Customer reviews can make the difference between a brand’s survival and extinction. Just how crucial are they? According to a recent report, 72% of customers won’t take any buying actions until they’ve read reviews. Plus, when it comes to conversions, when a product gets five customer reviews, the likelihood of it being purchased increases by 270%. This impact is colossal, especially considering the volume of competition in the eCommerce space.
Yet to many who are reading this piece, you probably already know that customer reviews for your Shopify store are “important’. Stats (another form of social proof) are excellent for special emphasis, but if the impact of reviews is “common knowledge” then how do you take your customer reviews one step further? This is where photo-driven reviews take center stage; better yet- the starring role.
Before we dive in as to how you can generate the best customer reviews for your Shopify store (paired with compelling photos), here are a few bullets that provide the basis for our tips:
- Photo-based UGC is 5x more likely to create a conversion compared to professional content
- Up to 80% of reviews originate from follow-up emails urging shoppers to review their purchases.
- 68% of consumers have left a review for a local business after being asked to do so.
How can I generate more customer reviews for my Shopify store?
The fact is – your customers expect to see reviews on your website and product pages. The good news? Your customers also want to share their experiences.
If you have a consistent review generation strategy in place, you can succeed in getting more customer reviews and build strong relationships with your customers in the process.
We extracted proven strategies from analyzing the data of over 100,000 Shopify stores (Loox merchants) to bring you the most effective tactics. Here are seven simple ways to proactively generate more online customer reviews that you can implement straight away.
Step 1: Make. It. Easy.
Frictionless customer experience is paramount throughout the shopper journey, and writing a review is part of that journey. When it comes to review generation it is absolutely crucial to provide your customers with an opportunity to leave reviews with minimal effort. At the end of the day they are executing a “task” that is benefiting your business.
Complicated forms with many questions will only discourage customers. Keep it short and sweet. The process should be extremely simple and effortless.
That is why we keep our review process simple. Our slick review form asks for 5-star rating, text, and a photo. No need to complicate things for your customers!
When you select a review app for your Shopify store, make sure that the review generation process is simple and user-friendly (and automated). Otherwise, you could be missing out on many customer reviews.
Step 2: Ask (and don’t forget about your past customers!)
Tough truth: Many merchants neglect this obvious step and don’t ask their customers for reviews at all. It is true that some customers will leave a review on their own accord, but the majority will need some “encouragement” on your part.
Research shows that consumers will often leave a review for a business when asked. An automated review generation process is a great way to make sure that you are always asking your customers for a review.
In light of GDPR regulation, we strongly recommend sending emails only to customers who have consented to receive marketing emails.
The Loox app also allows you to send review requests retroactively to your past customers upon install. This can help you to kickstart review generation right away.
Step 3: Incentivize
Simply asking is great, but some customers will need an extra motivation to invest the time necessary to write up a review. To give this extra nudge, make sure to include an attractive offer, such as a discount for the next purchase. This way you not only can obtain more customer reviews, but also increase your chances for repeat business for your Shopify store.
3a: Set up the discount
In your Loox admin select the type of discount, the amount and whether you would like to auto-generate a unique, non-reusable code for each review.
3b: Make the incentive obvious in your review request email
Polish your copy and emphasize the incentive in your email.
Step 3: Make the discount easy to apply
Generate a discount code that your customers can easily apply in your store.
That’s why Loox automatically applies the discount for your customers at check-out!
Step 4: Customize the email
Default subject line and email body are just that – a default. They work. But by customizing email subjects to better fit your audience you can significantly boost open rates and the number of reviews that you generate.
Here are some examples from our merchants who managed to achieve fantastic open rates and generated thousands of reviews using Loox’s review request emails. Below are the strategies they used to generate rockstar subject lines that work.
Emphasize the incentive
Sometimes, simply stressing the incentive in the subject line works wonders:
Hey [Name], Your 10% Discount Is Inside
Open rate: 72.23%
Reviews generated: 8,736
Run a contest
Ignite human’s innate competitive spirit by running a contest. Give your customers a chance to win awesome prizes for leaving a review.
This merchant ran a giveaway contest in addition to giving out a 10% discount to all customers who leave a photo review. Each month, one lucky winner gets a $100 coupon to use in the store. The results?
Show off your [Storename] product and win $100!
Open rate: 65.45%
Reviews generated: 5,347
Inject some humor
Lighten up the mood by writing humorous and light emails to your customers (if this fits your brand of course).
An offer you can’t refuse: 25% discount for a selfie!
Open rate: 47.45%
Customers like to know that you care about the experiences they had with your product.
[Name], help other sleep-deprived parents by leaving a review
Open rate: 55.43%
Loox tip: Mentioning the order number in the email subject leads to higher open-rates, as it immediately reminds customers about the purchase they made on your store.
Step 5: Time it just right
With review requests, timing is crucial. Send it too soon and create a frustrating experience for your customers. Wait too long and risk missing out on the initial excitement of using a new product – the stuff spectacular reviews are made of.
There is no easier way to frustrate your customer than sending a review request when the product hasn’t even arrived yet. So make sure to time your review requests according to your shipping and handling times. Calculate your average delivery time, add a safety margin and additional 4-5 days to find the right timing for your store. This way the customer has plenty of time to try out the product and leave a review.
If your delivery times vary a lot between individual orders, it is best to rely on a solution that can automate review requests based on actual delivery time for each customer. That is why we offer delivery-based scheduling here at Loox, to make sure that our merchants get the timing just right to capture all that customer happiness.
Loox tip: Scheduling review requests based on actual delivery dates is the most accurate way to make sure your customers get the review request exactly when you want them to.
Step 6: Ask again by scheduling reminder emails
Sometimes, your initial request will catch the customer at the a less than ideal time and there’s simply nothing that you can do about it. It doesn’t mean that the customer is not interested in leaving a review. That is why review request reminders typically generate 30% more reviews.
With Loox, you can easily turn on review request reminders, which are “second-attempt” emails sent seven days after the initial email. Don’t forget to customize the reminder email’s subject and body.
Step 7: Send Photo Reminders to customers who left text-only reviews
Humans are visual creatures, and our brains are hardwired to process visual data. In fact, we process visual information 60,000 times faster than text. Plus, Images evoke emotions- a crucial factor for decision-making, especially when it comes to online shopping. Reading textual reviews, on the other hand, takes our brains longer to process. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t worthwhile- textual reviews can help elaborate on image and answer key product questions.
Yet when paired with an image- BOOM!- you’ve got a review that is eye-catching, authentic (which is extra important in today’s landscape rampant with fraudulent stores), and detailed.
So how to make sure that you get as many photo reviews as possible? Some customers will leave a review without a photo included. Perhaps they didn’t have one at the time they submitted the review, or it was inconvenient for them as they were on the move.
Customers who already left a review are much more likely to respond positively to a request to send a photo as well. With “Photo Reminders”, Loox enables you to reach out to customers a few days after they left their review, and encourage them to add a photo.
Loox tip: We recommend to customize the Photo Reminder emails, which is possible through your Loox admin, as well!
The Bottom Line
These are the seven strategies we distilled based on analysis of what works best for over 100,000 Shopify merchants. To recap:
- Make it easy for customers to leave a review.
- Provide a clear incentive for them to do so.
- Make sure they can use their discount easily.
- Customize your review requests and make them more personal.
- Contact your customers at the right time.
- Don’t be afraid to ask again.
- Always ask for a photo!
If you need a little help, don’t be afraid to automate the process with an app. Loox empowers Shopify merchants to collect tons of visual reviews from happy customers and create elegant online stores shoppers can trust.
So to recap — be transparent, honest and authentic with your customers, respond to negative reviews quickly but carefully, and show the world how much you care about your customers.
Yishai Segev is the Customer Success Lead at Loox. He's passionate about creating more value for customers and guiding their growth with Loox. In his free time he enjoys cooking asian dishes bursting with flavor, surfing Tel Aviv's tiny waves, and traveling to London.