476923143-383680-editedWord of mouth and social proof are two of the most powerful marketing tools you have, but to gain access to that power, you have to rely on other people. Because people are more likely to remember and report the negative, you may have trouble drumming up reviews and testimonials for your ecommerce business.

We’re here to tell you there’s nothing wrong with asking for a review, but you do want to be delicate about it. No one owes you a response, because you already got their money, right? Still, if you’re careful, you can inspire more and better reviews for your company on your site and on third-party pages. How can you do that? Here are some ideas to get you started.

1) Make Reviews Highly Visible

Amazon and ModCloth both give preferential treatment to their review sections. Each company provides reviews on every individual product and makes sure those reviews are easily found on product pages. That’s just one way to make sure buyers know their voices can be heard.

reviews in plain sight

Consider also adding a review and testimonial page where users can submit their thoughts about your company as a whole. Not only will potential buyers use this page to make their decisions, but you’ll also gain some pretty valuable SEO assistance.

2) Join Review Sites

Make sure you know where your customers are talking. Huge sites like Facebook and Google+ are a good place to start, but you also want to choose review sites based on your buyer personas. Are they young and likely to visit Yelp, or are they older, more settled, and frequenters of Angie’s List?

example of review site

If you go where your customers are, they’ll be more likely to chime in with their thoughts on your profile. You also have the added benefit of reaching more customers of the same type.

3) Send a Review Request

You can certainly send out an email after a purchase to ask for a review. Instead of wording it in such a way, ask how they felt about the product. Amazon does a great job of requesting those reviews by sending follow-up emails shortly after a purchase. They simply ask buyers to let others know how well they enjoyed the item they purchased.

example of review request

Not only will you likely get a review in return for your request, but you’ll also remind that buyer how much they liked your ecommerce site, your products, and your service. They might just be back to make a new purchase.

4) Include Reviewer Information

Before you add names and photos to your testimonials and reviews, be sure you get permission. Once you’ve secured the customer’s agreement, include that information on your site and third-party sites. This adds a very high degree of credibility to every review, because other buyers can see that your feedback comes from real customers and not a staff of ghostwriters.

5) Acknowledge Negative Reviews

Many companies will attempt to hide or downplay negative reviews out of fear that a few bad comments will turn potential buyers off. Remember before you’re tempted to do the same that those same companies might also pay dearly for good fake reviews to boost their ratings in the eyes of consumers.

You want to provide a genuine experience for your buyers, and sometimes that includes showing the warts. When your buyers see you’re not afraid to show the bad side, they’re much more inclined to believe the massive amounts of good reviews are true, too.

6) Answer the Good Reviews

Yes, of course you can answer reviews, even if it’s just to thank them for their feedback. Let those buyers know you see them as individuals and not just a wallet. They’ll appreciate the fact that you read their thoughts and took them to heart. Engagement is the very best way to build a stronger relationship. 

7) Answer the Bad Reviews

Absolutely, you should answer the bad reviews. We’re not suggesting (and nor would we ever suggest) that you engage in an argument, try to hide the reviews, or belittle the reviewer in any other way. Instead, take the chance to provide excellent customer service. Buyers are more likely to remember the last interaction with you, according to the peak-end bias phenomenon, so make sure you do whatever it takes to change their bad opinion to a good one.

answering bad reviews

As an added bonus, potential buyers who are on the fence may be swayed more by your earnest customer service than they are by the negative comments.

If you show that you welcome reviews, whether bad or good, your customers will be much more likely to submit their thoughts. Use that chance to provide good customer service, and you’ll see any negative reviews quickly become positive. And that’s how you get more and better feedback. 

Have you seen any of the above tactics in action? Maybe a company used a different technique that prompted you to share your thoughts. We’d love to know what works for you, so let us know in the comments.

State of Ecommerce Marketing 2014!

Originally published May 23, 2014 10:00:00 AM, updated January 18 2023