Anna visits your eCommerce store. She sees a top that looks great, but there aren’t any customer reviews or feedback on it so she hesitates. Instead, she hops over to a competitor’s site and looks at a similar top. The competitor has 6 product reviews for that item, and they all rave about how great it fits. Which store do you think she’s going to buy from?

You probably already know that you need consumer product reviews on your store. I mean, it’s hard to argue with number like these –

  • 90% of customers admit buying decisions are influenced by product reviews.
  • 67% of consumers read 6 or fewer reviews before they trust a business enough to make a purchase.
  • Products with 50 or more reviews have a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
  • Product reviews produce an average of 18% increase in sales.

Consumer product reviews stats

Ok, so you don’t need convincing. The big question is, how do you get customers to actually review your products. In this post, we’ll look at some best practices for encouraging customers to write reviews on your store.

Make Reviews Easy

The biggest inhibitor to getting customers to write reviews is the process itself. Look at it this way, customers are actually doing you a favor by investing their time to write a review for you. If they have to jump through hoops, they’re simply not going to.

You want to make it as simple as click, type, post. When the customer lands on your product page, there should be a button or link to add a review. If they aren’t logged in, this link should automatically open up a modal with a sign in form. If they are, the review form should become visible on the page.

Don’t make the form complicated. All you need are fields for the title, the star rating, and description. You already have their names and emails because they’re logged in, so you don’t need to ask for that again. Finally, there needs to be a simple submit button that stores the product review. You can either choose to have it post immediately, or wait for approval.

Have a look at how Amazon does it. There’s a button on the product page in the reviews section where you can add your own review. It takes you to another page to write the full review and the form is pretty simple.

Amazon consumer product review

Ask!

You don’t get anything if you don’t ask. Your customers lead busy lives. When they get up in the morning and look at their to-do list, you can bet “Write a review for that new product” is not going to be there.

That doesn’t mean they don’t want to write a review. It’s just not their biggest priority and they won’t think about it unless you nudge them.

Amazon sends a really simple review request email. This one was for a book I bought from the Kindle store. They sent this a week or so later, giving me enough time to have actually read at least a part of the book.

Amazon consumer product review email

When you send out your review requests, make sure to wait long enough that customers have had time to actually use the product. If you ship physical goods, take into account the shipping time and then add a few more days just to be safe.

Offer Incentives

Let’s be honest. Customers are actually doing you a favor by taking the time out to review their purchases. They paid you, you delivered, and as far as business is concerned, you’re square. So unless they’re huge fans and intend to write a review anyway, they will need a little something in return. Here are some things you can do.

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Discounts and Credits

The most common incentive is a discount. Many retailers offer a small discount on subsequent purchases, like 5% or 10% off. If the customer doesn’t use the discount, you lose nothing. And if the customer does use it, well you just made another sale!

With a discount, the actual value a customer can save varies based on the product price. Alternatively, if you sell high-ticket items and you want to limit the discount, use a credit instead, like $50 off.

The difference between the two is really about psychology. $50 off sounds better than 5% off, but if your products are worth over $1000, the 5% amounts to larger savings. Conversely, 25% off sounds better than $10 off, but if your product sells for $10, the % discount is not much.

Contests

If you need a bigger incentive, you can tell customers that they’ll get an entry into a giveaway for writing reviews. Make sure the giveaway prize is substantial. You can even turn this into a bigger competition and award additional entries if customers share their reviews on social media.

Urgency

By adding urgency into your requests, like time-limiting the validity of the incentive, you can get customers to act now rather than put it off and forget. Telling customers they get a discount coupon if they write a review today is far more effective than saying they can write it whenever.

Do’s And Don’ts

As you start getting more reviews, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind.

Do Thank Reviewers

Whether you gave them an incentive or not, your customer did you a favor by writing a review. They deserve your   gratitude with a ‘thank you’ email. In fact, if you did offer an incentive, you can combine these and send them their discount in the same email.

You can also reply to their review and thank them. This shows other customers that you care about them.

Do Answer Questions

If a customer asks a question in the review, reply to it. It’s possible that other customers might have the same questions, so answering it in your reviews section will help them too. Plus, again, it shows that you care and are responsive.

Don’t Ignore Bad Reviews

Bad reviews suck. Sometimes you deserve them, and sometimes you don’t. But you should never ignore them. Or worse, don’t delete them!

The best way to deal with a bad review is to talk it out with your customer first. If it’s just a misunderstanding, you can always ask them to change the review. If it’s a genuine gripe, then you have some new feedback about your product.

If you’re using a review system like the one built into LemonStand, you have the option to look at all reviews before publishing them. This gives you the chance to correct bad reviews before they go live. And if you can’t work things out with the customer, well, you can’t always be perfect. Publish the review anyway and respond to it publicly with an apology.

And, of course, send the customer an apology email.

Get Those Reviews

If you’ve already sold products on your store and you still don’t have reviews, it’s time to start asking. You don’t even need to automate it like Amazon. Just start and send out emails to existing customers asking them to review your products. If you use LemonStand, they can simply go to the product page, log in, and write the review.

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