The most significant barrier separating visitors from converting into customers is trust, and reviews are the most powerful tool available to eCommerce store owners to establish it.
88% of consumers say they trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation. Shown to influence purchase decisions nearly 12X more than manufacturer descriptions (eMarketer), the jury has spoken: buyers trust other buyers, not you!
If your eCommerce store does not support reviews or doesn’t have enough of them, you’re in a fantastic position. Only a 3% bump to your conversion rate can generate hundreds of thousands of dollars for your business.
Get yourself 50 or more reviews per product, and you can expect an average boost of 4.6%!
Incorporating the capacity to leave reviews into your store design is only half the battle. Getting your visitors to actually leave reviews is the true challenge, but one worth taking.
Follow this guide to start cultivating reviews, and in a matter of days, you can watch as they pour in, steadily improving your conversion rates and expanding your bottom line.
Great Reviews Require A Great Review App
Regardless of which eCommerce platform you use, you’ll be able to find a massive selection of apps available to incorporate reviews onto your site.
But not all are created equal.
Available at different price-points and offering different features, of the hundreds of apps available for your site exists one best for your unique circumstances.
We can’t tell you exactly which is best for you, but we can tell you it ought to:
Make leaving reviews easy for customers
The less a customer has to do to leave a testimonial, the more likely they are to do so! Your app ought to generate simple forms that can be found easily on-page, and used by customers without much effort.
Support post-purchase emails:
Some apps will allow you to draft and automate the distribution of emails to customers, inviting them to leave a review shortly after receiving an order. This function is critical to cultivating reviews.
Unless you’re already using email software that supports automated review invites, this function is absolutely required.
Allow Custom Review Fields
A star rating and text box is a bare-minimum review mechanism that generates bare-minimum reviews.
To consistently generate valuable reviews, it’s helpful to install an app that will allow you customise fields in order to ask relevant questions to reviewers about their experience.
Custom form fields allow you to extract more information from reviewers, increasing their overall quality and value to potential customers.
Intelligently Sort Reviews
90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming their opinion. 40% do so after reading 1-3. (BrightLocal)
When reviews are intelligently sorted, you can ensure that the first reviews your viewers read are of the highest quality.
Something as simple as a thumbs-up or thumbs-down option readers can use to assess review value
Making a Review-Generation Machine With Science
Once you have a powerful platform on which to start cultivating reviews, it’s time to turn your attention to generating them.
To do this, we have to engage in a bit of a science experiment.
Our objective is to craft the perfect email review invitation. One that we know can optimally capture reviews from customers.
Here’s how to do it:
1) Find, or Make, Some Guinea Pigs
Our experiment requires subjects.
If you’ve already got a decently large pool of customer emails, finding subjects to experiment on is easy. All it takes is selecting a portion of your available emails at random.
If you don’t have customer emails, then you’ll have to get crafty. Turn to your social networks and reach out to friends and family. Offer them the deepest discounts you can support to generate sales and use them as your Guinea pigs.
A Brief Warning From Goldilocks
The more emails you include as ‘subjects’ for your experiment, the more reliable your results will be.
However, you don’t want your subject pool to be so large that you don’t have customers left over to send the email you’ll get at the end of this process.
Striking the right balance is going to look different for every business, so you’ll have to use your discretion. Just keep in mind:
The more customers you use to experiment, the better an email you’ll get, but the fewer emails you’ll have left over to use it on!
2) Craft Your Experimental Emails
Using your review app or email automation software, pick an email template that matches your branding. You’ll want to make sure that every email you’re about to write keeps the same template, so pick a nice one!
What you want to do is write a few different emails that you can send to ask customers for reviews on products.
To keep things simple, only write 3-5 emails, and keep their copy as distinct as possible. Play around with tone, subject lines, and CTA’s until you’ve ironed out a few. Remember, you’re experimenting, so don’t be afraid of getting experimental!
Maybe start one with a joke and load it with emoji’s. Try making another ultra-professional and to the point. Consider writing up a casual invite, like a conversation between friends.
You’ll know better than anyone else what is and isn’t appropriate for your audience, but don’t shoe-horn yourself into writing the same email in 3-5 different ways!
3) Send Them Out, Record Results
Each email should be sent out to the same number of people, ideally no less than 20 per email. Any less than this and you can’t reliably track the successes and failures of your efforts!
After a period of time (give it at least a day), you’ll be able to see which emails have strong response rates, and which do not.
Not only do you now have a bunch of new product reviews, but you’ve been equipped with valuable information you can use to generate even more.
Let’s say your joke-opener email was a terrific success with a 12/20 response rate. Maybe your causal opener got 8/20. We’ll say your professional email got 3/20. This indicates that your audience likes to keep things light and easy, and isn’t
This indicates that your audience likes to keep things light and easy, and isn’t receptive to dry/boring copy.
If you want (and have more email addresses to spare), you can repeat the above process, but this time with 3-5 versions of the same successful email!
Change a subject line here, a CTA there, and send them out. Wait a period, track results, and see which efforts worked best! Wash, rinse, repeat,
Wash, rinse, repeat; and you can continue to optimise your email!
Another Important Insight From Goldilocks
Completely different emails are going to generate completely different results.
Sending out slightly different emails will only produce slightly different results.
It might be worthwhile to refine your first successful email a little, but don’t overdo it.
You’ll never create the perfect email, and as you refine further and further, improvements become smaller and smaller.
Generating minor improvements at the expense of your time and energy isn’t worth it. So while you shouldn’t settle for a response rate that is too small, you also shouldn’t chase one that is too large! When you’ve arrived at one that is good enough, move onto the next stage!
4) Deploy Your Review Invite
You’ve done it. You’ve used science to create a weapon of mass (review) production.
More than just arbitrary copy on an email, you’ve got a tool with which you know you can consistently generate customer reviews.
Using it starts by sending it off to every customer email you’ve got to generate the hundreds of reviews you read this article for, but it doesn’t end there!
Input this copy into post-purchase automated emails, and it will continue to reliably generate reviews long into the future.
More than this, your experience has equipped you with a method you can continue to use long into the future to consistently refine, adjust, and optimise your email to generate more and more reviews and testimonials!