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How to collect ratings and reviews

Ten ideas to help you to generate ratings and reviews from scratch.
A graphic of people typing and leaving product ratings and reviews.

Having a good review of a product or a great Trustpilot score on a product page – even on the checkout page – can have a really positive impact on an eCommerce store. eCommerce stores should identify the points at which shoppers want to make a decision – that might be to click through to the next page, make a purchase, or take out their credit card.

However, the question is, how do you generate ratings and reviews – particularly from scratch?

Rating and review platforms such as Trustpilot will work with brands to generate reviews prior to a product launch, using a ready-made community to feed back, or run a shopper survey to gather information. However, this is really suitable only for bigger brands.

Here are ten ideas to capture ratings and reviews:

  1. Use a rating reviews platform: a guaranteed method of getting enough customer reviews to make your eCommerce store more persuasive for shoppers is to use a third-party reviews provider, such as Trustpilot.
  2. Invite your customers directly to review you: when you speak with your customers on the phone, let them know you’d like them to leave a review on Trustpilot. Many customers don’t think about leaving reviews. Sometimes all it takes to activate them is a polite request. Invitations make it easy for people to leave a review, and remind them that their opinions matter.
  3. Send an email after a customer has purchased an item to ask for a review – as long as they have been given enough time to receive and experience the product. This might vary product to product, even in the same eCommerce store. For example, if someone has bought a product from your store before, reference this in the email and talk about the features other people like about the product, with a message asking if they want to leave their own feedback.
  4. Embed a link in your current emails: if it is too much trouble to email everyone, make it easy for yourself by inserting a link to your evaluation page on Trustpilot in all your emails, and politely invite people to leave a review.
  5. Put a link on your website: embed a link on your website that sends customers directly to your company’s profile page on Trustpilot where they can leave a review.
  6. Include a postcard in your packages and encourage customers to leave a review: with customisable stationery available, it is easy to put together a catchy and attractive postcard inviting customers to leave a review. Postcards could be added to all the packages you send out, showing people how to go to Trustpilot and review your company in just a few easy steps.
  7. Ask for reviews on product pages: this is a very useful technique for eCommerce sites that are selling high-interest products that consumers are passionate about, as they can encourage other people to buy the item.
  8. Embed a review widget on your website: a review widget is a simple piece of technology that enables you to collect, store and display reviews on any website. Trustpilot provide a widget that enables reviews to be collected and automatically displayed on your website and on the Trustpilot site.
  9. Make the process as simple as possible: prompt the user to provide a rating (out of five, for example) as well as written options. Make your review invitation emails short, and keep things simple.
  10. Rank the reviews by recency or by allowing other users to rate the reviews. Ask site users to rate the reviews themselves with the question ‘was this review helpful to you?’

The trick to get ratings and reviews lies in not trying to force people to share feedback but in encouraging customers to help other customers out. Many stores send surveys to customers, enabling it to ask specific questions around areas of interest.

Note: businesses are no longer allowed to offer customers an incentive of any kind for reviews by platforms such as Trustpilot – for example, promotional discounts, cash, loyalty points, gifts or coupons.

Greats – capturing ratings and reviews

A screenshot of the ratings and reviews on the Greats website(Click to expand)

Greats.com have a link from the front of their site directly to a reviews page. They have a call to action saying ‘write a review’ at the top of the page – and then a clear visual of what customers are saying.

Glossier – creating a video out of ratings and reviews

Glossier video screenshot(Click to expand)

Glossier, a beauty products website, even created a simple video with actual customer reviews. Video tools such as Promo.com provide templates to make video ads, social media videos, product videos, explainer videos, and more.

Negative feedback

Many companies fear negative feedback. However, failing to respond to it can be worse. Responding to complaints can open up an opportunity.

Respond to negative reviews professionally and genially, and with a heartfelt apology. Respond to reviews as quickly as you can to negate any negative online reputation spreading. Take the discussion out of the public domain as quickly as possible, asking them to contact you via direct message or email, or by telephone, for example. Avoid any public disagreement.

Give as much information as you can about why a problem or misunderstanding occurred. Aim to build goodwill with the customer.

Develop a standard response process for bad reviews, and agree on specific options to resolve a problem. If the issue is solved satisfactorily and the customer is happy, ask them to consider amending or updating their review to reflect how you have remedied the situation.

Many eCommerce stores tend to reply to their one and five-star reviews much more often than two, three and four-star reviews. However, commonsense dictates that if you were trying to influence a customer to change a review to be more favourable, you might have more chance in doing so by replying to average two or three-star experiences rather than trying to change the mind of a customer who seemed to have a strong negative reaction to your business.

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