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Thinking of using Power Reviews in conjunction with your BigCommerce shopping cart? Let my experience be a word of warning. I have been using Power Reviews for over a year with thousands of orders (and costing thousands of dollars per month), but they show less than 100 reviews! If that’s not bad enough, here’s what else I’ve experienced over the past year.
Checkout Page Integration Issues
First of all, set up and integration was among the most difficult I’ve ever experienced. There was no help or documentation whatsoever from PowerReviews. They only provided code for each page, requiring us to populate BigCommerce’s variables into their code, which is very difficult — even for those with technical skills. BigCommece is one of the leading shopping carts globally; however, PowerReviews does not provide any documentation on how to integrate their code with BigCommerce shopping cart. They will just give you their code and tell you to add it to your checkout page. The problem is that it appears they have not tested this code on the BigCommerce site; therefore, they do not provide any documentation. Had they tested their code on a BigCommerce site, they would see all the compatibility issues with their code and BigCommerce. PowerReviews only provides integration with Shopify and Magento. So, if you are using the BigCommerce, stay away from PowerReviews and don’t let the sales staff trick you by showing you all the great features that they offer because once you sign the contract, good luck getting a hold of that salesperson afterward.
I have tested BigCommerce’s checkout page integration many times; during integration, Power Reviews’ developers also tested our site’s integration and passed it. However, sometimes the code works, sometimes it doesn’t. This means that all of our product orders’ feeds do not pass through, which is essential.
In addition, BigCommerce provides many options for their checkout page. If we change the checkout type, we must amend the Power Reviews code to adjust to the new checkout type which is time consuming and an extra step that’s easy to miss.
After many attempts, I have concluded that Power Reviews needs more work in terms of checkout page integration with BigCommerce. They need to work with BigCommerce’s developers and APIs to overcome this problem. Due to the compatibility issues with their code, they advised us to use their manual order feed to send them order information.
Manual Order Feed Problem
Power Reviews’ servers are very slow. It takes 2 to 3 days before orders are updated. This means all of my orders do not pass through and customers do not receive emails. I tried the manual order feed, which I found to be very buggy.
For example, when exporting BigCommerce’s order CSV/Excel file, the columns in Power Reviews are totally different consisting of Product Name, Quantity, SKU, and Variation in one column and multiple products in another single column (if the customer ordered more than one product). It took 4 to 5 hours to make a CSV file for a single site using the manual orders feed. Upon uploading this file to Power Reviews’ server, limitations prevented uploading orders with an old date. They showed 56 added records, but I can’t see them nor determine where this order feed goes. It’s impossible to tell if our order feed is loaded or not. Since I cannot determine its status, I came to another conclusion: their manual order feed will not work in my situation. As I have good sales, I cannot spare more than 3 to 4 hours (for a single site) after 2 or 3 days.
Problems with the Dashboard
Dashboards, by design, are supposed to be straightforward and intuitive. The dashboard for PowerReviews is not very user friendly.
- Reporting is slow. I must refresh many times before reporting becomes visible.
- The admin area is poor. It is difficult to find what you are looking for, and common tasks like reviewing and editing reviews from your domain are difficult to find and use. The UI is outdated and poorly laid out.
- The dashboard and analytics are both difficult to use.
- Q&A is weak in terms of helping customers see that their questions have already been answered. Our support team moderates many duplicate questions.
- Ratings and review syndication is inadequate and incomplete. It requires a constant effort to update, and it’s an extremely manual process.
Problems with Reviews
It takes 3 to 4 days before customer reviews appear on our site. Plus, not all products and categories are imported in Power Reviews. Seller ratings are anonymous, which is not good, and we cannot make more than one email template.
It also takes 3 to 4 days for us to find out that a customer has posted a question. For example, if a customer wants to purchase a product the next day but has a question, we lose the sale because we didn’t answer his question in a timely manner. By the time we receive the question, that customer has already moved on and may have already purchased from someone else!
When clicking on “write a review” on a product page, a new tab opens, oftentimes displaying a different product and causing confusion.
Each page has a different code, causing the site to become very slow. There is no code for the home page, though, which is problematic because we typically show featured and new products on the home page. Since there’s no code, these products lack the reviews panel.
The category page reviews work fine for the most part with two notable exceptions:
- Some products with 4 or 5-star ratings appear without their stars.
- Power Reviews’ code does not work with the Ajax call function, so we must refresh the category page every time to show reviews on it.
Problems with SEO
Finally, Google SEO is a crucial aspect of getting more business on your website, and one of the key criterial Google uses to rate your site’s performance is its site speed. Once you install the PowerReview code, you will see a very significant slowdown in your site’s performance, which will result in lower rankings within Google SEO searches. They will tell you how their features will get your better SEO results but the net result is poor since your site will load much slower.
The problem here is that PowerReviews does not support the BigCommerce shopping cart, yet, they still sell you their code. All they have to do is set up a BigCommerce site, integrate their code, and develop a code that will actually work well within the BigCommerce site structure. From there, they could develop a document as to the best place to set up the code in BigCommerce shopping cart.
With nothing but problems every step of the way, I cannot recommend using Power Reviews with Big Commerce. There are many third party review sites that work with BigCommerce, and in my next article I will compare them to PowerReviews to show you which companies you should consider for your website.