Product reviews are extremely important. After product images, reviews are the most utilized section of the product page. In fact 95% of customers surveyed by Baymard say they use reviews to make a purchase decision yet only about 0.5 to 3% of them ever bother to leave a review.
So, how do you encourage your customers to leave a review?
First of all provide a great experience
This is the most important part. All the review gathering tactics out there won’t help much if the product, service, or shopping experience you provide isn’t worth writing about. Customers are very eager to leave a review after a particularly bad experience but those are not the kind of reviews you want. You’ll need to do everything in your power to provide a great shopping experience.
Just ask for reviews
It’s a very simple approach. A good proportion of your customers will leave a review if you send them an email asking them to do so.
The trick lies in the timing. You want to send that email after a customer has used your product but not so long that the experience has already been phased out of their mind. This is very product specific. Let’s look at two cases:
- If you sell stuff like personalized portraits or cakes, you could ask for a review within a day or two of your customers taking delivery of the product and if it is any good, a good number will leave a positive review right away.
- If you sell wrinkle removal cream on the other hand, you won’t get a review after two days and if you do it will probably be along the lines of, “this thing doesn’t work.” You need to give the product time to work so the customer can develop a positive perception of its efficacy.
Engage with your existing reviews
This can be as simple as writing a thank you under a particularly flattering review or addressing the concerns raised by a negative review. When customers see that you actually read their reviews, they’ll be more inclined to leave one.
Remove the account wall
Due to numerous data breaches and the misuse of consumer information in recent years, people are reluctant about giving their personal information to just anyone. Baymard recommends allowing customers to leave a review without having to create an account.
There is the issue of spam reviews but if you already allow guest checkout this shouldn’t be a problem. You’ll just need the customer’s email address to verify that they actually made a purchase and you’re good to go.
Simplify the reviews
Instead of demanding a text review you can add a star rating system that makes it quick and easy to review products. You should still have and encourage text based reviews but the quick ratings help you get many reviews much faster.
Offer incentives like discounts
Offering incentives like discounts and free product samples is another quick and easy way to get reviews though it’s fraught with pitfalls.
In America at least, the FTC requires you to disclose whether your reviewers are getting a financial benefit in exchange for their reviews. Suppressing negative reviews or withholding benefits from users who leave negative reviews is also illegal.