If you have ever made a purchase online, you most certainly have noticed – and even used – the review section of an e-commerce platform. There, you will find the opinion of other consumers who purchased that item, a great indicator of the product’s quality. 
Seen as sincere, reviews are extremely important when selling products online. They encourage the purchase and give customers a good idea of what they are getting.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about product reviews and how to encourage your customers to leave their opinions about what you are selling.

What are product reviews?

Product reviews are comments or grades given to products from customers. 

Often, people will rate their purchase on a scale of 1 to 5, usually by clicking on a number of stars. They can also leave a comment and further explain the reasoning for a grade. 

Reviews are displayed on the same page of the product, alongside a description of what you are selling. This will help customers understand what a product is like in person. 

Customers can also review the store, the delivery service or the store’s exchange policy. 

There are different ways to display and leave a review:

1. Written review

Text-form reviews are common on platforms such as Amazon, where customers are encouraged to write a small paragraph about their experience with a product. 

The written review is easy to implement and gives customers a space to leave an honest opinion about what they purchased. It can be anonymous, detailed or even brief. 

2. Star ratings

This review type is straightforward and will often encompass more than just the product. Using a star system, customers will be encouraged to assess their purchase experience altogether.  

3. Video reviews

Sometimes, customers will feel the need to leave their opinion on a product through a video. This is a very popular way to showcase makeup and beauty products, as people can more clearly see the effects of an item.

Videos are also an excellent way to go more in-depth with a review. 

4. Photos

A review can also just be a photo of a product being used. This is a prevalent way to showcase clothes and accessories, giving customers an idea of how they will look when wearing them. 

5. Testimonials

Testimonials are reviews of services and companies, usually highlighting the quality of what customers receive. 

6. Social media reviews

Social media plays an integral part in e-commerce today. People will often use their own social media pages to comment on a product they received or reach out to a company they love or have had bad experiences with.

How do product reviews benefit your business?

Product reviews show new customers that the product you are selling is reliable. Since customers are not paid to write reviews, their opinions will represent an honest assessment of products and services. 

Having customers reviewing your products can increase sales, offer important insight into how to grow your business and improve your marketing efforts

Here are some of the benefits of product reviews:

Improved product quality

Customer reviews can help businesses identify areas for improvement. By gathering customer feedback, companies can make changes in their products to better meet the needs and expectations of their target audience.

This is especially important during a product launch when the product is still new to the market and needs to gain a customer base. 

Increased sales

There's nothing more powerful than word-of-mouth marketing. Positive customer reviews can increase the perceived value of a product and help build trust with potential new clients. This, in turn, can lead to increased sales, as people are more likely to purchase products that have received positive reviews from others.

In the case of photo or video reviews, customers can also better understand how clothes fit, makeup products work, or even the size of some items, leading to more sales.

Improved SEO

Product reviews can also improve your business’ search engine optimisation (SEO) by providing additional content for search engines like Google to index. As a result, your website will receive more traffic and be more easily found when people search for a specific product. 

Market research

Customers’ opinions can provide valuable market research for businesses. By analysing customer feedback, companies can gain insight into their target audience, including their preferences, pain points and needs. 

How can you encourage customers to leave reviews?

Since product reviews are so important for businesses in different sectors, it is crucial that you encourage your clients to share their opinions. 

You can do that in many ways, but here are some of the most popular and effective strategies.

Provide excellent customer service

Satisfied customers are more likely to leave positive reviews.

Excellent customer service can come as a couple of free product samples in a client’s order or even a readiness when solving problems. See every interaction you will have with your customer as an opportunity to please them and take your service to the next level. 

Send follow-up emails or messages

After a customer has made a purchase, send them a follow-up email or message asking for their feedback and encouraging them to leave a review.

This can be an opportunity to identify possible problems they might have had with delivery services, defective products or customer service in general. If they had a positive experience buying from you, explain how helpful a review can be and ask if they would be willing to share their feedback publicly.

It is important to note that you shouldn’t be too insistent. One or two emails are more than enough, especially if people are happy with the customer service they receive. Otherwise, the constant requests for reviews might send customers to criticise your businesses and see your company as inconvenient. 

Offer incentives

Use this opportunity to boost your overall product marketing strategy. Consider offering incentives such as discounts, samples or rewards for customers who leave reviews. 

This can be a great way to encourage people to share their experiences if you are just starting your business or have just launched a new product. Since people won’t be too engaged in an online community surrounding your brand, simple incentives can be a nudge for people to start.

Discounts are easy to set up, as are complimentary samples. You can even send samples of other products your customers haven’t bought, so they have an opportunity to try – and review – other items you offer. 

Make the review process easy

Customers will often feel discouraged from leaving a review if a website is too complicated or the review process is too demanding.

You can make leaving reviews easy by creating a star rating, providing clear instructions on leaving a comment or even supplying direct links to your review section. The easiest it is to post a review, the more customers will be happy to share their opinions. 

Display reviews prominently on your website

Making it easier for customers to find and read other reviews is also a way to encourage them to leave their own.

Highlight positive things people had to say about your product, having a dedicated section for customers’ opinions on your website’s homepage or social media channel. 

Provide product samples

We have discussed how providing samples can be a great way to improve your customer service and be an incentive for people to leave reviews. This is called product sample marketing. However, samples are also an excellent way to introduce potential customers to your product and receive feedback.

You can distribute samples in person, ask people their thoughts about what you are offering or even ask for feedback online. At Odore, we have created campaigns where people can claim a sample by registering on a website. Our clients could then reach out to potential customers and ask for an honest review or impression of an item. 

Samples also offer an opportunity for customers to try a product before spending money on something. Therefore, they are more likely to have a positive experience with your brand, eventually buying the product and encouraging others to do the same. 

Encourage social media reviews

Your website or an e-commerce platform is not the only space your customers can use to leave reviews. In fact, people increasingly use social media to share their opinions about services and products.

You can use that in your favour by encouraging conversations online and highlighting people who use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok or YouTube to let the world know what they think of your brand. Repost positive reviews, distribute samples through links on social media channels and work with influencers to keep the engagement going.

People are more likely to learn about your brand through social media than by directly looking for your website. 

Ask for reviews at the point of sale

Train your sales staff to ask customers for reviews at the point of sale. Reviews can be a simple star rating system that will allow you to understand better people’s opinions on your customer service or products.

If you are distributing samples at a point of sale, you can also ask people to give feedback about what they are trying. 

Respond to all reviews

People like to feel heard. When you respond to both positive and negative reviews, you show your customers their opinions matter and that your company is committed to making the best product.

It is essential to be professional and constructive, especially with negative reviews. Suppose you want to encourage customers’ feedback; responding to negative comments sarcastically or aggressively will have the opposite effect. Make a list of standard responses you can give and take constant criticism as an opportunity to improve. 

Final thoughts on product reviews

Product reviews can be a great marketing tool, encouraging people to purchase and giving you an opportunity to grow from feedback.

There are many different ways in which people can share their opinions and many ways your business can motivate customers to give honest feedback. Distributing product samples is one of the most effective ways to get people to try and discuss what you are selling.

Samples can come as an incentive for reviews, as a bonus item in excellent customer service or even as a way to make sure people will try something before sharing a review.

You can also utilise influencer marketing by sending samples to digital influencers. This in turn would encourage conversations online about your product. 

Contact us to learn more about how a product sampling campaign can help your business get more customer reviews.