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How to get reviews from your customers – and why it matters!

Buying online is largely about trust, so if you can get reviews from bona fide customers on your site or on trusted review websites, it can be a great way to build confidence in both your products and services.

Recent research tells us that 61% of customers will hunt out and seek reviews before committing to a purchase – and you have to remember that with no opportunity to see the product firsthand, reviews are often the only way that consumers can explore product quality/suitability prior to purchase.

One key strategy for increasing your online sales is conversion optimisation, which involves the analysis and improvement of the buying journey, from landing on your website to going through the checkout process. Reviews are a great way of increasing confidence and ‘tipping’ visitors into the basket, so it’s not something that should be ignored!

Our tips to help you get reviews

  1. Strategy – as with any aspect of marketing your ecommerce site, don’t just dive in blindly. Work some of the following tips into your overall strategy and make sure you build the task of gaining reviews into your day-to-day activities.
  2. Keep it clear – if your request for a review is hidden at the bottom of a page or email, nobody’s going to see it and take action. Place both existing reviews and a link to provide a review ‘above the fold’ so it’s clear to see where to do it, and that others have already done the same.
  3. Keep it simple – people don’t have time to waste, and they’re certainly not going to spend ages filling out forms for your benefit. Link directly to the exact page where they can leave their review and if you want reviews directly on your website and the user is already logged in, utilise their account information to give them access to the function without having to leave all their details again.
  4. Choose wisely – there are lots of places for reviews to live, so you need to select a few to focus on. If you have an active Facebook page, then utilise the review and ranking function on there, use Google+ (great for SEO signals) and perhaps another well-known review site such as Trustpilot.
  5. Ask – you know what they say: “If you don’t ask, you don’t get”. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a review – and you could even set up an auto-generated email to go out to buyers at a set time after their purchase.
  6. Incentivise – not having much luck with asking politely, or want to kick-start your review campaign? Then you can always add an incentive to your request. Offering VIP membership for access to offers or new product information is one way, or a discount or voucher can also be used to get their fingers typing – but this needs to be managed carefully from a cost perspective, so consider a competition style approach, such as ‘10 reviewers per month will win 10% off their next purchase’.
  7. Respond quickly – if your review function(s) offers the chance to respond to customer comments, make sure you have someone manning it as part of their daily activity so you can say thank you. It shows you care, are grateful for buyer input and gives you the ability to resolve any issues quickly if the buyer highlights a problem.
  8. The good and the bad – don’t be frightened off by the thought of negative comments – they give you the opportunity to improve! Sure, good reviews are of course the goal, but by showing potential customers that you deal with problems well and take responsibility for them goes a long way to help reassure them of your professionalism. It also means that your reviews are more believable – nobody gets a 100% glowing report and 5 star ranking every time.
  9. Maximise mileage – feel free to grab some of the content from your reviews and use them in promotions. You can add them to product pages on your website, use them on social media and include them in email campaigns etc.
  10. Free samples – if you have the budget, you can invest in a promotion that invites prospects to try a sample for free. If your products don’t really allow for that (food and toiletries work well, clothes and products of higher value not so much!) then try to persuade an influential blogger or website to give you a review in exchange for being able to keep the item in question – you can even take this one step further and grab a video review to post and share!

An easy alternative?

Ok, maybe not so much an alternative, than an addition to your personal review-reaping strategy – but if you’re marketing a product that can be fairly widely found on the internet, you can bet your bottom-line dollar that it will already have reviews somewhere!
Take a look around at the 3rd party review website plug-ins available, and take advantage of automated review aggregation to help draw in positive praise for your products, without the hard work.

We hope you’ve found these ecommerce tips helpful and that they’ll help you to get reviews of your products visible on the internet – it’s all part of building your brand and beating the competition, so good luck!

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