How to Build Ecommerce Product Reviews Ethically and Sustainably

CM Commerce Team

Have you ever wondered why some brands rack up thousands of ecommerce product reviews on Amazon while others struggle to hit a dozen?

Asking for reviews is challenging for both new and seasoned marketers alike.

You already had to convince your customer to spend money with your business—now you need to ask them for their time and energy too?

It doesn’t have to be so difficult.

Just like winning the sale, building your review repertoire involves the perfect combination of

  • Timing 
  • Personalization 
  • And language 

Consistent reviews should be a focal point of any ecommerce marketing strategy. Ninety-seven percent of shoppers say reviews factor into their purchase decisions. But star ratings aren’t enough. Seventy-three percent hold written reviews in higher regard, often because they seem more relevant and authentic.

Read on to discover a handful of strategies for building both ethical and sustainable reviews for your ecommerce site, as well as a few tips for putting your ecommerce product reviews to work.

7 tips and strategies to encourage sustainable ecommerce product reviews

Google, Yelp, and other platforms take their reviews seriously because fake entries can degrade the credibility of the entire website. 

It’s no surprise that Google has measures in place to remove and penalize websites that acquire incentivized, bulk (such as through a contest), or downright false reviews. It’s smart to follow Google’s lead on your own ecommerce site. 

At best, fake ecommerce product reviews could damage customer trust. At worst, they could land you in costly legal trouble with the FTC. Even something as simple as a friend buying your product and reviewing it without disclosing your relationship is considered deceptive.

Instead, earn your reviews ethically through the tips below. Your ecommerce product reviews will be genuine and thus more effective too. 

1. Ask for ecommerce product reviews at the right time.

First question: When should you ask for reviews anyways? Right away? A few days? A few weeks?

Well, it depends. 

For example, you could send a thank you email and include a review request. It’s smart to encourage reviews in transactional emails while the purchase is fresh on your customer’s minds. 

You could also take the route Adidas took below. Adidas sent a review request email two weeks after the customer purchased the hoodie. This gave the customer time to really get to know the product before leaving feedback. 

Ask for ecommerce product reviews at the right time
Source: Adidas

Email makes it easy to automate several aspects of the customer journey. For instance, tools like CM Commerce can automatically delay review requests, so you can time them to go out a few days after a customer is expected to receive an item. This way, you know the customer should’ve received the product and had a chance to use it prior to reviewing.

2. Keep the process as short as possible.

Ideally, customers should be able to complete the review process in just a few clicks. To keep clicks to a minimum, keep the star rating and written review field on the same page. 

It’s smart to set up dedicated landing pages for your review requests, which you can simply send through email campaigns. This prevents customers from having to load your entire shopping website (which might have a long load time) and log into their account to leave a review.

By keeping the number of clicks to a minimum and making the process seamless, customers will be more likely to finish the review process and give you an excellent rating.

CM Commerce customer Project Nursery lets customers review the product directly in the email. Note that this ecommerce store also incentivizes the review, making customers even more likely to respond. You can easily implement this process in your own emails using our features

Earn ecommerce product reviews by keeping the process short
Source: Project Nursery

3. Proudly display ecommerce product reviews.

People like feeling as though they’re part of a larger group. 

A study found that people are 75% likely to knowingly answer a question incorrectly if they’ve already watched people answer incorrectly before them. People have a natural desire to conform.

Adding ecommerce product reviews around your website serves as social proof to encourage further reviews. People will see that others have reviewed your product (hopefully positively) and aim to follow suit.

4. Be mindful of your language when asking for ecommerce product reviews.

For some customers, the desire to conform might be enough to push them over the edge and leave a review. Others might do better with some reinforcement.

People also have an altruistic urge to help fellow humans. Remind your customers that they’re helping people—just like them—by leaving a detailed review. 

The point is to figure out what motivates your customers. Everyone is unique. It’s important to study your audience and use language that works for them as you ask for reviews.

5. Add a coupon to the message.

As we saw above, incentivized reviews provide that extra push for customers to give feedback on your products. Once customers have given their honest feedback, you have even more user-generated content you can publish directly on your store. 

It’s important to note that you shouldn’t incentivize reviews that are being published to open platforms, like Google or Amazon. On your own store, however, this type of marketing is essential—especially since 78% of buyers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. 

As an ecommerce owner, it might be tempting to share positive reviews only, but you should instead consider publishing all reviews. 

Having a few negative reviews may seem counterproductive, but it can actually increase the authenticity of your brand and products. Plus, Harvard Business Review found that unknown products with some negative press could lead to better sales. Bottom line: don’t be afraid to be honest and genuine with your customers.

Earn ecommerce product reviews
Source: Really Good Emails

6. Include a card requesting ecommerce product reviews inside your package. 

In an age where everyone spends the equivalent of an entire day online, personal—physical—notes are a nice little touch. 

Remind your customers to review your product by adding a little note into your packages. Include any instructions for reviewing the product on your site, along with any platforms you’d also appreciate reviews, such as Yelp, Google, or Facebook.

You can also use this opportunity to ask customers to follow you on social media.

7. Respond compassionately to negative reviews.

Negative reviews aren’t necessarily a bad thing. They can make your website review process look more genuine. After all, no one gets 5-star reviews all the time. 

However, a negative review can also directly impact your bottom line. Eighty-two percent of consumers say they’re less likely to use a business after reading negative reviews about the business. 

Responding to negative reviews allows you to redeem your brand’s reputation. It shows that you truly care about the negative feedback and you want to make it right. When responding to negative reviews, remember to:

  • Apologize up front.
  • Don’t be defensive.
  • Let the customer know how to contact you.
  • Explain how you intend to make it right.

Responding will also show potential reviewers that you’re actively reading the reviews and you won’t respond to them aggressively. 

So, how do you respond to negative reviews in a timely manner? You can read through and respond manually, but as with so many other aspects of ecommerce, automation is a faster, more proactive way of managing your business. 

We actually have a feature that automatically notifies you in the case of a negative review, providing a notification email that allows you to respond in real time. You can learn more about it here.

How to use ecommerce product reviews to boost sales

Now that you understand how to build ecommerce product reviews ethically, it’s time to learn some ways you can put them to work.

Include ecommerce product reviews in abandoned cart emails.

An estimated 70% of customers will add products to their cart but leave your website. A 2011 study found that about half of customers who received a little reminder ended up completing their purchase. 

You can boost the effectiveness of your abandonment emails by including some personalized reviews as social proof. Reviews will help build confidence and reassure customers they’re making the right choice.

 Use ecommerce product reviews to boost conversions from abandoned cart emails
Source: CM-Commerce

Add them to your thank you emails to encourage confidence.

You don’t just want to win sales; you want your customers to feel happy and confident in their purchases from your brand. 

Adding reviews to your post-purchase thank you emails is useful for reminding customers they’ve made the right decision. 

Keeping in mind that transactional emails can generate 6 times more revenue than other campaigns, you could also add upsells along with respective reviews.

Send personalized promotional emails with ecommerce product reviews.

Have you ever browsed products on your favorite website, exited the website, then received an email (maybe with a coupon) for the exact products you viewed? 

You can avoid browsing abandonment by sending the same type of emails for your ecommerce website. It’s smart to include your ecommerce product reviews for the related product, as well, to give shoppers an extra nudge.

Use ecommerce product reviews to boost conversions with personalized recommendations
Source: Really Good Emails

Show them off when you ask for reviews.

As you send your post-purchase request for reviews, don’t be afraid to show off other reviews. A little intro along the lines of “Here’s what others are saying” will make the customer feel like they’re part of a group.

Feeling like they’re part of something exclusive could help encourage customers to get in on the action and leave a review themselves.

Wrap up

Earning ecommerce reviews isn’t hard, but it does take some thoughtful strategizing. Remember to:

  • Ask at the right time and in the right way.
  • Make the process as smooth as possible.
  • Don’t ever incentivize.
  • Find ways to work reviews into your marketing strategy.

Are you using these 13 ecommerce email examples to generate revenue from your store?