Guest post by Robby Stanley, Chief Marketing Officer at FeedbackWhiz.
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of product reviews on Amazon. Recent studies have shown that over 90% of internet-using consumers occasionally or regularly consult product reviews when making a purchase. This makes sense; in a world where most consumers have a smart phone and online reviews on any product are just a few taps away, why not take a moment to get more information on a product instead of buying it blindly?
It becomes even easier for consumers to interact with online reviews when they are built into the shopping platform like they are on Amazon. Every search yields thousands of results, and since customers only have a limited amount of time, trusting product reviews is an excellent alternative to individually vetting out all of their options.
Both the quality and the quantity of product reviews matter. A higher number of product reviews gives the product rating more validity. A perfect five-star rating is nice, but with only three product reviews, it will usually be viewed as less trustworthy than an item with a 4.7 rating that has hundreds of product reviews.
Why email is your best option for acquiring organic product reviews
Amazon is committed to making the experience of shopping on its site as easy and customer-friendly as possible. As a part of this commitment, the company wants product reviews listed on the site to be honest and an accurate portrayal of how customers really feel about a product.
In an effort to make this goal a reality, Amazon has cut down significantly on fake reviews and reviews that were given in exchange for incentives. It is illegal per Amazon’s Terms of Service to agree with other sellers on Facebook or on a forum to leave positive reviews on each other’s products, and it is also illegal to offer a free product, a discount, or any other incentive to leave a positive review either.
In fact, it is even illegal to ask for a positive review. When asking for a product review through email, you can only ask for a review on the product; you can’t ask for it to be positive, or mention that instead of leaving a negative review they should let you deal with it instead. The idea from Amazon’s perspective is that the customer should always be leaving a legitimate review.
Taking short cuts to increase your number of product reviews may seem tempting, but is it really worth the risk? Breaking Amazon’s rules can result in review removals, product listing removals, and even account suspensions. It’s much better in the long term to build up product reviews organically through a legal email campaign.
The first email: Checking in
The first email in your sequence will simply be used to check in with your customer. This should be sent as soon as their order has been processed or when it has been shipped out. You could make this email light-hearted with some fun GIFs or informative with some information on how to use the product; it all depends on what you are selling and what your brand is all about.
Taking the time to manually send out an email every time an order is processed would be unrealistic for most sellers who don’t have that kind of time and energy to burn. Fortunately, with an automated email sequence, this won’t be an issue.
A service like FeedbackWhiz allows you to build templates for all of your products that include auto-populating smart tags, so as soon as an item sells the sequence kicks into effect and the necessary details in the tag are filled in automatically. The first email, scheduled to be sent out once the order has processed, might look something like this:
My name is (Seller Name), and I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your purchase of [[ITEM_NAME]].
(Inserted “Thank You” GIF)
The warehouse is getting it ready and it should be shipped out to you in no time! You’ll be able to keep track of its progress using this link: [[LINK_SHIPMENT_TRACKING]]
(GIF of a shipping truck)
We here at (Company Name) are committed to making sure that our customers are always taken care of. You can contact us any time at [[LINK_CONTACT_SELLER]] if you have any questions or any issues with your order.
The second email: Asking for a product review
The second email should be scheduled to be sent out only when the buyer has had enough time to actually try out the product and formulate an opinion on it. A follow-up on a screen cleaning device could probably be sent within the first week as a product like this would probably be tried out right away. On the other hand, a customer might need 2-3 weeks to decide if they enjoy a variety pack of flavored teas.
Each product can have its own automated email sequence, so give some thought to what makes the most sense for each of your products. After an appropriate amount of time has passed, you can send an email like this:
It’s (Seller Name) again! You’ve had [[ITEM_NAME]] for about three weeks now, and we sincerely hope that you’ve been enjoying it. Thank you again for your purchase.
(Inserted “Thank You” GIF)
If you have some time, we’d really appreciate a product review! Amazon customers like you rely on product reviews to get honest feedback about the items they are considering purchasing. And sellers like us can use these product reviews to make sure that our products are being enjoyed and to correct any issues that consumers may be having. We value your feedback; thanks for your time! [[LINK_PRODUCT_REVIEW]]
(Inserted “We Appreciate You” GIF)
And as always, please let us know if you have any questions or anything else. We are here to help! [[LINK_CONTACT_SELLER]]
What to do about a negative product review
Because you are asking for any product review (and not just a positive one), you will occasionally receive a neutral or negative review. This is a natural part of doing business on Amazon, and one that you shouldn’t respond to with anger.
FeedbackWhiz lets you know when a product has received a review, and generally these reviews are left under the seller’s real name. You can set up a template to send to buyers that leave negative reviews; while you can’t explicitly ask them to remove or revise their review, you can insinuate it by helping them solve their issue and then pointing out how important reviews are on Amazon and giving them a link to revise their product review with.
If all else fails, you can respond to the negative review directly on Amazon, explaining that you reached out and attempted to remedy the situation and you apologize for the inconvenience. This will show other shoppers that you are committed to making things right if their order doesn’t work out.
Overall, most of the product reviews you receive should be positive ones if you have a quality product and good customer service. Your increased number of product reviews will build on itself, creating more sales, more product reviews, and so on. Don’t hesitate to get started on your own email marketing campaign as soon as possible.