It’s hard to believe, but the holiday shopping season will soon be upon us. And it promises to be another busy one for brands and retailers. According to the National Retail Federation, holiday retail sales are expected to increase between 3.6 and 4 percent in November and December of this year, compared to the same period in 2016.
You’ve likely done a number of things to prep for the influx in holiday shoppers -- from bolstering your staff to ensuring your website can handle the additional traffic. But be sure you also have a plan in place to generate reviews from your holiday shoppers. User-generated content — including ratings and reviews — has become an expected part of the purchase journey. In fact, 95% of consumers read reviews. The content you generate during the holiday season by using product review software can help drive your success throughout the year.
Read on to learn five ways to generate more reviews this holiday season, in order to generate more traffic and sales in the new year and beyond.
Send Post Purchase Emails
Ideally, a consumer would write a review each time they make a purchase. But most of the time, that’s not the case. Instead, consumers often need a reminder to provide feedback. The most effective way to provide that reminder is to send a post purchase email to each one of your customers, asking them to write reviews for their recent purchases. At PowerReviews, we’ve found that more than 60% of reviews are written as the result of a post purchase email.
Use a compelling subject line with less than 50 characters to entice your shoppers to open the email. Then, keep the body of the email short and sweet with a clear call to action. And be sure your post purchase email is easy to read on a mobile device, which is how more than half of emails are consumed, according to Return Path. In order to make your emails easy to read and interact with from all devices, use a single column layout, avoid small fonts, and keep the most important information at the top of the email.
In addition, make sure the call-to-action in your emails is worded in a way that’ll allow you to collect feedback from both gift givers and gift receivers. For example, ask questions like “Why did you buy this product?” or “Who was this product purchased for?” to invite all types of consumers to provide their input.
Simplify the Process
The easier it is for a consumer to write a review, the more likely they are to do it. So make sure the entire process of writing a review is quick and easy. And be sure the entire process -- from your post purchase emails to your write-a-review forms -- is optimized for mobile, since a growing number of consumers are reading and writing reviews from a mobile device.
Offer an Incentive
While a majority of consumers read reviews, less than half (42%) write them. And more than half of consumers who don’t write reviews cite that they need motivation to do so. Consider offering an incentive to generate even more reviews. For example, enter a consumer into a sweepstakes in exchange for writing a review. Or, tie reviews into your existing loyalty program and reward points when a consumer writes a review. Then, once he accrues a certain number of points, he’ll receive a promotion, such as a discount code.
Remember -- when it comes to offering incentives, transparency is key. Be sure to appropriately badge reviews that were generated as a result of a sweepstakes entry, free sample or other incentive so future shoppers understand who contributed the content.
Make it Easy to Review Multiple Items
You’re shopping for a winter coat and end up purchasing a hat and mittens. Or you put a bottle of perfume for your sister in your shopping cart, and at the last minute, you add a bottle for yourself, too. Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Around 60% of orders that come through the PowerReviews network include more than one item. And on top of that, you likely have many loyal customers who have purchased several items from you over time.
Make it easy for your shoppers to leave reviews for all of the products they’ve purchased from you. Rather than requiring shoppers to navigate to a different page to write each review, allow them to review all purchases they’ve made from you within a single, mobile-friendly page. At PowerReviews, we’ve found that streamlining the process for collecting reviews for multiple purchases can increase review volume by 92% year over year, compared to just using a standard, single product review form.
Ask In-Store Shoppers
The National Retail Federation predicts that in 2017, online retail will grow 8-12%, while total retail will grow 3.7-4.2% However, today, the majority of sales take place within the four walls of a brick-and-mortar store. And many consumers continue to visit physical store locations to do their holiday shopping. A report from the NRF found that nearly half of shoppers say they browse physical stores to discover gift ideas.
Be sure to ask your in-store shoppers to write reviews. One way to do this is by leveraging your existing rewards or loyalty program to send emails to consumers who have shopped in your stores, asking them to submit reviews. Consider awarding these shoppers with loyalty points for contributing content. Don’t have an existing rewards or loyalty program? No problem. Print a call to action on store receipts, asking shoppers to write reviews for the products they’ve purchased. Or, collect email addresses from in-store shoppers and send them post purchase emails requesting review content.