How To Acquire Customer Reviews
The numbers are in – customer reviews are everything. Study after study has shown that customers are paying more attention and giving more value to the opinions of their fellow shoppers than they are to business marketing efforts.
It makes perfect sense; the customers are the ones experiencing the product or service. Shouldn’t their opinions and experiences hold higher value than a business’s opinion of themselves?
Reviews are even more important for E-Commerce retailers than they are for brick-and-mortar stores. The main reason for this is that E-Commerce shoppers aren’t able to experience the opportunity of seeing or feeling the physical items. They’re looking at images and reading descriptions and from that must determine whether they would like to purchase the item. In more cases than not, they turn to customer reviews to read about the item firsthand.
Geared toward e-commerce retailers, here are a number of ways that you can build up your stockpile of reviews that will eventually sell themselves.
- You have to ask
- Make it easy
- Provide prompts
- Adapt to customers’ habits
- Choose the correct time frame
- Provide options
You have to ask
First and foremost, if you want reviews, you need to ask for them. Very few customers will voluntarily spend time leaving reviews if not first prompted.
The easiest way to ask for reviews is to contact your customers the same way you confirmed their purchase, typically through email. Reach out and ask them to reflect on their experience. Provide a couple of screenshots of existing reviews to give them an idea of what you’re looking for.
Additionally, you could thank them for their time by offering an incentive, such as a coupon to use toward their next purchase.
Make it easy
Users like simplicity. They shy away from anything too complicated and will run like lightning from anything that requires more than just a couple of mindless steps. The same goes for leaving reviews – you’ve got to make the process simple.
If you’re sending customers emails to request reviews, embed review forms directly into the email. You can use various plugins or programs to do this, and the reviews will post directly to your website.
As an e-commerce retailer, having reviews on your actual website (and preferably on specific product pages) is so beneficial. Make the reviews easy to access so that users can see them when they’re shopping. Implement a star system that you can put with each product so that users have a general idea of the product quality even before they scroll through the reviews.
Because it’s so simple, this encourages customers to go ahead and leave quick reviews.
To keep with the simplicity of the request, give your customers an idea of what to write in their review. Ask them direct, open-ended questions that they can easily answer in a sentence or two.
Are you a skincare company? Ask your customer to leave a review by saying “How did you like the mask that you purchased? Let us know by leaving a review!”
Or, perhaps you’re a clothing retailer. “Have you worn your new Elizabeth Navy Jumpsuit yet? Let us know how it fits!”
Right away, the customer knows what they should talk about. By giving them a specific idea, you’re essentially doing the hard part of the work for them.
Adapt to customers’ habits
Today, a massive chunk of online shopping is done on mobile devices. If that’s where a bulk of users are shopping, you can’t forget about them! Be sure to to allow users to leave reviews from mobile devices too.
When creating your review system, it must be mobile friendly. In fact, your website and all corresponding systems should adapt to all screen sizes. Chances are, a majority of your customers will be leaving reviews through their phones. Make sure you don’t make the process difficult for them by forgetting to optimize the system.
Choose the correct time frame
Your follow-up, review request system must take place within the proper time frame. Why? You want to make sure that your customer has ample time to use and experience your product or service before you ask them to review and recall their experience.
For example, if you’re a clothing retailer, it would be in your best interest to wait about two weeks to ask for a review. This way, your customer has had enough time to actually wear your items.
If you’re a food retailer, the follow-up time will need to be much sooner. In this situation, I would recommend following up in about one week post-purchase.
You don’t want to be too eager, but you also don’t want to wait too long (your customer may forget specifics!). That being said, do some research about your industry and your target audience to find the perfect review request time frame.
Lastly, provide your customers with options for leaving their reviews. Customers have their site and system preferences, and allowing reviews on multiple platforms increases the likelihood of receiving them.
Google reviews are the first thing someone sees when they search for a business online. One of the easiest ways to leave reviews, anyone with a Google account can do it! Be sure to provide this option.
Don’t take Facebook lightly. Customers highly value the reviews that can be found right smack in the middle of the platform on business’s Facebook pages.
Be sure to turn on your Facebook review settings, as this can be a great way for customers to hear about your awesome business.
Finally, you will obviously want one of your review options to be your actual website. Encourage customers to fill out reviews for their favorite products or services for display right on the product pages!
As mentioned above, integrate a plugin or review system directly into your emails. When filled out, the form responses will go directly to your site. If you don’t want to worry about email integration, simply provide customers with a link to the review page.
No matter what you do, do not remove negative reviews. This is dishonest and can have a greater negative impact on your integrity than a review ever could. Instead, respond publicly to poor reviews and do everything you can to remedy the situation. Offer whatever is necessary in order to make it right.
Customers will see your effort and will be less likely to use negative reviews against you and your products.
Reviews are becoming increasingly important as online shopping continues to stay in first place for retail. You want to stay ahead of the game by being sure that you are taking full advantage of the opportunity that’s at play.
Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews!
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