Consumer product reviews are a proven sales driver, and are a must have for online retailers, and more and more have been adding reviews to their product pages recently.

It depends on which study you read, but up to 90% of online shoppers use reviews before buying, and they can cause an uplift in conversion rates.

Having the functionality that allows users to write reviews on your website is one thing, but you need to have enough of them on your product pages to make it a more useful resource for shoppers, so how can you persuade more people to review your products?

The GetElastic blog has some 'out of the box' ideas for acquiring more user reviews, such as offering incentives to reviewers, using packing inserts or providing in-store access points for customers to review products bought offline.

Some good tips here, but how else can e-tailors gather more reviews?

Use a reviews provider

One guaranteed method of getting enough customer reviews to make your product pages more useful and persuasive for shoppers is to use a third party reviews provider, such as Reevoo or Bazaarvoice.

Many retailers, including Comet, Tesco, Carphone Warehouse, and Argos use these companies to add reviews to their sites. This is a useful way to build up a body of reliable reviews for product pages which could otherwise take some time. Drawbacks include the fact that such reviews tell other potential customers nothing about buying from your site, while, especially for smaller retailers, it may be more cost effective to generate reviews.

Email customers after purchase

Sending an email after a customer has purchased an item to ask for a review is a good idea, but the timing is a key issue here. You need to give customers enough time to have received the product and had to chance to start using it and form an opinion, but it still needs to be sent when the purchase is fresh in the customer's mind.

Comet provides one example of how to do this, having followed up with an email around a week after I'd purchased an item from their site:

Comet product review email

The incentive of winning an iPod is also a good idea, though this should perhaps be limited to people that have actually purchased a product to avoid people leaving random reviews just to enter a competition. 

The execution was spoiled slightly by the fact that clicking on the link to write a review led me to a page on the site from which I had to search for the product to review, rather than sending me to the item I had just purchased. This means a little more hard work for customers and could lead some to give up on the idea.

If you're going to use emails, then a direct link to review the product a customer has just purchased can make the difference.

Ask for reviews on product pages

There are plenty of product pages that have yet to attract customer reviews, perhaps because the products are niche, or newly released, though plenty of Amazon users leave reviews for products that haven't even been released yet.

Adding a link to leave a review is vital, though making it more enticing by offering users the chance to be the first reviewer is a better way, as on the Borders website: 

Borders product page - leave a review

Make it as simple as possible

Some users may not have a lot to say about some products, or may not have the time or inclination to leave detailed reviews, so making the process simpler is one way of attracting more reviews.

Offering customers the option of leaving a quick rating out of five or ten is one way, and provides a useful summary to add to product pages, while another way to get a little more useful detail is to ask users to give different aspects of products a rating, as Reevoo does. This also provides some useful detail for shoppers to refer to:

Reevoo reviews

Retailers should be cautious with this approach though, as while it makes it quicker and easier for customers to leave reviews; it also opens you up to fraudulent reviews or ratings from people who have never even used the product. This approach is perhaps best used only with customers that have actually bought an item from your website.

Whichever options retailers use to get more product reviews on websites, it is important to consider the quality of reviews on the site, and how reliable they will seem to new customers. So making it too easy for people to leave reviews is risky, and can reduce the overall usefulness of the content on product pages.

Graham Charlton

Published 3 March, 2009 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

You might be interested in

Comments (7)

Save or Cancel

Rebecca Caroe


all good stuff - but what about B2B?

In the old days you could ask for an introduction to another customer / client to talk about working wiht a company.

what's the new social media / e-tailing equivalent of dialogue with other customers to get specific questions answered?

Also, you don't mention plebble.  They are a fab rating system.... I tried them last week while looking for a garage rental agency and the one I found had three totally negative ratings.... told me a lot!

I added the dashboard which makes it very quick to see if a site's been rated and then has a quick-review feature a bit like your one above.

over 9 years ago


L Martinez

I'm not sure if retailers should give up control of reviews, for example I wonder how Argos or Littlewoods sells online as both have always had dreadful feedback whenever I've seen them in search results, far worse than I think either company deserves, they just can't be this bad and still be in business

I've noticed on eBay more and more sellers say no help will be given resolving problems if negative feedback is given without first contacting the seller, contact the seller first with your problem and everything will be done to resolve the shopper's complaint. This makes good business sense, it means a retailer committed to providing excellent service is not unfairly maligned by a reviewer who wants to be a troll and if a transaction does go wrong the customer has the power to put things right.

over 9 years ago



"Email customers after purchase" would seem to be obvious, wouldn't it?

But I just checked the e-mail account we used for our Online Delivery Report back in July.

We placed orders with 100 online retailers. 33 of these retailers had product reviews on their site. Only 4 of them contacted us post-purchase to ask for a review.

There's a little summary of this on the Snow Valley e-commerce blog.

I very much liked Get Elastic's 'out of the box' ideas, but Graham is absolutely right that it might be worth trying the simple stuff first.

over 9 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@L Martinez I think retailers should be wary of giving up too much control, and there is a balance to be found between making it easy to leave reviews but ensuring quality.

@Sarah, thanks for the insight on emails, Comet was the only retailer I could find to suggest a review by email. It seems such an obvious thing to do.

over 9 years ago


Michael Houlihan

Hi Graham,

Great article. Quick comment from me as a member of the team here at Reevoo:

Reevoo’s model has always been to collect reviews by contacting shoppers after purchase. For our retailers this ensures great breadth and depth of coverage, and guarantees the authenticity of the review i.e. each review we publish has been written by someone who is a confirmed purchaser of the product, avoiding the dangers of fraudulent reviews. This is really important to us, and our research indicates that it's also really important for shoppers and our retailer partners!

We also think that offering incentives is missing the point, and potentially introduces an unwelcome bias into the reviews you collect. With a good review collection system you shouldn’t need to do it!

over 9 years ago




I am surprised that you compare Reevoo and Bazaarvoice.  their business models could not be more different.  One is a white label solution, the other is effectively an advertising platform.

You may say I would say this, but branded independent feedback (like Reevoo) without advertising (like Feefo) is perhaps the most appealing for consumers?  Some e-commerce vendors offer their own "solution" but evidence suggests (and there are papers to prove) that consumers see hosted on site platforms to be not much better than a testimonial page.

When next posting about reviews, please add to the list - we are winning business from other platforms.  But I won't say why, it would take too long!

All the best

over 9 years ago



Graham great article - ratings and reviews are a great tool for retailers and consumers. BUT online ratings and reviews lie.

There are four key ways in which they can be dishonest, you can read about them here: <a href="">ratings and reviews lie</a>

about 9 years ago

Save or Cancel

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Digital Pulse newsletter. You will receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.