In the day and age of ecommerce, it's clear that product reviews have become an essential tool for online shoppers. Without being able to view products in person they now rely heavily on other people's experiences to inform whether to make a purchase. In fact, in a study done by Deloitte shows that 81% of potential buyers are reading customer reviews and ratings before deciding on buying an item. 60% of people also named reviews as one of their most trusted sources of information. So, what is the best way to generate and handle reviews?

Generating reviews

Whilst many people rely on reviews to buy products, it can be much more difficult to get customers to leave reviews. One suggestion for doing so is to use an email follow-up campaign, which can both be a good way to increase reviews and to set up communication between you and your customer. This can be useful in helping resolve any issues that may arise and so avoid them leaving a negative review.

Remember not to spam customers with too many emails, as it can be off-putting for potential future interactions, or even cause a bad review itself. Generally the best practice is to send two emails in a similar format to below:

  • Your first email should be a follow-up to make sure the customer received their product, that all the parts are there and that it is working correctly. It is important not to ask for a review at this point, as they most likely won't have had a chance to start using the product yet.
  • After a few days, depending on what the product is, send your next email asking for some unbiased feedback. You want the buyer to to give an honest review so make sure they have had the time to fully utilise it.

Amazon Terms of Service

It's very important to take Amazon's Terms of Service into account otherwise you risk your store being taken down or suspended. It states 'Review solicitations that ask for only positive reviews or that offer compensation are prohibited.' This means you must not try and influence the review at all, including any reference to the star rating given. If you are unsure about your practices, it is always better to err on the side of caution.

Quality vs. quantity

Sellers often consider whether it is more important to have a high quantity of reviews, or a small number of amazing ones. In reality, both will be considered when ranking your listing on the search page. Having good reviews is always important but depending on the category of your items and the competition the amount you need will differ. The more competitive the market, the more likely you will need lots of reviews to help your product stand out. A good test is to see how many reviews other leading products of that nature have and aim for around the same level.

Negative reviews

Receiving negative reviews can be stressful but remember they are not the end of the world. The most important thing as a seller is to remain professional; make sure you respond to negative reviews in a calm and friendly manner and you may find you are able to resolve the issue. Not only that, but it will also make it apparent to potential customers that you care about them and about delivering a good service.

Another way to look at negative reviews is to use the information they provide as constructive criticism. You may find you've overlooked something that customers are picking up on, and this is a great way to rectify it. In fact, small amounts of negative reviews can actually be a positive thing, as future customers may find the 'worst' thing about your product is actually not too bad.

All in all, keep track of your reviews and remember to provide excellent customer service. In that way you will easily keep on top of what your customers are thinking and be able to provide solutions to any problems that may arise.

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