Google is ditching its Trusted Stores program to replace it with a new system called Google Customer Reviews. Despite the name, this has nothing to do with regular Google Reviews and we fancy this might confuse a few people to begin with – not the best choice of names, admittedly.

So let’s clear this up and a few other important things you should know about Google’s new review system – especially if you’re currently signed up to the outgoing Trusted Stores program.

What are Google Customer Reviews?

Google Customer Reviews is the replacement for Trusted Stores, but this is more than a simple name change. Under the new program your customers will be asked to give feedback on your business after they’ve bought from you. So, as the name suggests, these are reviews from actual customers and people won’t be asked for feedback until they’ve completed the purchase.

Once users pay up they’ll be prompted by Google to opt-in for providing feedback. If they click yes, they’ll get an email at a later date (based on the delivery information you provide) asking them to review your business out of five stars.

The idea is they’ll have received your product by the time they rate your business. This is completely different to regular Google Reviews, which anyone can leave on a company’s business page – even if they’ve never dealt with them.

Why is Google making the change?

Google says this new system will increase the quality of reviews businesses receive and the theory is pretty solid. Of course, you would rather get feedback from actual customers rather than, for the sake of example, people who abandon their cart and leave a review complaining about your delivery times or checkout process.

It happens.

Google could have more in mind with the switch, of course, but it’s not our place to speculate. What we do know is Google will be getting its hands on your customers’ email addresses with the new system, but that’s necessary for the follow-up emails – and it’s hardly the most invasive move we’ve seen from the search giant. Either way, we’ll be interested to see if how Google develops customer reviews, given the fact it’s created an entirely new system instead of tweaking Trusted Stores.

Some key things to know about Google Customer Reviews

As we say, Google Customer Reviews isn’t simply a name change for Trusted Stores. It’s a complete replacement and it comes with a number of differences you’ll want to know about.

  • Google Customer Reviews will be managed from inside Merchant Center (meaning you’ll need an account)
  • Google will automatically migrate Trusted Stores accounts and data over to Merchant Center
  • Google Customer Reviews contribute to your seller rating
  • There are no review extensions available with Google Customer Reviews – not to be confused with seller rating extensions.
  • You still get a badge to embed on your site but you can customise it or choose to omit it altogether
  • Your review scores can still feature in text ads and organic listings

So that’s the low-down on Google Customer Reviews. We still want more information from Google about the new system but that’s all we’ve been given at this stage – so be sure to check in for updates soon.