How many times have you read a review before buying something online? Nearly every time, right? And you’re not alone. 95% of shoppers rely on customer reviews to learn more about products.
Reviews are a crucial part of the shopping experience. Why? One word: Trust.
Reviews are considered trustworthy and authentic because they come from experienced buyers. In fact, 85% of consumers say they think online reviews are just as trustworthy as personal recommendations from friends.
But for brands and retailers, the challenge is figuring out how to collect more reviews for e-commerce growth.
Why review volume matters
Less may be more in many instances, like fashion (just ask Coco Chanel about her better-to-be-underdressed mantra). But, when it comes to customer reviews, more is truly best.
A high number of reviews has the biggest influence on shopping decisions, even more so than an overall rating. 70% of shoppers would buy a product with more reviews and a lower rating than something with fewer reviews and a higher rating.
Increasing review volume on a product page translates to higher sales and more organic website traffic. According to Bazaarvoice Network data, a single review can boost purchases by 10%, while eight reviews drive organic search traffic. At 100 reviews, brands will see a 37% increase in purchases, and a 44% boost in purchases with 200 reviews.
Another reason it’s important to collect more reviews? Because review recency matters.
54% of shoppers said how recent a review was shared significantly factored into its credibility. 81% of shoppers say review recency is equal to, or more important than quantity.
Consumers consider reviews written within the past month or so to be the most relevant.
There’s many reasons why you need more reviews. But, reviews don’t always happen organically. You’ll need a strategy to get more shoppers to review the products they buy. Here’s how to encourage customers to write reviews.
How to encourage customers to write a review
If you’re worried about asking customers to write a review, don’t be. Requesting reviews isn’t too much of an ask—shoppers actually love to share their opinions with their favorite retailers and brands.
Nearly 70% of shoppers are willing to provide feedback when asked. The following tips will help you encourage customers to write a review.
Send your request via different channels
All shoppers are different and like to be approached differently. So it’s vital to send review requests through a variety of channels. Some of the top ones for growing your review volume include:
Post-interaction emails are an invitation (usually automated) for customers to leave a review for a purchase they’ve made recently. Bazaarvoice Network data shows that email can increase review content by as much as 9X. And sending a second follow-up email can drive review volume by another 50%.
You can send a review request email with a thank you message telling customers how much you appreciate their business or with a shipping update. Just be sure to include a call to action and link right in the email.
- Text messages
If you collect your customers phone numbers and use text messages in your marketing, you could also be using this channel to ask for reviews.
Most consumers are willing to sign up for text messages from brands, and more than a third of people say they read texts within just five minutes of receiving them.
Sending a text to your customers lets you reach them wherever they are during their daily routine to encourage them to write a review. Create automated messages that are sent a week or so after someone receives their order and include a link so they can easily write a review on the spot from their phone.
Product pages are a great place to ask customers to submit a review. On each product page, include a call to action that prompts visitors to “write a review.”
You can also prompt shoppers to write a review in their order history. This lets you reach shoppers at key points during their shopping journey and makes leaving a review quick and seamless.
- Social media
Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and other social media channels are go-to platforms for shoppers to learn about new products. Social media is a great place to ask for feedback and encourage customers to write reviews, too.
Brand-related posts that simply ask a question about a product can attract a number of comments. This offers valuable insight into customer sentiment and reveals any issues you need to address. Create posts reminding shoppers to leave reviews for past purchases and even use social media to showcase reviews that you receive—especially in ads.
Make the process as smooth as possible
An overly cumbersome review submission process is a turnoff. The easier you make it for customers to leave a review, the more likely they’ll go through the process. Ideally, customers should be able to leave a review with just a few clicks.
One of the simplest ways to encourage customers to write reviews is to use an interactive five-star rating icon. Shoppers will be enticed to review the product since it’s so easy—all they have to do is click the number of stars that best represents their experience.
Another way to make it easy? Include all of the products that a customer purchased in one review request. At Bazaarvoice, we call this a “multi-product submission form,” allowing shoppers to submit ratings, reviews, questions, photos, and videos for many different products all at once. We’ve seen a 10X increase in reviews, higher conversion rates, and a jump in submission rates with the multi-product submission form.
Use incentives to sweeten the deal
Everyone loves freebies and prizes! Your customers will likely be more willing to take the time to write a review when you offer them something in return. Providing an incentive will drive up your review volume and turn some shoppers into loyalists who will return again and again.
One option is to host a sweepstakes campaign, where customers that leave a review or submit a photo are entered to win a prize. Promote these campaigns on your social media channels to increase engagement and boost conversions.
Another approach to run a product sampling campaign, where you give products away for free in exchange for review content. Sampling can help you attract reviews for a new product or refresh review content for existing products. It’s an effective way to grow review volume and our data has shown that most shoppers that sampled a product ended up purchasing it again later, along with other products from the brand.
Incentivizing reviews is a way to reward your customers for sharing their honest feedback about your product or service. That means you should be just as open to negative reviews as positive ones. Many shoppers think negative reviews are just as helpful as positive reviews, and product pages that contain negative reviews are perceived as authentic and credible. Requesting only positive reviews is a no-no.
No matter what kind of reviews shoppers leave, responding to customer feedback is important. It lets them know that their feedback matters, that you hear what they have to say, and that you care about their shopping experiences.
A final word on asking for reviews
Encouraging customers to write reviews may seem like a cumbersome task, but in the end, it’s well worth the effort. Not only will you get more content to help with e-commerce sales, you’ll stand out from the competition by letting customers know you care about them and their opinion.
Ready to get more customer reviews? With Bazaarvoice Ratings & Reviews, you’ll have the most experienced reviews partner on your side to help you remove barriers to review submission, drive review volume and product coverage, and improve the consumer experience.
How to get more reviews for your business