focusing on turning first-time shoppers into repeat customers and, subsequently, brand advocates, by building a community.

      The Turmeric Co. established a successful reviews strategy but wanted to collect more valuable customer feedback. Their loyalty program, Turmeric Tokens, rewards shoppers for leaving reviews and signing up for subscriptions and newsletters. Now, their happiest customers — loyalty members — are incentivized to gush about the brand and their favorite products.

      Bringing the customer journey full circle, loyalty members earn points, and new shoppers engage with positive, in-depth reviews. “[A loyalty solution] that was able to integrate with our reviews system was the trigger to help us continue the progression of the customer journey,” says Thomas Hal Robson-Kanu, Founder of The Turmeric Co.

      The Turmeric Co. also rewards shoppers for reading their wellness magazine The Root, covering topics such as pain management and immunity support — then connects relevant reviews directly to each blog page for a cohesive shopper experience.

      Online display of The Turmeric Co.'s "Turmeric Tokens" loyalty program

      2. Maximizing repeat purchase rates and AOV with unified customer experiences

      Today, approximately 50% of consumers want to engage with a brand’s loyalty program via mobile device while shopping in-store. This hybrid shopping experience suggests shoppers are searching for loyalty experiences that are user-friendly and unify online and offline shopping.

      Ruohonjuuri, a Nordics-based retail chain and eCommerce store specializing in health and wellness products, used this insight to their advantage when developing their retention strategy. The brand grew their AOV, conversion rate (CVR), and repeat purchase rate by integrating their existing in-store rewards program with their online reviews strategy. The brand achieved this by focusing on recreating the feel of an in-store shopping experience online. The brand saw a 175% higher repeat purchase rate from loyalty redeemers compared to non-redeemers, simply by rewarding shoppers for leaving product reviews.

      “The number of reviews increased dramatically when we launched Yotpo Loyalty & Referrals — the number of reviews jumped by more than 350% in one month,” says Tiina Tuohi, eCommerce Manager at Ruohonjuuri.

      Ruohonjuuri loyalty program "Cones" online display

      Another brand driving retention with unified customer experiences is Princess Polly. This fashion-forward clothing brand is known for its social media reach with a predominantly Gen-Z audience. They created a more user-friendly customer experience by collecting and displaying VUGC. Rewarding loyal customers to leave photo and video reviews with Yotpo Reviews helped the brand achieve a 112% increase in average order value. Combining Reviews and Loyalty not only grew their AOV but also boosted their repeat purchase rate to 66%, resulting in 15.4X ROI.

      3. Improving CVR with social proof 

      Brands are maximizing the full potential that social proof and VUGC have on retention efforts. Instagram found that nearly 87% of shoppers that interact with social proof, including VUGC on social media, take action in the consumer journey.

      Revisiting Princess Polly, the brand turned to social media to create a customer loyalty strategy that incentivized reviews. By homing in on the wants of Gen-Z shoppers — experiential rewards, like TikTok features and exclusive Facebook groups — Princess Polly could reward their loyalty members accordingly for leaving detailed reviews. In fact, the brand saw that loyalty members are 188% more likely to leave a photo with their review than non-loyalty members. The result? Princess Polly sees a 191% higher review conversion from loyalty customers.

      Princess Polly experiential rewards display on mobile

      The Turmeric Co. also saw similar results by combining their reviews strategy with Loyalty, boasting a 7% review conversion rate, nearly double the current average CVR for most eCommerce brands. “We love the synergy of rewarding customers for leaving reviews. It captures a review for the brand, and it pulls the customer into the retention piece, driving more engagement and creating a better shopper experience,” says Robson-Kanu.

      Turning reviews into retention is easy with the right tech

      Ultimately, as eCommerce continues to grow, brands are tasked with staying relevant and up-to-date in an exceedingly competitive online landscape. By leveraging existing loyalty customers’ feedback and incentivizing brand engagement, brands can create emotional connections and sustain brand loyalty virtually. 

      The potential benefits of creating a unified online customer experience and a sense of community in a digital space appear limitless. Nonetheless, one thing is for certain, turning reviews into retention doesn’t have to be complicated — the integrations between Yotpo Reviews and Loyalty make it easy. To learn more about Yotpo’s products request a demo today.