Online retailers face a unique set of challenges in trying to get us to fill our online shopping carts. The fact that we can’t touch or test a product sold online is a big hurdle when it comes to virtually peddling consumer products. To help you feel more confident in your purchase, websites utilize customer testimonials to tout the pros of sports gear, clothing, books, or the latest skincare product.

According to the Wall Street Journal, customer reviews have proven to be effective sales tools on Amazon and other big sites. Customers claim the testimonials reassure them when buying. Big box retailers snag positive endorsements from their websites and showcase them alongside products in-store. Well, if it’s good enough for the big chains, why not for small business? Or, why can’t service-based businesses do it too?

A third-party endorsement gives customers more confidence when deciding between products A or B or whether to buy at all. A simple card, display tag or sign posted next to the product with a star rating system and review can put into perspective why an interested buyer needs to purchase this item. Think about it. How many times have you bought a wine because it had a card next to it telling you it won a gold star and had a 91 rating from the International Wine Review? Or, when considering two items that seemed the same, you went with the option that had the best reviews?

To get started, gather customer reviews. Ask your clients for reviews. Especially if you’re a service-based business, social proof helps build brand awareness and gives you street cred. Post the reviews on your website, in your social media, include in marketing collateral, pitch decks, and more.

To roll out this promotional idea in your store or physical location, start by focusing on five to 10 items. Maybe it’s something that you are pushing for a particular holiday season or areas in which you would like to boost sales. Another way to gather feedback is by contacting the manufacturer of a product you sell to see if they have any testimonials available.

Researching social media platforms, print or web publications may also yield reviews written about certain products. If you find a relevant endorsement, just remember to cite the source when using the review. User generated content can speak volumes to how great your product is or the transformation that happens for your clients when they use your service. Share to your social media platforms when your customers are posting about your brand online. And don’t forget to ask your customers that have purchased the merchandise or your service, for their comments.

If you have a website, don’t overlook this vehicle, it is after all where the peer-to-peer review phenomenon started. Ask visitors to email feedback regarding any products or services they’ve purchased from you.

Wondering how your brand can use customer reviews and testimonials to create awareness, let’s talk. Grab a spot on our calendar to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.