How to Get Ecommerce Product Reviews to Supercharge Your Post-Holiday Sales
After a historic holiday season with more online sales than ever before, many e-tailers are feeling the post-holiday slump. Lower order volume and product returns make January and February some of the slowest months of the year, but a simple addition to your online store can give your sales a serious boost. We’re talking about ecommerce product reviews, which build consumer trust in your brand, so you can reap all the rewards that trust brings, and are also one of the best forms of user-generated content and word-of-mouth advertising that money simply can’t buy.
In the crowded online retail space, e-tailers need to use every tactic in the book to stay ahead of the competition and win the favor of online shoppers. Here’s how to get ecommerce product reviews to supercharge your post-holiday sales.
Why Your Online Store Needs Product Reviews
Product reviews are proven boosters of conversions, increased average order value and long-term loyalty and retention. The statistics clearly show reviews drive most of the key metrics you track to gauge your online store’s performance, so they’re an integral weapon in your ecommerce arsenal. But how does the magic happen? We’ll break it down so you’ll see everything product reviews can do.
- Influence purchasing decisions. In case you missed it earlier, an astounding 92% of consumers read product reviews before making a purchase decision. Shoppers trust their peers, so they’d rather hear about a product from another shopper than from the brand itself. Having customers co-sign your products can be the difference between a sale and an abandoned cart.
- Boost SEO value. SEO (search engine optimization) best practices are tricky and always changing, but it’s generally accepted that a website’s content and relevance will improve its search rankings. Product reviews do both—they provide a constant stream of new content, and they signal to Google that your online store is popular and relevant amongst people searching for specific terms.
- Increase conversion rates. Conversion rates in ecommerce start at 2%, so many e-tailers seek out ways to turn more website visitors into paying customers. Tactics like efficient checkout and ultra-descriptive product pages work like a charm, but did you know adding product reviews is proven to be a powerful conversion rate booster? Recent research shows ecommerce product reviews can bump up your conversion rate by 58%.
- Gather UGC. User-generated content, or UGC, is favorable amongst consumers because it showcases your products “in the wild” and feels more authentic than brand imagery. If you allow your customers to submit photos with their reviews, you can use the photos in your marketing campaigns and let prospective buyers see what the products look like in real life. It’s a win-win.
- Reduce returns. Ecommerce product reviews give shoppers an honest assessment of the items being reviewed, so they become more informed before making a purchase. When there’s less risk involved, and customers are happy with the item(s) they order, they’re unlikely to initiate a return.
- All reviews help: Even negative reviews are good for business. Don’t believe us? Let’s put it this way: negative reviews give the positive reviews an authenticity boost. In fact, 68% of consumers won’t believe the positive product reviews if there aren’t any negatives mixed in.
How Ecommerce Product Review Benefit Shoppers
Product reviews aren’t just a tool for e-tailers—they benefit shoppers, too. For starters, ecommerce product reviews build trust in a brand. One downside of online shopping is not getting to touch, test or otherwise experience an item before buying it, so consumers have to trust the brand will provide solid products. Reviews can either validate the quality of the item or warn prospective customers to stay far away, and reviewers are typically honest because they have no skin in the game.
Aside from building trust, ecommerce product reviews also improve the shopping experience by ensuring prospective customers are fully informed. A wide variety of reviews can usually provide a thorough overview of the product, including its pros and cons. That way, shoppers who are looking for a specific type of item or use case will know if the product is right for them. It shouldn’t come as a shock, then, that more than 86% of consumers see product reviews as an “essential resource” when making purchase decisions, and 56% of shoppers specifically look for websites that show reviews.
How to Get Ecommerce Product Reviews in 2021
Last time we wrote a guide on how to get more online product reviews, we were living in a very different world. Omnichannel selling was far less popular, and there were fewer technologies available to e-tailers. It’s time we offered some new strategies for the new year.
First, here’s a little refresher on our recommendations:
- Feature verified reviews for an 18% sales lift.
- Display reviews prominently to enhance product pages.
- Request reviews via email a few weeks after the purchase was made.
- Use social media to request even more reviews.
- Incentivize reviews with gifts, promo codes or other rewards.
Now we can dive into some new tactics to add to your rotation.
Meet Your Customers Online
There are several benefits of having an online presence on the same platforms your customers use, but one to note here is accessibility for receiving feedback. Plenty of customers prefer to reach out to brands using social media, and 78% see these platforms as the future of customer service. If you’re not using your social accounts to post, at least log in daily in case you receive any questions or comments in your direct messages. E-tailers who also have a brick-and-mortar location should take advantage of Yelp and Google+ to show pictures and collect reviews.
Additionally, there are tools that can track brand mentions on blogs and social media platforms so your brand can join the conversations as they happen. You’ll also get a more unfiltered look at what’s being said online and can respond accordingly.
Send a Post-Purchase Review Request
We’ve already recommended following up with customers via email after the purchase was made, but it’s easy to get lost in the sea of brand messages. Personalization goes a long way in email marketing and can help your online store stand out, but it’s not a guarantee. Instead, think outside the box when soliciting reviews.
Are you in touch with your customers on another channel like messaging apps, SMS messages or push notifications? Micro-moment marketing made a big splash in 2020, and you can use these tools to your brand’s advantage. Wait a few weeks after your products have been delivered so your customers have time to formulate an opinion and then ask for reviews. You might be surprised to learn that 70% of them will oblige.
Contact Those Who Leave the Best (and Worst) Reviews
Most ecommerce product reviews offer a sentence or two about the product itself, but some customers go above and beyond to either rave about their purchases or rant about their experiences. You might be surprised to learn that both types of customers offer opportunities for your online store.
The best reviews make excellent content for your store’s social media channels. Be sure to contact the reviewers, thank them and ask them for permission to shout them out online. You could even turn their stories into case studies, which can be turned into blogs, infographics, videos and more social posts. We already touched on the importance of content for SEO, so you can imagine how a case study would skyrocket your site’s rankings.
As for the worst reviews, they present an opportunity to make your online store better. Perhaps the poor review was written because of your own errors (keep in mind 66% of returns are the e-tailer’s fault) or it was a simple misunderstanding. Contact the reviewers and keep an open mind when receiving criticism. They might reveal a way to improve your processes or provide other valuable feedback, and the best-case scenarios result in updated reviews.
Host Giveaways for Reviewers
Giveaways and contests are great ways to generate social media buzz, but the concept isn’t limited to social channels. Your online store can run a “raffle” style giveaway in which verified customers enter by leaving a review, and winners are drawn by randomly selecting from that customer pool.
Whether you’re giving away gift cards to your online store, best sellers or exclusive items, you can have as many or as few prizes as you want. This is a solid tactic for brands that can’t afford to award every single reviewer, and it’s actually pretty powerful. Power Reviews suggests this strategy can uplift sales by 83%.
Surprise Reviewers with Rewards
As mentioned previously, incentivizing reviews is a near guarantee that your customers will be rushing to rave about your products. You’ll certainly see the quantity increase, but there may be a lack of quality if customers are rushing through their reviews just to access a reward. Instead, try surprising your reviewers with small gifts as a token of your appreciation.
Customers who take the time to leave honest feedback about a product—when there’s nothing in it for them—should be acknowledged. Your gifts to them will also further build these customer relationships, inspiring long-term loyalty to your brand.