7 easy ways to get more positive reviews for your online store!
Nine times out of 10, customers won’t leave a review if left to their own devices. In fact, you’re more likely to get a review from an unhappy customer who wants to vent about their experience than a customer who enjoyed your product and would recommend it.
This is why it’s crucial to encourage customers to leave reviews—especially if they’ve had a positive experience.
It sounds simple, but the majority of customers won’t leave a review unless you explicitly ask for review requests. You can send customer feedback surveys or prompt the customer to leave a review directly on your site.
The easiest way to do this is to send a well-timed email or SMS message that encourages them to leave a review. But make sure you give them enough time to actually use your product—81% of shoppers are more likely to leave a review after they’ve used the product more than once.
Casper sends a simple review request email with an on-brand message to past buyers, inviting them to share their thoughts.
When is the best time to send a review request email?
The timing will ultimately depend on the type of product you’re selling and your potential customers. One study recommends different timeframes for different types of products. For hard goods (or products that last a long time), like fridges and washing machines, it recommends waiting 21 days.
Perishables and soft goods, like cosmetics, clothing, and food, need less “trying” time, so you can send an email within 14 days. And the timely nature of seasonal goods means it’s best to send a review request email within seven days.
The same study reveals that review request emails sent on Wednesdays and Saturdays have the highest conversion rates and that it’s crucial for ecommerce brands to follow up seven days after sending the first email. While 68% of customers leave a review after being asked once, an additional 28% will leave a review the second time you ask them, and a further 4% the third time.
This review request email from Skin Mart is clearly a follow-up email and even adds in a reward for customers based on the depth of their review.
2. Make it easy
The easier it is to leave a review, the more likely customers are to do so. The last thing they want to do is jump through hoops when they’ve already received their product.
Walk shoppers through the process, give them guidance at every step, and eliminate any potential friction by:
- Reducing (or, ideally, fixing) any technical issues
- Creating as few fields and touchpoints as possible
- Prompting them with questions to answer
Your ecommerce platform likely has tools available to make getting reviews easier. Shopify, for example has many different apps you can use to get more reviews:
Pricing varies, but most come with a free version.
3. Incentivize shoppers
Everyone likes to get something for free, and 73% of consumers say they’d be inclined to leave a review if offered an incentive. This could be a freebie, a discount on their next purchase, or additional loyalty points.
For example, Camera Ready Cosmetics offers shoppers a percentage off their next purchase.
What kind of incentives should you offer?
Again, this will depend on your product and audience. If you sell high-ticket electronics, shoppers might prefer a discount on their next purchase over a freebie, while someone buying makeup might be interested in a freebie to try out a new product.
Here are some incentives you can offer that have been backed by data:
- 91% of shoppers would like to receive the product free of charge.
- 85% would like to receive the product before it’s released.
- 67% would like a discount on future products.
- 59% would like loyalty points.
You can even offer a sliding scale of perks depending on the depth of the review.
For example, customers who submit a photo with their review might get 15% off their next purchase, as opposed to 10% off if they leave just a written review.
LSKD offers three levels of incentives for its shoppers—a 10%-off coupon for a written review, a 15%-off coupon for a photo review, and a 20%-off coupon for a video review.
In a similar vein, the Skin Mart review request email above offers shoppers 75 member points for leaving a written review, plus an extra 25 points for customers who submit a photo or video as well.
4. Respond to reviews
More than half of consumers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week. It shows you care and are open to receiving customer feedback.
On top of this, your response should be in some way personalized. Shoppers overall are more willing to buy from an ecommerce store that responds to positive and negative reviews.
Yappy responds to every customer review with a personalized, pun-packed message.
Starting a dialogue with customers who have taken the time to share their experience secures trust and credibility, but it also gives you a chance to win back shoppers who might have had a less-than-stellar experience.
Don’t push out a blanket response to every review, though. Instead:
- Personalized each response with the shopper’s name, at the very least
- Answer questions, but don’t get defensive in response to negative reviews
- Invite customers who have had a negative experience to connect with you somewhere else, like via email or an official customer support channel
ModCloth responds well to a frustrated customer by apologizing and directing them to the customer care team.
5. Don’t be afraid of negative reviews
Shoppers don’t just want to see positive reviews—they want opinions from all angles. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since users spend five times as long on sites when they’re interacting with bad reviews.
Take a leaf out of ModCloth’s book, above, and respond in a calm and neutral manner to negative reviews. Alternatively, you can create a two-step review process where shoppers are first invited to give a star rating.
Those that give a high star rating are then invited to leave a public review, while those that give a lesser star rating are invited to provide feedback so you have the chance to rectify the experience before their review goes live on your site.
6. Always be honest about reviews
Winning the trust of consumers is the key to long-term success, so it’s crucial that you’re always honest about reviews—both good and bad.
Be very careful not to alter negative reviews or delete them, or you might end up in a sticky situation, like Fashion Nova. The brand had to pay a $4.2 million fine for suppressing negative reviews and lost a lot of trust with its buyers.
Before you start collecting reviews, make sure you read up on the FTC’s guidelines, which include:
- Not asking for fake reviews from people who haven’t used your product
- Not limiting review request emails to customers you think had a positive experience
- Not placing conditions on incentives
Prospective customers expect there to be a healthy mix of reviews, and only having glowing five-star experiences on your site can raise alarm bells. Instead, provide shoppers with an experience from every perspective so they can make an informed decision that’s best for their own wants and needs.
7. List your store on review sites
Here are some top customer and product review sites to get more testimonials from:
- Angie’s List
- Consumer Affairs
- Google My Business
- Power Reviews