Reviews can make or break a business!
Moz put out a survey and concluded that review signals contribute to 15+ percent of Google search ranking factors.
The more reviews you have on your eCommerce site, the better your chances of ranking high on Google.
Not only that, but the vast majority of customers won't buy a product that doesn't have any reviews!
As an eCommerce store owner, you know that you have to get more reviews from customers to help your business grow.
So this begs the question...
How do I incentivize someone to leave a review?
The answer is: it depends.
Let's go through how you can offer incentives that drive customer reviews and boost conversions transparently and ethically!
First, offering incentives for reviews depends on
- Where you are asking for reviews
- What country your business operates in
- How you ask for the reviews
Second, if you want to offer invectives for reviews ethically, keep these three things in mind:
- Don't bribe customers with free or discounted products in exchange for a positive review - especially on Google.
- Disclose what a person received in exchange for leaving your business a review.
- Give both positive and negative reviews the same incentives.
Where are you asking for reviews?
If you are asking for reviews on third-party sites like Google or Yelp, you should NOT offer incentives for reviews. This goes against their terms of service and could get you banned,
Further Reading: How Google Feels About Fake Reviews
If you are asking for first-party reviews (reviews on your website), you should follow the country's guidelines.
Consider the country you operate in
If you live in the USA, the FTC (a USA consumer protection governing body) says this:
"Your customers have the right to know which reviewers were given products for free." FTC
Not only that, but the FTC goes on to say that if you're offering a customer "something of value in return for reviews, tell them in advance that "they should disclose what they received from you."
Every country is different, but the advice is suitable for all businesses.
How you ask for reviews
You want to ensure that you are 100% transparent in asking for and displaying your reviews online.
If you are sending out free products in exchange for a review, be sure to let the person getting the product know that they have to disclose that the product was free!
Also, don't word your review request so that people think they can only get an incentive if they leave a positive review.
Now that we have covered the basics let's discuss offering a discount or loyalty points to leave a review.
Tips for Offering Incentives That Drive Customer Review Conversions
How do you offer discounts for reviews?
Offering discounts can improve your review request rate.
People are more likely to open your email when you mention the discount in the review-request email subject line.
Not only does offering a discount improve open rates, but it also encourages customers to return to your store to buy again!
Here's how you can offer discounts in exchange for product reviews
- Decide how much the discount will be Consider offering a higher discount when asking for a photo or video review.
- Disclose if the discount is eligible for all orders or orders over a certain amount It's best to allow your discount to be applied to all orders since your customer is doing you a favor.
- Give both positive and negative reviews the same discount.
How do you offer points for reviews?
Offering loyalty points can be better for your brand than offering discounts.
Many people feel like discounts 'cheapen' their brand, so they use loyalty points to create community and repeat customers instead.
The same logic as discounts applies to loyalty points.
Let's go through how to offer incentives if you use a review app to collect reviews for your website.
If you are using a reviews app like Fera for your Shopify or Wix store, you should create an automatic review request campaign to rend our review requests.
How to automatically request reviews from customers
When you create a review request campaign, you can attach 3 types of incentives for customers that submit content through this review request:
- Loyalty points (with Smile.io)
- Cashback (Shopify Only)
Further reading: Determine which incentive is the best for your store.
Should You Offer Incentives For Product Reviews on Shopify?
Pros and Cons of Offering Review Incentives
Remember, you don't have to offer incentives for product reviews!
There are pros and cons to it.
Let's go over them, shall we?
Pros for offering incentives for reviews
- Improve review rates
- More positive reviews
- Happier customers
Incentives improve review rates
When you offer incentives, especially great incentives like 30% off, people are more likely to leave a review.
People loyal to your brand will likely leave a review faster because they want to buy from you again with your discount.
More positive reviews
When you offer an incentive, people, rightly or wrongly, feel like they have to leave a good review to get the incentive.
Make sure you work your review request neutrally, so they don't feel that is the case.
Rewarding your customers for their time to leave a review makes them happy.
They feel like you value their input and time and are likely to be happier with your brand in the long term.
Cons for offering incentives for reviews
- Less negative feedback
- Less trust
Less negative feedback
While this might seem like a good thing, the lack of negative feedback doesn't allow you to get better as a brand.
You might not get better packaging or know that your shipping times are too slow without negative feedback.
Using a reviews app like Fera, you can resolve issues and offer a re-review when you make your customers happy.
Receiving and acting upon negative feedback will help your store grow in the long term!
You can face penalties if you offer incentives for reviews on third-party platforms like Google, Yelp, or Etsy.
Going too far can also get you in trouble with the FTC if you are an American.
No business needs that kind of trouble, so sometimes, offering incentives for reviews isn't worth it.
Your customers might wonder how truthful the reviews on your site are if you offer incentives for reviews.
If you don't disclose that you offered an incentive for reviews on your website, but you offered your customer an incentive in your review request email, they will wonder what is going on!
You never want to give customers a reason to question your brand, so always be transparent!
Wrapping it up
Offering incentives for reviews is entirely up to you, so hopefully, this post shows you how to do it ethically and transparently!