Product reviews are essential to becoming a successful e-commerce brand. Not only do they help buyers make more informed decisions, but they also give retailers a clearer guide on what to sell.
When a new customer reaches your site, one of your first goals should be to build their trust that your business will deliver on whatever it promises — from product quality and seamless checkout experiences, to helpful customer services and reliable product delivery.
Product reviews play an irreplaceable role in this process.
The more reviews you receive, the more evidence consumers have to gather to prove your product’s value. This, in turn, improves customer loyalty and establishes your company’s credibility. Research shows that 93% of consumers say online reviews affect their shopping choices, and another 79% say they trust the reviews they read online.
So, the question isn’t about whether you should collect product reviews, but rather, how you can drive more product reviews to build customer relationships, boost conversions, and reduce possibilities of returns — the following are six ways to help you utilize this valuable marketing tool:
1. Ask for Reviews In Post-Purchase Emails
While this may sound redundant, one of the biggest mistakes DTC brands make is assuming their shoppers — even the most loyal ones — will take the initiative to write a review on their own. But sometimes, all it takes is a simple request to do so.
Once a customer has completed a purchase, your follow-up email can include a brief prompt thanking them for their contribution and asking them to share their thoughts. Let them know how leaving a review, no matter how short, can help you build trust between each another and grow your business.
Not all requests have to look the same, either. Feel free to find unique ways to ask shoppers to write reviews: “Leave feedback,” “Share your thoughts,” “Tell us about your experience,” etc.
And the requests don’t have to stop at checkout. You can continue to ask for reviews upon order delivery, or by reaching out to customers via social media to ensure they’re satisfied with their experience.
2. Automate the Review Process
As your brand grows, reaching out to customers for reviews manually can become inconvenient. By automating the process, you can still send out requests while scaling your expanding business.
To start this automated review process, your brand can consistently reach out to shoppers to receive new reviews, as old ones won’t be of much use. Begin by adding review links to order confirmation emails and creating automated SMS campaigns that ask for reviews. As your company grows, you can even train your internal sales staff to consistently reach out for customer feedback and testimonials.
As you search through automation options, keep in mind that your goal is to create more reviews to build more social proof, translating into stronger bonds between your business and your consumer base.
3. Build a Review System Within Your Site
One of the main reasons shoppers don’t leave reviews is simply because they don’t want to go through the effort. By building a frictionless review system on your website, you can better encourage customer reviews.
The best way to create this system is by researching your competitors. Look up different retailers similar to you to see how they’ve set up their own review process, and as you filter through each brand, keep an eye out for a star-rating system and an easy-to-fill form.
For example, this can include a “write a review” button that prompts shoppers to fill out a variety of questions regarding product size, fit, and functionality, a star-rating system, and a text box that allows shoppers to live any additional comments.
For even more clarification, you can allow your shoppers to leave some personal details, like age, gender, height, and weight. Not only does this reduce friction in the review process, but it also makes it easier for other shoppers to read and filter through various types of reviews.
4. Include Scannable QR Codes On Physical Materials
We’ve outlined some great digital options to gain more product reviews, but in some cases, the tried-and-true method of physically requesting reviews can be the most reliable. If you already include paper invoices in your product shipments, consider adding a call-to-action for a QR code that customers can scan upon receiving, leading them to a mobile review form.
These QR codes either lead to the review system directly on your website, or a separate Word Press review form. Whatever method you choose, your goal is to use offline channels to lead customers to leave a review for the specific product they’ve just received.
5. Follow Up With Customers Who Leave Negative Reviews
While the goal of motivating shoppers to leave reviews is to showcase positive customer experiences, there will be times when customers leave negative reviews regarding the purchase process, customer service, shipment and delivery, or the product itself.
And though it might be easier to shy away from these particular reviews, you can actually use them to your advantage in prioritizing the customer experience.
Whether or not you believe the customer is justified in their complaints, it doesn’t hurt to politely respond to their questions or concerns and offer your support. Not only does responding to these types of reviews improve your ongoing reputation with customers, but it also shows negative reviewers that you’re willing to recognize their complaints, resolve their issues, and earn back their business.
6. Offers Rewards to Those Who Consistently Review
Incentivizing a customer to leave reviews can be a tricky business. While you want to showcase as many unbiased opinions as possible, you still want to keep costs at a minimum. One great way of doing both is offering shoppers a 10% discount on their next purchase, as this incentivizes your customer while ensuring the conversion rate of reviews is steady.
To mix things up, you can also periodically host giveaways and drawings from the pool of customers who have submitted reviews, rewarding the winners with a gift card or a bigger discount.
Improving and increasing product reviews can feel challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Customer reviews are an excellent option for strengthening customer relationships while establishing your brand’s reputation. Whatever method you choose — whether it’s one or all — the above tips are proven ways to make the most of this free customer trust-building tool.