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As easy as PIE: How to generate great product reviews

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Much of word of mouth marketing can't be measured in terms of hard ROI, but this afternoon, business minded e-commerce managers honed into one area where it can be measured—product reviews.

In today's session at the Annual Summit, Ian Strain-Seymour, Managing Partner, Retail, Bazaarvoice, shared some insights on how product reviews and product Q&As can make a major difference. Since product reviews and product Q&As occur at the point of purchase, it's easier for e-commerce professionals to quantify their impact, and Strain-Seymour has done just that.

According to Strain-Seymour, implementing product reviews can deliver a lift in traffic from SEO and social sites, lift in conversions, higher average order value, and a reduction in product returns. Product reviews are also helpful for providing information that's missing from product descriptions.

But to have a successful product review program, you have to get your customers to actually come back and review products. The best way to achieve that is to make a point to ask them outright. Only the truly passionate (often upset) customers will respond on their own.

To build customer product review content, Strain-Seymour outlined an effective tactic that delivers two to four times more reviews—a post interaction email (PIE). To achieve great results with your PIE, he told retailers to:

  • Make it easy for customers to provide reviews - pre-populate forms with purchase information or provide direct links to the product-specific submission.
  • Use a simple, clean design, preferably with a picture of the product.
  • Don't try to sell more stuff. Remember the purpose of the PIE is to get your customer to review a product. Browsing your site after the review is a bonus.
  • Timing varies. When you send the email will depend on your product or service. A typical time frame is 1-2 weeks, followed by a follow-up email.
  • Experiment and optimize with best design. Different audiences will respond to different types of emails. Test to find the formula that speaks to your customers.