Online reviews are paramount to growing your eCommerce store. They foster trust, brand awareness, and positive feelings toward your brand.
But increasing online reviews might feel challenging—let alone getting reviews in the first place! Over half of consumers leave four or less reviews every year. Even worse, 26% of these buyers have never left a review at all.
But don’t let this study discourage you! Most people don’t leave reviews simply because they forget to write one.
Reaching out to your buyers through multiple touch points will remind them to send that raving review you’ve been hoping for!
This article brainstorms seven clever ways to ask for and increase online reviews throughout the sales funnel. You’ll leave this post inspired with ideas to interact with your shoppers while simultaneously growing online reviews.
Let’s dive in!
1. Build a post-purchase funnel
Follow-up emails and SMS are the go-to for growing online reviews. eCommerce stores love this method because they can automate it.
Here’s how it works:
1. Someone buys from your shop
2. You deliver the item
3. Your email or SMS software asks for a review
That’s it! The process gets even easier if you create an online template, which removes the guesswork from leaving reviews.
Some brands include a discount to incentivize customers.
But discounts aren’t always necessary. In most cases, convenience is all you need to run a powerful post-purchase campaign. “If you're giving customers a form to fill out with their information,” The founder of Kenko Matcha shares, ”Don't make them click through multiple pages just to do so!”
Along with a streamlined review template, why not integrate SMS marketing with your email campaign? SMS snags customers who seldom check their emails. And let’s face it—everyone is on their phone these days!
Just so you know: Sendlane can send email and text messages to your recent shoppers! We also analyze your campaigns so you can identify what needs fixing and what’s crushing.
Post-purchase funnels are the backbone for increasing online reviews. Once you’ve got a system, look into more clever ways to increase online reviews, like influencer marketing.
2. Connect with influencers
They might seem separate, but influencer marketing is a form of online reviews and social proof. Working with influencers gets your products across all marketing channels—blogs, YouTube, social media, and podcasts.
Let’s look at Jenna Kutcher, an influencer for women business owners and entrepreneurs.
Jenna dedicates a portion of her blog to sponsoring her favorite products in business, fashion, and beauty.
She also posts her favorite clothing to her million Instagram followers.
Imagine how many followers will try these products just because Jenna recommends them! (Hint: It’s a lot). People trust and take their online idols’ words seriously.
Successful influencer marketing starts with finding people who genuinely love your products. Allow them to rep your brand in a way that relates to their followers—whether that’s through YouTube, Instagram, or a blog post.
But while influencer marketing is on the rise, it doesn’t work for every audience.
Influencers mesh well with Gen Z and Millennial generations. But Gen X and Boomers? Not so much.
Keep these stats in mind as you navigate influencer marketing.
If this tactic doesn’t work for you, turn back to your brand and work from within. One example? Proactively turning negative reviews into positive feedback.
3. Turn a negative review into positive feedback
Negative reviews aren’t all that bad. They’re actually crucial to helping visitors buy your products. Consumers want a balanced view of reviews and are 5X more likely to filter for one-star than five-star reviews.
Yup! Buyers want to know the cons more than the pros. It helps them make well-rounded decisions about their purchases.
If visitors filter your store for negative reviews, it’s your job to make them look as good as possible.
Doing this is easier than you think—simply respond to negative reviews with a solution.
Oof. This review doesn’t look too great.
But do you see how Nectar flips the mood around with a direct response? This brand validates the person’s frustrations and provides a solution to the problem. Now, other users can see Nectar’s strong customer service in action.
James Sowers, the Director of Marketing at The Good, explains this further.
“It's important to have a healthy, natural mix of good and bad reviews, but it's even more important for prospective customers to see your team proactively and respectfully handling negative reviews.”
Responding to negative feedback takes time, so you’ll want a quick formula to handle each review. James recommends “using an acronym called CRC.”
“Clarify the problem with the customer. Respond to the problem in a helpful way. Confirm that the customer is happy with the solution.”
It’s one thing to receive negative reviews. But it’s another to get reviews in the first place! Using a system like loyalty programs can encourage your biggest fans to reflect on their experience with your store.
4. Take advantage of your loyalty program
Customer loyalty programs offer fun perks like free shipping and birthday gifts. Why not throw in extra points for leaving an online review?
If someone loves your brand enough to join your program, they’ll be happy to chat about your product. And besides, they’ll get compensated for it!
Smash + Tess, for example, rewards users with 100 points every time they leave a review.
We’ve seen brands ramp up this incentive by offering points for:
- Adding an image alongside the review
- Posting a photo on social media
- Using certain hashtags so the brand can share them across social
Your website and social channels aren’t the only places to increase reviews. Working with other sites can boost credibility and review count, too!
5. Collaborate with trustworthy review sites
Increasing online reviews means thinking about the visitors who haven’t found your brand.
Let’s say Jan wants to buy non-toxic nail polish. As 75% of consumers turn to Google for business discovery, Jan searches for “non-toxic nail polish” on Google and finds countless listicles of natural nail polish reviews.
Get your store on these blog posts, and more people like Jan will find you on Google! As a bonus, your store will get more online reviews across multiple platforms.
So, how do you get started?
For niche review sites, you’ll either have to pitch your product or work with blog influencers. But you can easily add your shop to third-party review sites, like:
- Google reviews
And remember, users, visit these review sites because they trust them. Adding your shop to credible websites is key!
Speaking of credibility, your shoppers’ opinions are the most trustworthy source. By increasing user-generated content, you’ll get more online reviews (that people actually listen to!).
6. Encourage user-generated content on social media
If you’re going to focus on anything to increase online reviews, focus on user-generated content. According to the survey below, consumers value UGC by a long shot.
Buyers rave about UGC content because it’s authentic. Your customers are creating posts without a paycheck in mind. It just feels “real.”
User-generated content is also relatable. Airbrushed models are a thing of the past—shoppers want to see people like them using your products!
UGC comes in all shapes and sizes—the first being hashtag communities.
Hashtag communities organize UGC in one place. Instagram users can click on this hashtag and find hundreds of people sporting Aerie’s leggings.
Another hot spot for user-generated content is YouTube. Look up “Aerie leggings,” and you’ll find hundreds of videos reviewing its brand.
Reviewers will go as far as trying on each pair of clothing, rating them, and describing their experience.
And, of course, you can’t forget about online communities like Reddit.
This question on Reddit about Aerie’s “chill” leggings received 42 comments! Not every comment will be positive, but it sparks conversation around your shop.
Overall, UGC promotes your brand without paying out of pocket.
Make the most out of this trend and:
- Start a hashtag community
- Encourage followers to comment on your posts
- Create a Facebook group so others can connect with other buyers, ask questions, and leave reviews
When buyers feel included, they’ll be happy to create content around your products and participate in brand-related events—like a giveaway!
7. Run a giveaway contest
Did your eCommerce store hit a milestone? Celebrate with a social media contest!
Contests highlight your success and give back to your loyal customers with freebies. And most importantly, they boost those online reviews.
Kopari Beauty celebrates hitting 100k members with an Instagram contest. To enter, followers must comment on their favorite Kopari product—otherwise known as an online review!
Interested in running a giveaway? Start with these tips:
- Choose a valuable prize: Look at your customer data and find your most popular products. Sendlane’s deep-data feature can help you with this!
- Create a contest hashtag: Hashtags spread the word to new users
- Promote UGC content: Ask participants to comment on your post. Or, request that users post a photo about your product!
- Ask participants to tag friends in the comments: Tagging others increases post views and may help your account on the algorithm
You don’t have to run giveaways regularly to boost online reviews. Preserve the novelty and save your contests for important events. This way, followers will feel inclined to participate in this rare opportunity!
Which clever tip will you try to grow online reviews?
Now that you know seven ways to ask and increase online reviews, you might wonder how to get started.
Want our advice? Choose something that integrates with a system you have in place.
Maybe your thriving loyalty program can incentivize online reviews with extra points. Or, perhaps your growing email list could use a post-purchase review email.
If your case is the latter, let us do the nitty-gritty for you, automate your funnels, track your analytics, and personalize each message based on your customers’ profiles. We can even weave in SMS messages to reach out to more customers!
Try us out for free and see how Sendlane can automate and grow your online reviews!