Want More Customer Reviews? Ask For Them!

Get Lots of Customer ReviewsThere’s no denying that Product Reviews for an ecommerce store increase sales. People love reading about what other people think of a product they are considering to purchase. Good or bad, the mere presence of reviews lends credibility to the product. But how can your small or new online shop get more reviews to take advantage of this powerful marketing feature?

First, the Stats:

  • Jason Billingsley, a leading ecommerce entrepreneur recently stated “Over 40% of customers who opened our review request email left a product review”.
  • 77% of online shoppers consider reviews and ratings in their purchase decision (Jupiter)
  • Golfsmith saw a 42% increase in click throughs by including ratings/reviews in emails (Shop.org summit)
  • Giving shoppers the ability to sort products within a category by customer rating led to a sales increase of 41% per unique visitor. (PETCO)
  • 63% of consumers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews. (iPerceptions study, January 2008)

How To Get More Customer Reviews

Here are a few tips on building up product reviews for your ecommerce site:

  • Send a follow-up email asking customers to leave a review
    As the first statistic above demonstrated, simply asking for a review can result in a high percentage of shoppers coming back to leave a review. However, make sure you:
    1) Send the follow-up only after enough time has elapsed for the customer to have received the item and had time to use it. Send it too early, they have nothing to review. Send it too late, and they’ve forgotten about the purchase.
    -and-
    2) Make sure the email has a direct link to either the product’s detailed more information page, or to the review page for that specific product.
  • Offer an incentive for submitting a review
    Many people do not have the time or energy to submit reviews. They often need a reason (hopefully not due to a poor product experience) to sit down and write out their thoughts and feelings. A few things you could try:
    1) Have a contest – Offer a gift certificate, coupon, free product, etc… to the lucky winner
    2) Feature power reviewers – Have a page that highlights people who have submitted the most reviews, or the best quality reviews
    3) Reward first time reviewers – This is a slippery slope, as you do not want to appear to be buying reviews, but if done correctly, can be a boost to generating lots of new reviews.
  • Make a review easy to submit
    Review forms should be easy to find, easy to fill out, and only ask for the minimum information needed to post the review. Look at some of the top e-tailers like Amazon to see how they solicit feedback on products.
Submit a Review

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  • Follow up on bad reviews
    If someone submits a bad review, you should still publish it (although some editing may be in order to keep it clean). Then either follow up privately with the reviewer, or if needed, respond publicly in the review itself to clear up mis-conceptions. But do NOT feel the need to respond to every criticism. Let your products speak for themselves, and other customers will defend the product if it’s worthy of being defended.

Promote the Customer Reviews

Once your store has a good number of reviews, think about adding a “Top Rated” section on the site, or allow customers to sort products on a page by customer rating. Put the reviews to work so it’s easy for potential buyers to find the reviews and use them to make informed purchases.

LexiConn’s ShopSite Product Review Add-on Module

If you are using ShopSite for your ecommerce solution, we have developed a full featured customer reviews add-on module that integrates seamlessly with any website. The module allows customers to easily submit reviews, and gives the merchant full control over the layout, ability to moderate/edit reviews submitted, and determine how they are displayed.

Our latest update adds the ability to automatically send a follow-up email to customers who complete a purchase asking them to reviews the products they just bought. The email will contain direct links to the reviews for each product, making it easy for customers to submit a review. The merchant can set the number of days to wait before the email is sent.

Don’t be afraid to ask your customers to submit a review. The worst thing they can do is say no, but not asking them will result in them not even pondering the possibility.

What else can merchants do to obtain more reviews?

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3 Comments

  1. “Offer an incentive for submitting a review
    Many people do not have the time or energy to submit reviews. They often need a reason (hopefully not due to a poor product experience) to sit down and write out their thoughts and feelings. A few things you could try:
    1) Have a contest – Offer a gift certificate, coupon, free product, etc… to the lucky winner”

    This is the problem with reviews that involves rewards such as this as it will produce reviews that’s not honest at all. I always believe that an honest review from consumers doesn’t require rewards at all.

  2. I agree Jonathan that a review that is given without any incentive is worth its weight in gold. But sometimes to jump start reviews, you have to offer something (even just a contest with a random draw) to kick off the review submissions.

  3. “People love reading about what other people think of a product they are considering to purchase.”I am one of those people who read product reviews especially when I am torn between two products. Reviews help me to decide and I recommend this to my friends.

Leave a Reply to Rob Mangiafico