No matter what type of product or service you’re offering, word-of-mouth recommendations are one of the most effective ways to build trust in your brand. While there’s no budget needed for this type of marketing, you will need to provide customers with an effective way to share their thoughts and opinions. This is where on-site product reviews come into play.
With an effective product review section, you can encourage word-of-mouth marketing directly on your own website, right at the point of purchase. Imagine, just as a potential customer is hovering over the “buy now” button, they also see real-life positive reviews of the product from other customers just like them.
Because reviews create brand trust for a relatively low cost, many online businesses are moving towards requesting reviews from their customers. This is a great strategy, but when done incorrectly it can come with some risks.
That’s why this week we’re looking at the most common mistakes online store owners make when asking for reviews and how you can avoid them.
1. Asking for a review before a product has arrived
Shipping can take time and it’s often the most anxious time of an online purchase for customers. So, make sure you give your customer time to actually get the product in their hands before you start requesting a review.
This may seem like an obvious one, but when using automation, it’s surprisingly easy to email review requests that don’t match a product’s delivery schedule. If you ask for a review too soon, you’ve wasted your opportunity to hear that consumer’s opinion and worse, you might also give the impression that their delivery is behind schedule.
To avoid this problem, don’t schedule review requests for a set time like 7 days after the shipping date. Instead, send out follow up emails at a set time each week to customers that have 100% received their product.
2. Requesting a review before customers had time to use the product
Sometimes people buy a product in the off season or book a service long in advance to save a bit of money. This is normal consumer behaviour but if they’ve made their purchase far in advance, then it will be weeks or even months before they have a chance to use it. This can be a tricky situation but there are a couple of ways to work around this problem and still tap into the positive feedback.
The first option is to flag these purchases and set a reminder to send the review request when the timing is right. The other option is to ask for a review about your store itself instead of the specific product. You can ask for feedback about your businesses ordering process, the website user experience, shipping, packaging, or anything else you’re curious about.
3. Asking for a review on repeat purchases
Customers are surprisingly willing to share their experiences, but they don’t like to be bothered on every purchase, especially a frequent one. If you’re selling a product or service that needs to be purchased often, avoid sending out automated emails.
Items like personal care products, vitamins, and other subscription items may be ordered each month or even a few times a month, so asking for a review every time they order will reflect poorly on your business.
Instead, only ask for a review on the first purchase, and if after a few more purchases that customer still hasn’t left a review, try resending the request one additional time on a later purchase.
4. Requesting a review when the customer has already made one
Nobody likes to be pestered to complete a task, especially if they’ve already done it, this is true in the real world and it’s certainly true online as well. One of the fastest ways to annoy a customer is send them a review request for a product they’ve already reviewed.
To avoid this problem, take the time to setup a system that can track which customers have already left a review on their purchases and make sure you take them off the review request list. This is especially important for high-end businesses that aim to provide their customers with a VIP experience.
5. Forgetting to provide incentives for a review
A lot of businesses are anxious about providing motivation for reviews, but the truth is there’s nothing wrong with giving your customers a small incentive to leave a positive review.
Don’t get us wrong, some customers who have had great experiences with your store will share their experience out of the goodness of their hearts — but for those that don’t, a small bribe never hurts.
If you’re business is willing to extend a small discount on their next purchase or send a sample of another product, you’ll see the number of reviews you receive skyrocket. Everyone likes to be appreciated and customers are no exception, a small token of gratitude is a great way to say thank you and can go a long way towards building a long-lasting relationship with your business.
Does your website use product reviews? Are you making sure that you’re avoiding these common mistakes? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to share your own product review strategies that we may have missed. And if you’re looking for more great content, check out our previous post 3 Tips to Make Your Payment Process Easier for Customers.