How Incentives Can Impact Product Reviews
Nearly all shoppers (95 percent) seek out and read reviews to inform their purchase decisions, yet far fewer actually write reviews. In fact, according to PowerReviews research, less than half of consumers (42 percent) leave feedback for products they buy. This number drops to 32 percent for consumers between the ages of 18 and 29.
That’s a scary reality for retailers that understand the importance of not only having reviews, but having a healthy volume of reviews. The more reviews and feedback you have for a product, the deeper and more accurate insights you’re able to mine. Furthermore, shoppers tend to trust products with a higher number of reviews more than those with few reviews or none at all, meaning review volume can have an impact on sales as well.
There is good news, however. More than half of consumers indicated they would be more willing to write reviews if offered an incentive or reward. Here are a few examples of incentives and rewards that can help brands and retailers generate more product reviews.
Launch a Sweepstakes
Sweepstakes are proven to improve review generation by up to 100 percent. Plus, implementing a sweepstakes doesn’t have to take a lot of time or effort. Include a call to action to enter a sweepstakes in a post-purchase email and use an easy method of choosing a winner. This might include something as simple as a random drawing from the list of customer email addresses that have submitted a product review in the past 30 days. Sweepstakes prizes can range from cash, store credit, free shipping or a free add-on product.
Share a Sneak Peek of Upcoming Products
As a way of saying “thank you” for taking the time to write a review, let customers know in advance that they will receive a sneak peek of upcoming products. This is especially helpful for recurring customers, who will appreciate feeling like a VIP. If you’re a clothing retailer, for example, shoppers will jump at the chance to be among the first to see the new spring line. For toy retailers, parents might be more willing to write a review if they know they will receive a preview of your holiday shopping guide with the season’s top new toys.
Tap Into an Existing Loyalty or Rewards Program
If you already have a loyalty or rewards program in place, use it as a simple way to encourage reviews. For example, if a customer in your loyalty program writes a review, he or she receive reward points. Once they achieve a certain level of points, reward them with free shipping or a percentage off his or her next purchase. Offer additional points for customers who reach “Top Contributor” or “Top Reviewer” status on your website. This can include customers who write a high volume of reviews or customers whose reviews are marked as “most helpful” by fellow shoppers.
Offer Free Shipping or Discounts
Show your appreciation to customers for writing reviews by offering them a discount or free shipping. Such incentives can be offered automatically on a receipt or post-purchase email. Not only will these incentives generate more reviews, you’ll also give customers a compelling excuse to shop with you again.
Offering incentives can go a long way when it comes to encouraging more customer reviews. Remember, rewards aren’t one size fits all, as some offers are more compelling to certain shoppers than others. Test a variety of incentives to see what works best for your brand. Also, make sure to keep transparency in mind when offering incentives. Work with your ratings and reviews provider to see if there’s a way to indicate whether a customer was offered an incentive in exchange for writing a review.
Matt Parsons is the chief customer officer at PowerReviews, a software company that helps more than 1,000 brands and retailers collect, display and syndicate customer reviews.
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