How are you keeping product reviews rolling in for your ecommerce shop?
We’ll accept multiple answers. But we’re crossing our fingers that "email marketing" is your first thought.
If that’s not the case — or if your emails aren’t netting the expected return — this is your guide to fixing your predicament.
We’ll prove that customer reviews wield a lot of weight, explain why email marketing is the best way to get them, and cover strategies for creating a compelling pitch.
Data shows about 70% of consumers read between one and six reviews before deciding on a purchase.
Positive product reviews are evidence of your brand’s quality and boost your online reputation. Thus, sales heavily depend on the credibility that social proof evokes.
And when you take a proactive approach, you unleash more benefits:
The lesson: don’t leave reviews up to chance. Reach out to your customers because many won’t share their thoughts without a nudge.
Email marketing is your best avenue for collecting opinions because it’s the most direct line of communication. Thanks to order and shipping confirmations, you’re already a fixture in that person’s email, meaning they’re more likely to see and open subsequent messages.
What are the ingredients for spurring action? Following are several best practices for getting a response. Mix and match according to what aligns best with your audience.
You’ll garner some responses with a simple please and thank you. Achieve greater success by explaining why you want their feedback.
Provide context. Your shop isn’t a retail behemoth that’s known to the masses. Small and mid-sized ecommerce merchants need customers to sing their praises.
Consider a scaled-down approach of a plain text email from the company's founder. Or, experiment with a fancier facade that goes into greater depth, as Oyade does.
Ensure that you’re providing a painless experience. You don’t want your request to be a nuisance.
At a minimum, it’s best to:
Go a step further with a dose of inspiration. Ivory Raine Candle Co. shows some reviews to stimulate ideas.
Epic Scottys’ outreach is perhaps the gold-level standard of guidance. They prompt customers with suggestions of what to include in their product reviews.
While written words are the lynchpin of traditional reviews, imagery often lifts them to a higher dimension.
Photos — and more significantly, videos — bring products to life. They give prospects a different product angle and can help them visualize it in their own homes. Images of real customers using a product can be the differentiator that influences a purchase.
So, suggest your reviewers submit a photo to accompany their feedback or a video testimonial, as Kachava does.
Expressing gratitude should be part of any customer review request. Thanking customers for their purchase — the original action enabling your outreach now — is paramount.
Keep the appreciation flowing by offering an incentive for their input. After all, you’re asking someone to spare their time for your benefit. Make sure that the incentive is not tied to positive reviews only, and that you’re following the Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines for solicitations.
Some common tactics include:
Timing and frequency of your email matter. Too early, and your customer hasn’t yet used the product. Send it too late, and you risk irrelevancy.
Review request timing depends on the product. For example, you might wait a handful of days for food items or anything consumable. Larger-ticket items could merit a 30-day or more follow-up.
Otherwise, you want to avoid bombarding and annoying your customers. We recommend a two-part post-purchase automation:
It’s common practice to ask for a product review soon after purchase. But it’s not the only way.
Leverage your regular email newsletter promotions. See how Hudson Square Boutique prods anyone to write a Google or Facebook review as part of a contest? It could be about a purchased product or anything else.
Alternatively, we’ve also seen review requests tucked into newsletters as a recurring section or featured in the footer. Again, it’s about encouraging open-ended feedback from the customer.
It’s not your job to push customers toward leaving positive reviews.
Blatantly ask for high marks (“Give us 5 stars!”), and you cross ethical boundaries. You’ll undoubtedly raise eyebrows among some customers and possibly damage trust.
Instead, frame your request as a straightforward ask. A simple “Can you leave us a review?” works.
Any ecommerce merchant’s largest advocate is itself. A big part of the job is fostering support from others.
It’s what makes approaching customers for a product review — or feedback about your ecommerce shop in general — a must-do.
Step one is to use our guidelines to bolster your email marketing review requests. Once something is in place:
Now get those reviews!