Encouraging Customer Reviews

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Customer reviews are an important part of every ecommerce website. They give your products social credit by showing how other consumers feel about them. In addition, customer reviews and comments can increase your search engine optimization in many cases. People feel much more comfortable buying a product with demonstrated success.

However, getting customer reviews can be one of the most challenging issues facing an ecommerce website owner. If there is a customer review space on a product page with no reviews, it makes a product seem new and untested. In addition, customers are less likely to be the first to comment; you have to prime the pump, so to speak. Here are a few ways to solicit customer reviews without alienating or annoying your consumer base.

  1. Ask and ye shall receive. Placing a ‘Leave a Review’ button on your product pages is a good start, but by no means the end. You should also send follow-up emails to recent customers asking them to review their products. Make it easy by including a link to the product page.
  2. Consider offering an incentive. Sometimes a coupon or other small reward for placing a review can give customers the needed motivation. Many ecommerce website owners balk at this because it is basically paying for reviews; if you share these reservations, consider offering an entry into a drawing or contest.
  3. Follow good email protocol. Make sure that your store appears as the sender and that the email subject line makes it clear that this is not spam. You should also keep the email short and professional. In other words, maintain the same conventions that you should be using with every email from your ecommerce website.
  4. Keep it friendly. Remember that you are asking for a favor. Thank the customer for their purchase and ask nicely if they would review the product. Make sure your tone is friendly and warm, much as it would be if you were asking a personal friend for a favor.
  5. Make it clear that reviews are important. This can be as simple as placing a line like ‘We care about your shopping experience’ or similar. Customers should know that their reviews are not just a marketing tool, but a way for you to improve their own experience with your ecommerce website. You should also make it clear that reviews help other customers; many people will be more likely to take the time if it is serving a purpose.
  6. Give a time estimate. Often, customers are afraid to get involved in a long process. Leaving a product review should not be a long and drawn-out affair. Tell customers that this will only take a minute or two of their precious time.
  7. End with a personal touch. Sign the email with your name or even with your signature. This makes the request seem even more personal. The customer is not saying yes or no to a faceless corporation, but rather to a real person.