Encourage After-Christmas Customer Reviews

Customer reviews may boost ecommerce conversion rates and make product pages more findable on search engines.

Combine this fact — that reviews improve search engine optimization and conversions — with the heavy ecommerce sales volume around Christmas, and encouraging post-holiday customer reviews could be a powerful marketing effort.

Customer Reviews Have Value

Many surveys, reports, and focus groups have shown that customer reviews of the products ecommerce businesses sell or of the service those businesses provide help shoppers make a final buying decision. Here are a few examples:

  • About half of American shoppers under age 50 regularly read reviews online before buying an item, according to Pew Research.
  • BrightLocal found that 85 percent of consumers surveyed about choosing local businesses trusted an online customer review as much as they trusted a personal recommendation.
  • ClickZ reported that “72 percent of consumers will take action only after reading a positive review.”
  • Pew Research also found that the more often shoppers read reviews, the more they are likely to trust them.
Forty percent of U.S. adults "always/almost always" read customer reviews, according to Pew Research. For adults under 50 years old, it's 53 percent for age 18-29 and 47 percent for age 30-49.

Forty percent of U.S. adults “always/almost always” read customer reviews, according to Pew Research. For adults under 50 years old, it’s 53 percent for age 18-29 and 47 percent for age 30-49.

Retail customer reviews may also improve search engine ranking performance.

Google is believed to favor sites with positive reviews over un-reviewed sites, and the search engine is known to use reviews as a ranking factor.

Moreover, customer reviews often include long-tail keywords, which may help some online stores be discovered.

Yotpo, a customer review platform, monitored the monthly traffic for some 30,000 websites that began using customer reviews. Yotpo found that those sites showed a significant increase in organic site traffic from Google. In some cases, sites publishing customer reviews increased organic traffic by roughly one-third in nine months.

Yotpo also captured data from a smaller set of 500 websites in 2015. It showed even greater organic traffic growth when customer reviews were employed. This may imply that sites without significant organic traffic at the start could rapidly boost visits with reviews. Put another way, reviews may be a good SEO tactic for small or mid-market ecommerce businesses.

After Christmas

Retail ecommerce sales volume increases significantly around Christmas.

In 2017, about 11 percent of all U.S. Christmas purchases will be made online, according to an eMarketer prediction. More sales and more customers mean there may be more opportunities to encourage reviews, which in turn, may boost conversions and improve SEO.

The first step toward encouraging after-Christmas customer reviews and ratings for your ecommerce business is simply to ask for them.

Use email marketing to reach out to all of your store’s holiday customers. Let them know that you appreciate their business. Tell them that you want to improve the products your business sells and the service it provides, and ask for an honest review.

You may, in some cases, incentivize the review with a coupon or discount offer. Just be sure to emphasize that you want an authentic and honest assessment of the product and of your company’s performance.

You may also ask shoppers on social media. For example, you might post on Facebook. “Did you shop with us this Christmas? We appreciate it and we want your feedback….”

Go the extra mile on requesting reviews for relatively expensive items. Ecommerce customer reviews may be more impactful for big-ticket items, so why not send shoppers who purchased pricey items a handwritten card, thanking them for the purchase and asking them to come back and write a review.

Make It Easy

When your business encourages shoppers to write reviews, your company is also, in a sense, taking on the obligation of making the writing and submitting of reviews as simple as possible.

For many small or mid-sized ecommerce operations, this may mean partnering with a reliable and well-known review software provider. Or, if a company develops its own review system, ensure that the user experience and tracking is effective.

Negative Reviews

It might seem like a perfect review topped with five, big gold stars would be the best outcome your ecommerce business could hope for. But it turns out that your company might get more of a benefit if you encourage honest assessments and even embrace negative reviews.

In a 2015 study, PowerReviews found that average product review scores of 4.2 to 4.5 (on a scale of 1 to 5) produced the best conversion rates for ecommerce.

For shoppers, these scores are both positive and believable. They tell other shoppers that the product is generally good, but also reflect the reality that very few items are actually perfect.

Armando Roggio
Armando Roggio
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