Get Reviews

Consumer product reviews on the different websites have proven to have a significant positive effect on online sales.  In the Zero Moment of Truth article we referenced before, one of the stand out statistics was that the average shopper used 10.4 sources of information to make a decision in 2011, up from 5.3 sources in 2010.  Those 10.4 sources range from TV commercials and magazine articles, to recommendations . . . recommendations from friends, family, and website ratings.

Reviews on different websites have different effects but in general, after good copy and images/videos, reviews will consistently increase sales more than any other aspect.   There is also research showing it doesn’t matter if the reviews are poor. Consumers will read the review and make their own determination if it affects them.  Negative reviews can actually add credibility.

I recently went out to purchase a new desk chair.  The negative reviews were all placed by people shorter than I am.  After reading through them I discounted the negative ones and bought the chair anyway, I couldn’t be happier.  The fact that an item has reviews makes the difference.  There were many chairs I looked at, but without a review I was not willing to even consider the item.

Reviews are also Search Engine gold.  When someone is writing a review they typically reference your product and the key aspects of that product.  These keywords show up on the retail page helping increase the ranking of your page (refer to our Retail Page Optimization article for more on this topic).  Even if the consumers don’t reference the product name, reviews still offer regular consistent changes to the page . . . something the major search engines want to see for a top-ranking page.

Another important aspect is within the retail site itself; especially here, reviews are critical.  Retailers spend significant time, energy and money to get consumers on their site.  Once there, consumers are going to look at the reviews.   Many people shop just by stars . . . think about the ZMOT statistic.

These are some of the key reasons why every major online eTailer (retail or dot com) has moved to implement some form of consumer reviews.  Given that, we have developed an approach to incent consumers to write a review, modeled on the Amazon Vine program.  The Amazon Vine provides free products to consumers that promise, in return for the free product, to write a review.  The consumer doesn’t promise to write a good review, just that they will use the product and then write a review.  The Vine program is a fantastic way to add reviews quickly and we always recommend considering it.  The reviews are typically well thought out and provide great insight to the products.

In addition to using Vine, we have worked with several manufacturers to create a buck slip that can be inserted into the product packaging; offering some incentive for writing a review.  The principle is simple; since you believe in your product, the package insert asks consumers to place a review on any major eCommerce site, including Amazon. Once they place the review they need to send you a link to that review.  All you have to do is keep track of the reviews that request the incentive.  In this example Generac has offered an incentive of an Amazon gift card but you could offer any incentive that makes sense to your customers.

You are only liable for each product insert and associated incentive.  This program also allows you the opportunity to influence which products are reviewed; since the buck slip is inserted into a certain product’s box the consumer will naturally think the request is to review that product.

Ultimately what you care about is getting as many relevant reviews as necessary to have your product stand out.  After copy and the imagery . . . reviews are the most important aspect of helping consumers pick the right product.


We welcome your input and look forward to the conversation; click here to leave a comment. For an overview of the purpose of this blog take a look at the initial post here.


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