It’s undisputed that product reviews are a key element of a brand's successful ecommerce strategy. This is certainly true on Amazon, but also applies for other top marketplaces like Walmart, Target, Home Depot and more.
Reviews can sway the purchase decision of a customer. In April 2021, 98% of customers reported that reviews are an essential resource when making purchase decisions (up from 89% in 2018). Further, the same study found that 94% of consumers now say customer ratings and reviews are their main consideration when making a purchase.
Even if you realize you need product reviews, earning them is easier said than done. Many marketplaces have recently cracked down on review-generating schemes, such as offering incentives for reviews or buying them. Here’s how to get reviews the right way.
In the sales world you may hear the phrase, “the best thank you is a review.” This should be a mantra for your customer support team. At their discretion, customer support members can end a conversation by asking the caller (or emailer) to leave a review of their product. These personal interactions tend to convert to a review at a higher rate.
2. Product Inserts
New sellers particularly may benefit from including a small insert, about the size of a business card, in their shipment. This insert should include copy that thanks the customer for their purchase, offers a couple tips about using the product (if relevant), lists a customer support number, and neutrally asks for a review.
Be careful with this tactic on Amazon, as you want to be sure that you are not violating Amazon’s Communication Guidelines. Do not use any if/then language (if you were happy with your product, then leave us a review), or lead the customer in any way. Do not use any promotional language.
3. Free Sample Programs
Amazon, Target, Walmart, and Home Depot have all recently introduced formal programs for brands to send free samples to a select group of customers. The goal of these programs is to help brands gain more reviews from legitimate users, typically for new product launches.
The customer group is identified and invited into the review program by the marketplace. The customer does not have any obligation to leave a review, or to make their review skew positive or negative if they do leave one. However, these customers are often chosen because they have a history of leaving organic, detailed reviews. If you have a solid product, there is a good chance you’ll get a solid review.
In the review programs, brands are responsible for the cost of the product and getting it to the customer. In certain programs, the brand will also have to pay a nominal fee to the marketplace for the service. Given the cost, brands should evaluate if participation makes sense for their specific product(s).
4. Off-Marketplace Email Promotion
Most brands have an email list that they can share updates with. Before your new product launches, you should engage that list, creating buzz and excitement around your new product.
When the new product launches, send them the listing link. These customers can turn into your early-adopters –excited to share their feedback of the latest and greatest item. It’s a simple strategy that often goes overlooked.
Using these tactics will jumpstart customer reviews for your product. Once you have your first few reviews, your product will gain visibility and reach more people, resulting in increased sales and even more reviews down the line.
Managing reviews, especially on multiple marketplaces, requires dedicated staff and time. If you’re interested in simplifying your ecommerce strategy, Spreetail can help. We buy, stock, sell, ship, and support your products everywhere online. Let’s chat.