Getting a stranger to give their credit card information online is hard. Marketers don’t have it easy.
But do you know what makes it so? Customer reviews.
Customer reviews make your products more believable, more “real,” if you will.
Your copy won’t have to do the heavy lifting alone; reviews are proven to make it easier for new customers to finish a purchase.
If your product pages need a boost in conversions and you have a solid base of happy customers, you came to the right place. In this article, you will learn how to ask customers for a review.
Why are customer reviews crucial in ecommerce?
Why wouldn’t they be? Customer reviews are unbiased opinions about a product’s quality.
Marketers and copywriters can shape the truth to any form they want because it’s in their interest to do so. A customer who takes the time to write a review doesn’t have any interests (with some exceptions) except sharing the truth about a product.
Customer reviews are believable and relatable, which is why consumers, on average, read ten online reviews before making a purchase.
Over the past few years, the number of consumers who read customer reviews has grown. In 2021, PowerReviews found that 99.9% of consumers read them, compared to 97% who stated the same in 2018.
How many customer reviews should you have? Well, one customer review is better than no customer review. However, you want to have as many as you can because not everybody thinks the same way; your visitors want to see both the good and the bad reviews. In fact, one study found that given two products with similar ratings, consumers are more likely to buy the product with more reviews.
According to PowerReviews, 68% of consumers say that ideally, a product should have at least 26 reviews.
Another study by Spiegel Research Center found that product pages with at least five reviews increase their purchase likelihood by a factor of nearly 4x.
If you’re selling on Shopify and you haven’t started adding customer reviews, you should consider installing an app like Yotpo, Judge.me, or Loox.
Two channels you can use to ask for a customer review
Adding a customer review widget to your product pages won’t give you positive results if you don’t drive your customers to them. With the following two methods, you will get the reviews you sorely need.
Automated email sequence
Just as sending automated email campaigns to potential customers will increase your sales, such a campaign will get you reviews.
People simply need to be reminded because, otherwise, most won’t write a review.
A customer review email sequence requires not more than two or three emails, which can be part of a greater post-purchase customer experience.
Consider this concise and straight-to-the-point example from Papier (see the full collection of review requests here) 👇
The email can be as simple as the email you see above, or it can include graphics and past customer reviews to expand the social proof effects, as shown below.
As a rule of thumb, the simpler the email looks and the clearer the action is, the better. All the email should include is an acknowledgment of the purchase and a clear CTA that leads people to your customer review page.
💡Notice that Sun of a Beach used a discount code as an incentive here. We’ll talk more about incentives in the following sections of the article.
Notifications work similar to emails, except that the recipient gets the message not in their email inbox, but in their mobile phone or desktop (depending on how they subscribed to the notifications).
Noah Weiss, VP of Product at Slack, summarizes the three essential qualities that make notifications powerful:
Consider this example of a push notification that includes three quick response options 👇
To start sending notifications, you can use a Shopify app like Notifications, or a more robust tool like PushOwl or PushEngage.
How to ask for a customer review
When asking for a customer review, you may fear that some customers may give you a one or two-star review, which could give a bad impression of your company. Although low-star reviews are an excellent opportunity to gather customer feedback, you still shouldn’t be afraid of them within some limits.
According to Spiegel Research Center, 82% of shoppers specifically seek out negative reviews. The study theorizes that near-perfect ratings undermine the credibility of a product review.
In fact, purchase likelihood peaks at ratings in the 4.0 to 4.7 range and then begins to decrease as ratings approach 5.0, suggesting that shoppers see ratings at perfect ratings as “too good to be true.”
Another study by Reevoo found that consumers spend four times as long on a site when they interact with negative reviews and find a 67% increase in conversion rate (as long as these are in the minority group).
Remember these facts whenever you ask for a customer review and see a negative review. It shouldn’t be so bad, after all.
Now, here are three tips that will help you ask for customer reviews with more chances for success 👇
Offer an incentive
Your most loyal customers may give you a review if you just ask them (and later, you will see one template you can use to do this). However, most may require an extra incentive.
What type of incentive works best? A PowerReviews survey of more than 10,000 consumers found the following:
From all of the options available, giving away free products might be ideal. You can mix that with an influencer marketing campaign and get more sales and traffic simultaneously.
Giving early access to a product is another effective way to get consumer reviews.
Finally, you get the most common option: coupons. Offering a coupon or discount can increase the likelihood that a buyer will write a review.
Time your message
Before you send your email or notification, you want to wait a few days after the logistics company delivers the product. Ignore the date your fulfillment center ships a product and focus only on the product delivery date.
From that date onwards, think how much it will take for a customer to try a product. Most importantly, think about the time it will take them to see the value of your product.
For products in categories like clothing and supplements, this won’t represent more than a few days. For tech products and other more complex products, you may need to wait a bit more.
As a rule of thumb, wait at least four to five days after the product delivery before asking for a review.
You can use a tool like AfterShip to create automated email and notification sequences using the product delivery date like I just explained.
Use the right words
You want to ask for a customer review, but how do you go about it? The customer may be happy with your product, but why should they care about the review? The incentives shown before will help greatly, but you should also mind the words you use.
According to Yotpo research, adding a store or business name to an email’s subject line boosts the review conversion rate by 3.7%. Consider asking a question, as requests with question marks lead to an average increase of 15.7%.
In the next section, you will see some templates to ask for customer reviews. Before we do so, I want to leave you with one final tip: make the product review request concise and beneficial to the recipient.
Three templates for asking customer reviews
Asking for a customer review may seem a relatively simple process for you, but it’s not for your customers. They are busy; sitting down to write down a review for a product they bought some time ago may seem counterproductive or a waste of time.
With the three tactics we shared above, your customers should find it much easier to write a review. However, how do you actually ask for a review from customers?
Here we have summarized three templates so you can copy and paste them (with some modifications to adapt them to your brand) in your email marketing tool:
If you are confident that your customers love your products and the entire shopping experience, it shouldn’t be complicated to ask them for reviews. You should expect to see a small group of customers (usually the biggest fans or the biggest skeptics) voice their opinions.
To avoid any issues with negative reviews, consider surveying your customers. A survey will forecast any potential troubles that you should fix before starting to ask for reviews store-wide.
Finally, don’t fret negative reviews. A few of them will make your product more believable; what’s more, it may even make your fans more loyal to your brand.