From the February 2010 issue of our newsletter, Let's Grow. For a FREE subscription, CLICK HERE

More Customer Reviews, More Profits

There’s no denying the importance of online customer reviews. Not only do they boost sales – by as much as double, according to some studies -- but they also lower returns, reduce questions from potential buyers, and give merchants valuable feedback.

You can’t, however, simply install product review capabilities on your website and walk away. Having page after page of prominent "Be the first to review our product" invitations with no reviews leaves the impression that no one buys your products, or no one has anything good to say about them.

To get a critical mass of review quickly, here are three of the most effective things you can do:

  1. Follow Up With Purchasers. When you first get started with customer reviews, it’s a good idea to email everyone who has purchased within the last year, announce your new product review feature, and invite them to post a review of the product(s) they purchased.

After that, it’s helpful to send triggered emails two or three weeks after each purchase, asking customers about their shopping experience and encouraging them to post a review.

  1. Run a Contest. Contests have proven to be a very successful in generating reviews. One company reports that, after 45 days of a new review system with no reviews, they offered the chance to win a $100 gift card to consumers who reviewed a product. Within a few days, hundreds of reviews populated the site.

You can make the contest an ongoing event. For instance, you might choose a new winner every month or every quarter.

  1. Ask At Every Opportunity. Once you’ve stirred the pot a little, keep it simmering. Keep asking for reviews on your website, in your newsletters and emails, in your catalog, and on your packing slips. The more you ask, the more you’ll get. The more you get, the more you’ll sell.

More than 70% of Americans now consult product reviews before buying. Making sure you have a robust review system with an ample number of reviews may well be one of the most profitable things you can do.

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