Have you purchased from an online store that didn’t have user reviews? These days all e-commece shops have them. For shoppers, reviews provide an independent assessment of products and sellers. For sellers, user reviews can improve SEO and provide social proof.
WooCommerce comes with a review feature, but it is pretty basic. In this article I want do a walk-through of a new plugin called ReviewX. It comes from the WPDeveloper team, the people who create Essential Addons for Elementor, along with several other plugins. It was released in May of this year and the team has been busy adding features. ReviewX enhances and extends the base WooCommerce review system to make it more feature rich and engaging.
Please note: WPDeveloper recently released their Agency package. I had already purchased most of the plugins in the package and when I asked about credit for upgrading, I was given a discount. There were no requirements to do a review or promote their products. As always, I try to give an honest, balanced review.
Default WooCommerce Reviews and Ratings Options
To start out, let’s take a look at the base WooCommerce review system. It is built on top of the WordPress comment system, with just some small additions.
On the Product tab of the WooCommerce settings area there is a section for reviews and ratings. You can toggle reviews on or off, you can show an indicator that the reviewer purchased the product, and you can restrict the reviews to actual buyers. You can also toggle star ratings on or off and you can make them required.
Typically, the form to leave a review in WooCommerce shows up as a tab option on the product page. Note, however, that themes sometimes provide layout and styling for WooCommerce pages, so what you see on your own site might be a bit different.
And here is the default review form before enabling ReviewX.
When a shopper creates a review in WooCommerce, it is held for approval, just like WordPress comments. I created a test order for a pair of sunglasses and entered a review. There is a admin page header for all WooCommerce pages. On the top right there is a button that opens a review panel. There is a red dot to indicate that there are reviews waiting for approval.
When you click the button the panel opens and you see a list of reviews.
When you click on the Manage button you go to the Comments area, so another option is to go to the Comments area directly. Here is the review approval interface, which is the comment UI with a few additions, such as the rating drop down.
I approved it and then went into the store pages on the front-end and this is what the review looked like.
OK, now that we know what the default WooCommerce screens look like, let’s get started with ReviewX.
Install and Configuration
ReviewX comes in two versions. There is a free version available in the WordPress plugin directory.
There is a Pro version that is available from the developers website.
The free version is the core plugin and the pro version adds features to it, so you will need both installed. I downloaded the Pro version of ReviewX from my account page at WPDeveloper and installed and activated it on my site. I knew that both were required and was surprised when I was able to access the ReviewX plugin settings and didn’t see a notice that the free version is required. We’ve all seen that type of notice. I checked the plugin list and found that the free version had been installed automatically. Nice, that’s a better user experience than an admin nag notice.
If you check the ReviewX website, you’ll see in the free vs pro comparison chart. The free version is good enough for getting started. It adds to the default WooCommerce reviews multi criteria rating (up to three criteria), adding a photo, Google rich schema, recommendations option, bulk reminder email, and an Elementor widget. The pro version adds things like unlimited criteria, adding a video to reviews, the ability to share on social media, an anonymous review option, highlighted review, more style options, and more email reminder options. Unless otherwise noted, screenshots and feature mentions are of the pro version.
Once enabled, there is a new menu item available in the WordPress admin for the ReviewX settings. There is a wizard that walks you through the setting steps. On the first step you create the rating criteria. You would customize this for the type of products you are selling in your store.
In the second step of the wizard you select the order status that you will allow orders for. This provides more flexibility than WooCommerce, which just gives a toggle for whether or not the reviewer needed to have completed an order.
Then there are the review options that you can toggle on. Here I have allowed the uploading of an image, the recommendation option, allow anonymous reviews, the option to be able to share reviews, to like reviews, to add a review title and allow multiple reviews.
The third step gives you some display options for how reviews will be displayed to shoppers. Here you pick from pre-designed layouts.
The final page of the wizard is an overview summary page.
A cool feature of ReviewX is the ability to send out a reminder to purchasers to add a review. This will help to get more customer reviews. There is a menu item for the email options. When looking at the email options, there is a screen for the email template that is sent. The template has some variable placeholders that you can use if you want to customize the template. There is the option to send a test email and to send a bulk email reminder. These are the only sending options for the free version.
The Email Setting screen is only available with the pro version and it gives you more email reminder options. You can set the number of days to wait before sending a reminder email, you can add a consent option on the checkout page for sending a reminder email, an unsubscribe page if people click the unsubscribe option in the email, and the number of reminder emails to send per order.
Then the Scheduled Emails screen is a place where you can see information about reminder emails that have been sent.
Now, here is what the review form looks like after adding ReviewX and setting the options. As you can see, there are many more review options. There is the option for a review title, to upload an image, to say whether you recommend the product, and to review anonymously. One thing I noticed, is that the option to upload a video for a review is showing, even though that option is disabled in the settings.
ReviewX Review Management UI
ReviewX has its own management interface.
When you click the pencil icon you go into an editor where you can see the full review and edit it.
There is a toggle to mark the review as highlighted. I approved it and this is what it looks like on the front-end.
On the top left, there is an average of the three criteria, which is aggregated as more people add reviews. On the top right, there is a bar chart showing the criteria ratings. Under that it shows that the product was recommended. The lower section shows the review along with the image I uploaded with the review.
Below the photo there is a share link and on the right side there is a place where other customers can mark the review as helpful. I went back into the ReviewX management UI and marked the right as highlighted. Here is what a highlighted review looks like. Highlighted reviews get a border box around it.
Discussion and Conclusions
Product reviews written by purchasers are known to increase sales. They provide feedback based on real-world experience with the product as well as social proof. The number of reviews and overall rating are indicators that shoppers use to gauge popularity and quality. If you are running a WooCommerce shop then you will likely want to enable reviews.
The default WooCommerce review system is pretty basic. People just starting out with an online store sometimes complain that the cost of WooCommerce addons adds up quickly. If you are just starting your store then the free version adds several features, such as a review title, Multi-Criteria ratings, a photo, a verified purchaser badge, the recommendation option, styled themes, and Google Rich Schema, among others. If the pro version features look interesting to you, then you can add more than three review criteria, the video option, the option to share on social media, a voting system, the option for an anonymous review, to highlight a review, and the reminder email system. It is nice to have a range of review indicators, like star rating, recommendations, and a voting system, but it is possible that you would only want to pick one or two of these to keep the user interface from getting too busy.
The email reminder options are a nice feature for getting reviews. Since many stores limit reviews to actual purchasers, this is one of the only ways to get reviews. However, I think the shop owners will want to be careful when sending out reminder emails. For the free version there is only the option to send a bulk email to purchasers who have not ordered. I didn’t see any way to limit the bulk emails so that customers who purchased a while ago and already got a reminder email (or two) didn’t continue to get reminders. Too many reminders would be annoying. People with the pro version have more control and the reminder email system could be a nice feature.
One thing I noticed while exploring ReviewX and writing this walk-through is that it is being rapidly developed. New features and bug fixes are being regularly released. I did notice the glitch where the option to leave a video review showed even when disabled. It is a new product under active development, so I wasn’t too surprised to notice a glitch, but I imagine it will be fixed by the time you read this. I did take a quick look at the source code and it appears to be well organized.
All in all, ReviewX seems like a pretty full featured review system. They have a public road map that indicates plans for things such as Gutenberg integration, support for Oxygen, the ability to have different sets of criteria based on category, incentivised reviews, and a rank and badge system for reviewers. Those are my thoughts about ReviewX. What do you think?