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Product reviews are table stakes for ecommerce brands today.They increase brand-to-consumer trust, inspire product development, nurture relationships with loyal customers, and most importantly, drive conversions.In fact, data shows that 95% of customers read reviews before making a purchase. On top of that, 79% of shoppers trust the reviews they read online as much as personal recommendations (Oberlo).And we’re not the only ones making this claim. Logan Grasby, Ecommerce Growth Lead at healthy meal delivery brand InspiredGo, shares the same opinion:“When a customer lands on your site for the first time, one of your overarching goals should be to build their trust that your brand will deliver the product and value that you promise. The more reviews you receive the more of an opportunity your customer has to see authentic responses to your amazing product.”Both brands and data agree: customers want to read more reviews in order to make an informed purchase decision.How can you drive more reviews? We’ll share the top 10 ways you can collect more reviews right here.
1. Gamify reviews by turning them into a contest
Turning any task into a game makes it enjoyable, and the same goes for encouraging your customers to leave reviews.One way to gamify the experience is to turn it into a contest, which the fashion brand Dynamite does after customers make an order.Dynamite offers shoppers the chance to win a $100 gift card once a month if they leave a review on their most recent order.
2. Ask for reviews in your post-purchase email flow
Keep your email straight-forward, and customers should only need to click once to leave a review. If you make the process too complicated, people are sure to abandon the review before finishing it.More importantly, send your email at a time when your customer has seen value from your product, meaning you shouldn’t ask for a review before it even arrives.For example, Logan Grasby from InspiredGo triggers their review request based on the customer’s shipment status. “Our review request emails are triggered by an order and delayed so we know the customer will have actually received the product by the time the email is sent. This email is dynamically populated with the customer's order, and allows the customer to quickly review their entire order,” he said.Another good example would be Casper, where they send out an email asking for reviews after a purchase is made.
Pro tip: Be strategic with your targeting by setting up conditional splits. For example, if a user purchased something but then requested a return or exchange, they shouldn’t receive a review request. When users do this, make sure they either stop receiving emails or flow into a different sequence.You can also set up triggers so only users who have made a purchase previously, are asked to leave a review.
“Returning customers are more likely to submit a review and it’s more likely to be positive. Instead of spoiling your first post-purchase engagement with a desperate plea for approval, ask first-time buyers more productive questions and focus on getting reviews from your more engaged subset of shoppers.”Matt Bahr, CEO at Fairing
3. Prioritize your customer experience
At TCHO, a popular chocolate brand, focusing on shipping fast and keeping the chocolate from melting while traveling to the customer’s home is how they maintain a positive customer experience.The speed and care for quality throughout the purchase process make it easier for customers to leave a positive review.Josh Mohr, VP of Marketing, said their customer experience “helps drive the purchaser to click through that email once they receive it a few days later asking for a review.”Customers will be more likely to share if you just have a good product and an excellent shopping experience that they can praise in the first place.Keep in mind that it’s easier for customers to remember bad experiences, so really aim to provide a positive experience that people want to leave a good review—and that they’ll remember it long-term.
4. Add QR codes with product shipments
QR codes aren’t a new digital marketing idea. Brands use them to grow their SMS list, email list, and social media following. But one brand uses QR codes for a different goal: to collect reviews.“We started putting review QR codes directly on the product packaging, allowing the customer to scan their item and leave a review for the specific product. This produced a notable boost in individual product reviews!” shared Logan of InspiredGo.
Clearly, your online channels aren’t the only way to collect product reviews. Offline channels can work too—when executed well.
5. Offer reasonable rewards
Incentivizing a customer for a review can be a double-edged sword. You want unbiased reviews and to keep costs low.Josh Mohr of TCHO, suggests offering a reasonable reward: “If you offer an incentive, do at most 10% off your next purchase. A minimal offer like this does help conversion rate of reviews, while not seeming too needy or breaking the bank from a margin perspective.”A written review is far less work than a video or photo review. If you’re asking for more, make sure the incentive matches your ask.For example, Three Ships asks customers to share a before and after photo. If the customer shares these photos, they receive a $50 gift card to Three Ships.
6. Explain to customers the benefit they get for the review
Asking for a review is asking the customer to do something for you. So what’s the benefit for them in return?Your messaging should clearly explain why the customer should leave a review and how they will benefit—while keeping the message short and sweet.Haus’s review email is a good example. The benefit the customer gets for leaving a review is helping other shoppers discover their favorite flavor, which they say in a single line of text.
Key takeaway: The benefit doesn’t have to be monetary. Reviews can provide customers with more personalized recommendations, improve product development, or help surface their needs.
7. Make your review forms mobile-friendly
Sure, a lot of people are filling out review forms from their computers, but more customers are using their mobile phones.In fact, 81% of people prefer to use their smartphones to open emails, according to Campaign Monitor. It’s key that your forms are optimized for this.Here’s some inspiration from Dynamite. Their mobile review form is simple, includes blank space so the user can click only what they need, and features a progress bar so the user knows how quickly they can submit.
8. Extend your warranty for reviewers
You don’t have to give away discounts for reviews. Instead, find where you can add non-monetary value to a customer’s experience, like extending product warranty.Extending the customer’s warranty in exchange for a review is great for any electronics and home goods brand, which is exactly what Omnidesk offers to customers who share user-generated content.If a customer shares a photo of their purchase on social media, Omnidesk will extend their product warranty. All the customer has to do is submit their name, photo, and order number via an online form.
Although Omnidesk isn’t asking for a product review, other brands can use a similar strategy for collecting reviews instead of UGC.
9. Get customers involved in your product development
Imagine how much more likely a customer is to leave a review if you make them feel a part of your business—like their opinion and engagement is key for your brand growth.This is the approach David Gaylord uses with his brand, Bushbalm. Before being asked for a review, the customer is asked for product development ideas in an email flow.If a customer shares their product ideas, that tells the brand they’re likely to share a product review too. Next, Bushbalm’s customer support team reaches out with a video review request. They even share a review compilation video to give customers an idea of what their review could look like.[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJ-VrtafYBE[/embed]“The key is to make it scrappy and not well put together. People don't want to let you down, so the video needs to be as if it's just regular people talking about your product. No fancy clothes, no fancy backgrounds, just people who care,” said David.
10. Personalize your ask
When asking for reviews, ask politely and in a personalized way.For example, if you know the customer’s name or how they interacted with your brand, use personalized fields to automatically include it in your review request email or text message.You can go a step further and use tools to create engaging, personalized videos when asking customers for a review. Softwares like VideoAsk allow you to create personalized videos at scale, so you don’t have to create videos one by one.This is how Ian Hopkinson, Founder of Terminology and The SEI Tool, collects customer reviews. While his company is service-based, DTC brands can still use this approach when emailing customers for a review.
When using video to ask for a review, Ian shared a few best practices with us:
- Keep it personal and casual (not too polished).
- Make it easy and interactive.
- Give them options for answering (short answer, long answer, multiple-choice).
“I’ve consulted for some big brands in Australia and they forget about one-on-one interactions being so important for customers to feel seen.”- Ian Hopkinson
Reviews can drive new opportunities
Now that you have a group of engaged customers, take your relationship to the next level. These customers are great candidates for signing up for your loyalty program, joining your subscription program, or referring a friend.“Too many brands underestimate the art of operationalizing customer feedback, and reviews are a classic example,” said Matt Bahr, CEO at Fairing explains that, “A review submission should trigger an entire workflow that touches multiple parts of your business. A bad review routing to your customer service platform, a positive review routing to your referral service, and segmentation occurring, so you always have an email list on-hand of ‘brand advocates’ and ‘potential churners.’”Remember, great brands listen to their customers and iterate on products based on their feedback. So start collecting, reviewing, and iterating in a weekly or monthly cycle to ensure you’re always producing the highest quality product and customer experience.