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As an online shop owner, you probably know that reviews are an essential way to gain a potential buyer’s trust in your products and store. Not having reviews on your website looks bad and increases the probability that your customers will buy from someone else. Someone they can trust.

But getting reviews isn’t easy either. Not everyone who buys will post a review—in fact, most people don’t, unless they’ve had a bad or a really, really good experience. And you’ve been in ecommerce long, you know that bad reviews get posted far quicker than good reviews.

The truth is, there aren’t shortcuts to getting the reviews you need. You’ll have to put in the work providing excellent service and wonderful products but once you’ve done that, you can follow this advice to bring in the authentic reviews your website needs.

But first, why are reviews are so important?

Building trust is one of the most important things an online shop can do to get sales. Without trust, no potential client will buy from you.

Product reviews build this trust because customers don’t have to rely solely on the seller’s information, information that’s obviously biased and sometimes flat-out incorrect. Reviews, however, create social proof and credibility with your audience. According to Amazon, people read reviews more carefully than product descriptions.

Potential buyers tend to not trust product descriptions from unknown shops and prefer to learn what other people’s experiences have been. This allows them to feel good about their decision to hand over sensitive information.

Interestingly enough, it’s better to have mediocre or even negative reviews than none at all. A lack of reviews gives the impression that something is very wrong with the product, which makes it more off-putting to customers than a product with bad reviews.

The two types of reviews

There are two types of reviews buyers leave. The first is the short review, for example:

  • “Super satisfied.”
  • “Sent back immediately. Wouldn’t recommend.”
  • “Fast delivery – amazing!”

Unfortunately, these reviews are too short and insignificant to convince potential customers. They don’t explain why the customer was satisfied or not, why the product was sent back, or how fast the delivery really was.

The second type of reviews—and the reviews you really want for your shop—are detailed reviews. These reviews that explain why a bad or good review was given are much better in gaining a potential customer’s trust enough for them to buy. Some of these reviews are so long, they’re basically short stories.

But it’s exactly these types of reviews that are so helpful for future customers.

How to get detailed reviews

The best—and luckily easiest—way to get your hands on these detailed reviews is to create an automated email to follow up with customers. With the right tool, you can create a different workflow for different segments of customers, meaning that your first-time buyers will receive a different follow-up email than your dedicated buyers. For instance, you can include a discount coupon as a way to say thank you or even include a referral code they can share with their friends.

That way, instead of just asking customers for a favor, you’re showing them you appreciate their feedback and their patronage. Not only are customers more likely to leave a review, they’re more likely to purchase from your shop again.

We suggest sending the follow-up email at least ten days after purchase (or delivery, if that makes more sense for your business). That way, the customer has had time to put the product through its paces and get to know it but it’s still new enough that they’re excited about the product.

It’s still present enough in the customer’s mind to want to tell all about their experiences with the product.

In his book, The Brain Audit, Sean D’Souza recommends six questions to pose to customers in order to receive better reviews. Each question has its special reasoning and supports the customer in writing a review that’ll help future customers make the decision to buy:

What was the obstacle that would’ve prevented you from buying this product?Customers express concrete doubts. The reader recognizes himself in them.
What did you find as a result of buying this product?Customers describe the benefits the product holds for them.
What specific feature did you like most about this product?Customers very specifically and in detail describe the experiences and stories they had with this product.
What are three other benefits of this product?Customers describe various viewpoints and perspectives. 
Would you recommend this product? If so, why?Customers make clear recommendations.
Is there anything you’d like to add?Here, customers add anything that hasn’t been said yet. 

Few customers are professional writers. Some might want to leave a review but don’t know how to begin or what to describe and thus never get started. These are missed opportunities for your website.

If you predefine these questions for your customers, you’re giving them a structure to follow. This alone almost automatically results in a conclusive text describing all relevant aspects of the product.

Wrap up

Now all you have to do is optimize your follow-up emails with the question or questions that make the most sense for your products.

You know that getting reviews and having loads of social proof is key to making conversions in today’s ecommerce landscape. Luckily, you don’t have to go out of your way to get your customers to leave those reviews.

With CM Commerce, our built-in features are designed to help you gather the reviews and ratings your store needs to be successful, without having to spend your limited time and resources on doing so.

With CM Commerce, you can be successful at marketing in less time and get back to doing what you do best.

This blog provides general information and discussion about email marketing and related subjects. The content provided in this blog ("Content”), should not be construed as and is not intended to constitute financial, legal or tax advice. You should seek the advice of professionals prior to acting upon any information contained in the Content. All Content is provided strictly “as is” and we make no warranty or representation of any kind regarding the Content.
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