Product reviews are an important part of any good ecommerce business. Think of your own behavior as a shopper: do you go ahead and buy, or do you read reviews first? Do you ask friends and loved ones for recommendations when you need to invest in a purchase? Consider customer reviews as digital word-of-mouth.
Research shows that having product reviews can help sellers establish trust and credibility with potential customers. According to a 2017 study by the Spiegel Research Center at Northwestern University, customers are 270% more likely to buy if a product has at least five reviews. The authenticity of these reviews are crucial as well — the same research study found that verified buyers are “more likely to give four- or five-star ratings,” while anonymous reviewers are, on the contrary, more likely to give one- or two-star reviews.
In short? Your Marketplace listing will convert at a higher rate with more reviews (ideally by verified buyers!) for potential customers to view. Below, we’ll explain why reviews are important, how you can get them, and how you can ensure that they’re honest.
Why Are Reviews Important?
Reviews are an extremely valuable part of ecommerce. They foster trust, increase consumer confidence, and enhance customer loyalty. In fact, the more positive reviews you have, the higher you can charge for your product, according to University of Berkeley researcher Lisa Hankin, who finds a positive relationship between average selling price and the presence of positive reviews on eBay.
Here are a few highlights on the importance of reviews from Invesp:
- 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
- 31% more money is spent on businesses with “excellent” reviews
- 72% say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
Reviews don’t just give your customers peace of mind, but they also boost your organic search rankings. A study by Yotpo tracked nearly 30,000 online businesses over 9 months to see how their SEO traffic changed when the only common link was adding reviews to their site. What they found was that organic (that is, free) page visits increased by nearly 50% after adding reviews. But why?
As it turns out, reviews are a source of new user-generated content (UGC), and UGC is beneficial for SEO.
Get Reviews – Ask & Incentivize
The single best way to get product reviews is to go out and ask for them. The most effective way to do it? Send an automated email to your customers 2-3 days after the delivery date, so that month’s box is still fresh in their minds.
Alternatively — or additionally — you might consider offering an incentive to customers that leave a review by offering them a small gift or coupon for their next box. If you go this route, however, be careful with the wording you use: make sure it’s clear that you want reviews that are honest to the customer’s experience.
Did you know? Including an informative packaging insert in your box can increase the likelihood of customers leaving a review — and a 4-5 star review at that! — by almost 10%. Here, see how to design an insert card and what to include in it.
Look for Affiliates or Influencers
Look for active voices in your niche and offer to send them your product in exchange for an honest review. (Again, make sure your wording here is clear and objective in your communications.) This can help you gain exposure with an active voice in your target community, and increase the number of your reviews. Reviews outside of a marketplace also do a lot to boost search engine rankings.
Here’s how you can start:
- Start with some Googling. Look for bloggers, Instagrammers, and YouTubers in your niche’s community and build a contact list.
- Email each of them separately and ask them if they’d be willing to honestly review you in exchange for a free box. The bigger their follower count, the more likely they may want money, but many bloggers and influencers are willing to review if they get to keep the free sample.
- Try to build a long-term relationship. If you see that this person’s review helped your conversion rate, stay in touch! See if there’s a way you can develop a longer arrangement — perhaps even a monthly cadence of new reviews or unboxings.
Make Sure Your Reviews are Honest
Ensuring you receive honest reviews is simple.
DO ask your subscribers to review your product by sending them an email 2-3 days after they receive it. Offer a small gift, discount or coupon in exchange for an objective, honest review of their experience with you. And make sure to remind them to sign into their Cratejoy accounts when leaving a review, so their reviews are marked “Verified”!
DON’T bribe your subscribers or give them gifts on the condition of a positive (e.g. 5-star) review. Avoid the possibility of customers (mis)reading into your incentive, too, by being extra-careful with your wording; run your copy by a friend to see their initial impressions. Implying that customers will only receive an incentive if their review is positive can undermine the integrity of your listing, anger your existing subscribers, and ultimately hurt your business. You want your reviews to be unbiased and useful for future customers!
But you don’t have to take our word for it. According to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations, a reviewer or endorser must disclose if they have a relationship with the company or if they have been compensated in any way for their (positive) review. Otherwise, it violates the FTC Act. Any type of commercial speech that may be influenced by a sponsor or advertiser must be disclosed to the consumer. So that also means, if you do partner with a blogger, YouTuber, or influencer for review purposes, they need to note that you sent them a box free of charge.
Remember: Even Bad Reviews Can Be Good!
Think about it: if a product or business has only 5-star reviews, are you convinced? Or does it sound too good to be true? We know it can be frustrating to get negative feedback, but a study by the Journal of Consumer Research actually found that negative reviews can help your business come off as more honest, genuine, and even cheerful!
If you handle a negative review particularly well, it’s also an opportunity to gain customer service credibility. What do we mean by “particularly well”? We recommend replying to all negative reviews you receive on your Marketplace listing, using a thoughtful, understanding tone. Now is not the time to respond with defensive language, even if you feel that the customer is potentially being unfair in their assessment. Potential future customers will see your reply to the reviewer and evaluate your business as trustworthy or difficult to work with based on your language.
Engage with Your Community
As a sidenote, keep in mind that the Reviews section isn’t the only way to address customer concerns! Your Marketplace listing includes a Questions & Answers section that allows current and potential customers a place to submit, well, questions they have about subscribing or inform someone else about how your box works. Replying to each question posed by a would-be subscriber or gifter shows that you care about your community and the customer experience!
Don’t miss out on all the sales your reviews could bring in! Remember to ask and incentivize (honestly) for reviews, reach out to bloggers and influencers, reply to reviews and questions, and welcome negative feedback. After all, reviews are an opportunity to grow: in your business itself as well as conversion rate.
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