How can retailers prompt customers to write product reviews?
A Wall Street Journal article from last week notes how Zappos’ new loyalty program hands out 100 points — the equivalent of $10 in credit — to those who write a review.
Etsy also takes action to encourage buyers to write reviews, in its case by following up with e-mails or text messages. An Etsy spokesperson told the Journal that 20 to 25 percent of purchases result in a review.
For Garnet Hill, follow-ups are sent out about three weeks after the purchase to give the buyer the time to experience the item. Wendy Thayer, director of brand marketing for the apparel, bedding and home decor retailer, told the Journal, “It makes them come from a more knowledgeable standpoint.”
The more reviews a product has, the more trustworthy the reviews for that product and the overall retailer’s review section will appear to be, according to numerous studies.
The problem is that many consumers don’t write reviews, even when asked. A PowerReviews survey from earlier this year found that only three to 10 percent of consumers will write a review on a specific transaction when asked. On average, review-writing consumers will take the initiative once every four to 14 purchases, depending on the category, timing and other factors. Millennials were found to be even less inclined to write reviews.
In an article last month in Fortune, Rieva Lesonsky, CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in small businesses, said immediately requesting a review post-checkout can help. She also said, for retailers, reading and responding to any reviews, particularly negative ones, can encourage additional reviews because it shows the business takes reviews seriously and addresses issues.
The process of posting a review should also be as easy and streamlined as possible. In its study, PowerReviews wrote, “The burden is on brands and retailers to make the process of leaving a review quick and painless.”
- When Shopping Online, Can You Trust the Reviews? – The Wall Street Journal (sub. required)
- A Lack of Online Reviews Could Kill Your Business – Fortune
- The Power Of Reviews – PowerReviews
- Should consumers be given incentives to write reviews? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What’s the best way to encourage reviews on retail websites? Can you recommend any approaches beyond those mentioned in the article?