3-Step Approach for Acquiring More Product Reviews
:: By Allison Howen, Associate Editor ::
Ninety-five percent of consumers consult product reviews before making a purchase, yet less than half of consumers actually contribute to product reviews themselves (Power- Reviews, 2014).
This is a problem for e-commerce merchants, as it means product reviews are difficult to come by despite them being valuable assets in converting customers. What’s more, it means merchants must be strategic in their efforts to acquire more product reviews.
Consider the following three-step approach as a way to get more reviews - and provide your consumers with additional information on which to make their purchasing decisions.
Step 1: Provide Context
Email is a popular way for businesses to request reviews from customers who have recently purchased a product online. The challenge, however, is that the majority of consumers have very full inboxes, and a message asking for a review without telling the recipient why he or she should participate will quickly be deleted.
Director of Product Marketing for Trustpilot, Jonathan Hinz, notes that merchants can improve response rates by providing some context to consumers in emails. For instance, merchants can reach out to explain why it’s important to them to verify the customer is satisfied with his or her shopping experience and recent purchase. Doing so fosters a more interactive and open relationship between a brand and its customers.
Step 2: Set a Timer
When it comes to product reviews, timing is everything. After all, if merchants ask customers to review a product too soon after purchase there is a good chance the customer hasn’t had a chance to truly experience it yet. On the other hand, if the merchant waits too long, the customer may not be engaged enough anymore to take the time to review the product.
While the timing for requesting a review will vary by industry, Hinz says the typical time frame to send a product review request is between 7-14 days. In most cases, this gives consumers enough time to test and offer an honest opinion.
Step 3: Be Inclusive
It is nearly impossible to predict which customers will take time to review a product, which means that merchants should not be selective about who they ask. “(Merchants) sometimes will selectively ask for product reviews, so they won’t ask all customers but they’ll ask some customers,” said Hinz. “Volume is extremely important so asking all of your customers for reviews is critical.”
Having a large collection of reviews is important because it comes off as more authentic and provides extra information to consumers making purchasing decisions. In fact, recent data from PowerReviews reveals that 82 percent of consumers actually seek out negative reviews.
“Retailers should view negative reviews as a way to build brand credibility and trust – not as something to be afraid of,” said Danny Harris, VP of content operations at PowerReviews. “Consumers are smart. They know that a product can’t be all things to all people, and looking for negative reviews has become a part of the path-to-purchase for the majority of consumers. They look to negative reviews to verify the credibility of the information on a retailer’s site – a product with all glowing reviews is too good to be true.”
Good or bad, it is also important to note that product reviews can be indexed by search engines, which provide merchants with SEO benefits. Since search engines tend to give better rankings to fresh content, it serves in a retailer’s best interest to have new reviews coming in regardless of how many a product may already have.
It will likely take a few attempts at acquiring more product reviews before the process is perfected. However, by trying new ways to motivate consumers, testing the best times to reach out and being inclusive in who you ask for reviews, chances are you will begin seeing an uptick in product reviews (and conversions) soon.