Five Key Ways to Increase the Customer-Generated Content on Your eCommerce Site

It’s easy to let your eCommerce site’s strategy around Customer-Generated Content (CGC) fall from your list of top priorities. But there are some great reasons why you shouldn’t.

Our research shows that more than 75% of shoppers were less likely to buy something from a website that lacked Customer-Generated Content like five-star ratings and reviews. Just about the same number of shoppers said high-quality ratings and reviews, customer Q&A and product photos were at least somewhat influential in their purchase decisions.

A constant stream of product reviews is also helpful for search engine optimization (SEO). The Customer-Generated Content that TurnTo collects is fully indexable by search engines like Google, helping to improve the page ranking of your product detail pages.

A recent study from Salsify backs up the idea that content submitted by shoppers helps guide your customers to make a purchase. The study found that, on average, people wanted to see 112 reviews per product. (Yes, you read that right.)

Unhappy customers tend to be the ones most willing to move mountains to share their opinions online. That can leave shoppers with a skewed impression of your product catalog.

For most retailers, the reality is that the majority of their customers fall into what we at TurnTo call “the happy middle.” These are customers who were completely content with their purchase but couldn’t be bothered to go to the trouble of leaving an online review.

By tapping into this largely silent group, your site can collect product ratings and reviews to give a more accurate picture of overall customer sentiment about your catalog.

So how can you increase the number of reviews your shoppers submit to capture the positive sentiment of the happy middle—and offset negative reviews in the process?

Make it as easy as possible for their customers to make a purchase by eliminating obstacles and creating a frictionless experience.

Here are 5 key ways that eCommerce sites can tap into that happy middle to get more—and better—reviews from their customers:

1. Get Your Post-Purchase Email Strategy Right

If you want more reviews, you have to ask. A post-purchase email, also sometimes called a review solicitation email, is intended to make the process of submitting a product review as easy as possible for your shoppers.

You should make your request for a review as clear and as short as possible—don’t take up any more time than you need to. Pay attention to the simple things, like a meaningful email subject. You should also create a customer experience with as few barriers to content collection as possible.

TurnTo’s Inbox Submission product, which allows shoppers to submit product ratings and reviews directly within the body of an email, makes review collection easier than ever—essential for capturing the voice of mobile millennial audiences.

2. Ask Your Customers to Review More Stuff

It might seem counterintuitive to ask your customers to submit even more content right after they’ve just submitted a review. But believe it or not, our research shows that’s the best time to request more material, according to TurnTo’s internal data.

Capitalize on that tendency by showing your customers other items from their order history right after they’ve penned a review. It doesn’t even have to be another review—you can ask them to answer a question posed by another shopper, or just have them tap a star rating. No typing required!

This simple follow up can reap some solid rewards. At TurnTo, we’ve seen clients increase their content collection rate by 30% just by following up on a review submission and asking customers to “Do More.”

3. Optimize for Mobile

A recent forecast from eMarketer projected that retail eCommerce sales transacted on a smartphone would account for more than one-third of all US eCommerce sales this year.

Mobile is eating the world, and if your customer content collection strategy isn’t taking that into account, you’re missing out. These days, optimizing displays for mobile devices and then calling it a day isn’t going to cut it.

There are more strategic ways of improving content collection efforts from mobile users. One way is with a visual-first collection flow.

This approach asks smartphone users to submit a photo or video without having to write a review first. Some of our clients have increased their visual content collection rates by as much as 300% with this strategy.

4. Get the Review First, Then Authenticate

Automatic authentication is the gold standard for review solicitation. But if you do need to authenticate the identity of a customer reviewer, wait until after they’ve written the review.

Why? Because asking a customer to authenticate before they’ve submitted any content causes friction can put them off of the whole process. If they’ve already written the review, they’ve invested time and effort and are therefore more likely to sign into their account. It’s a concept similar to the one economists describe as sunk costs.

5. Go Omnichannel

Online retailers don’t need to limit themselves to digital channels when trying to solicit Customer-Generated Content. Those that have physical store locations can ask for reviews in a receipt.

But a more effective way of generating reviews might lie in the “stuff in a box” model. In these instances, a review solicitation comes in the box for the product itself. One effective way of getting Customer-Generated Content might be by including the request on a product registration card.

If you want to learn more about how TurnTo can help your eCommerce site increase its collection rates, feel free to get in touch.

TurnTo Networks is the industry and innovation leader in Customer-Generated Content (CGC). TurnTo’s platform is optimized to collect the most CGC from online shoppers, helping eCommerce companies improve their organic SEO, drive traffic to their sites and increase conversions. Our product suite includes four offerings: Ratings & Reviews, Community Q&A, Visual Reviews™, and Checkout Comments™.

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