User generated content (UGC) like Ratings and Reviews can increase your site’s revenue by up to 18% by providing helpful information from customers’ perspectives. This will only happen, though, if customers actually contribute reviews! There are three main ways to get more reviews for your e-commerce site: email solicitation, syndication, and incentivization.
Email solicitation is indispensable for gathering reviews. Customers rarely write reviews without being prompted, and email is the most direct way of getting their attention.
The industry average reply rate for review solicitation emails—meaning the percentage of customers emailed who end up writing reviews—is 2.5%. Bazaarvoice has noted that some of their clients see review response rates as high as 4.5%. Social Annex’s clients, however, have seen response rates above 9% thanks to a host of tools and best practices that help them get more reviews.
Your Ratings and Reviews software provider should, ideally, strategize with you to optimize your post-purchase emails. Here at Social Annex, our Smart Engagement Accelerator (SEA) uses historical data, product type, and product category to determine the best time to reach out to customers. It then adapts based on your customers’ response rates.
The wording and design of your solicitation emails is also vital to getting quality responses. Our Customer Success Team has found that when it comes to sending review forms in emails, shorter forms are slightly more effective than longer ones.
Syndication is another effective method to get more reviews on your site. For manufacturers, this consists of having reviews of your products on your retailers’ sites distributed to your site. Likewise, for retailers, syndication means placing reviews from your manufacturers’ sites on your own.
Consequently, syndication doesn’t just increase your review volume; it also boosts your exposure on your partners’ sites. If you’re worried about content ownership with regards to syndication, rest assured. With Social Annex, the content that’s submitted to your site is yours alone.
Incentivization, simply put, gives customers tangible reasons to write reviews. While you should never pay shoppers to write reviews, it’s an acceptable and widespread practice to reward them with some loyalty points or a small discount.
Our preferred method of incentivizing review-writing is to link it to a client’s loyalty program. Typically, our clients reward customers for writing approved reviews only, and institute a limit on rewards to discourage spam behavior. Here’s an example from Ouidad, a salon haircare line.
No matter what methods you’re using to increase reviews, remember that the actual process of writing a review should be as easy as possible. That’s why Social Annex recently debuted in-mail reviews. In-mail reviews refer to the practice of embedding review forms within emails, so shoppers don’t have to visit a separate page in order to share their thoughts. Here’s an example from Kal Tire.