How do you encourage customers to review a product?
In my previous blog I discussed the issue of negative product reviews, and mentioned some research that showed negative product reviews were beneficial as they added credibility and balance in the eyes of your customers.
Looking around a variety of websites though, you see many sites that have reviews enabled but few, if any, reviews. So the question is, how do you encourage customers or even site visitors to review a product?
The key is to understand what motivates customers. Convention has it that you have to provide an incentive to get anyone to write a product review, and that might be in the form of a discount on a purchase, going into a draw to win etc. However, I found some interesting research on marketingcharts.com that showed that 90% of surveyed consumers write reviews to help other make better buying decisions, and 70% did so to provide feedback for companies to help them improve their products.
So while incentives undoubtedly work, they’re not essential. What is essential is to make it easy to add a review to your products. That can be done in two ways, make sure that the add review component of your product page is easily identified and easy to use, the second is to follow up customers after a purchase and ask them to write a review. In both cases appeal to your customers’ altruistic nature, tell them that their reviews will help other shoppers make decisions, and also help you either improve your products or provide different products to keep satisfying customers.
However you solicit reviews, it’s important that they are authentic, customers can spot a fake a mile away, and you risk losing credibility if reviews are unrelentingly positive or otherwise obviously faked.
If you’re not sure what works, test both types of incentive; try discounts and chances to win, and test the altruistic appeal.
One last comment, don’t just appeal to your purchasing customers to write reviews. Your site visitors could well include people who’ve already bought an item elsewhere, but if they write a review for you, that can be as valuable them making a purchase.
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