Written by: Koen Hoogendoorn, September, 2021.
Perhaps the million-dollar question in the eCommerce sphere: why do customers leave a review? A difficult question to research and answer accurately, as human behavior is unpredictable. However, common sense teaches us that there can be three explanations why somebody would leave a review: emotional, financial and social. In this article, I will explain these three reasons and conclude with how combining all three results in the most reviews for your product.
Right now, this is the primary reason why customers review products. They have either really positive feelings about the product or the company, or really negative. They have become emotionally attached to, or disappointed with a product. This is why we see primarily 4-5 star reviews or 1-2 star reviews, and not many 3 star reviews. We either hate, or love something when there are emotions in play. This is something that is hard to control. You can’t do more than delivering the customer a very enjoyable experience with your service. It is therefore hard to generate more reviews by playing in on customers’ emotions.
In a previous article, we saw that creating a financial motivation to write a review (‘get a 10% discount by writing a review’ for instance) does not work well. You would need somebody to monitor all of these reviews, which is practically impossible for very popular products or companies, to judge whether or not customers abuse this method (by leaving nonsensical reviews) or if they actually do write well written reviews that deserve a discount.
Lastly, there is a social reason to write a review. Today, this is most visible on Instagram. Customers share products they have bought in their stories, as a way to ‘show off’ their latest sneakers for instance. You can argue that customers do this to gain social status with their friends, by affiliating themselves with certain brands that are deemed cool. However, because of the often anonymous character of eCommerce websites’ review section, there currently is not a social element to write a review. There is no social status to be gained when writing a well written review, which also means that there is no social control to write well at all.
If we analyze these reasons, it becomes clear that we can higher the odds of customers writing a review when there is something to be gained for them as well. It is either a way of venting their emotions, of gaining financial rewards in terms of discounts, or to gain social status to their friends by affiliating themselves with a brand that they like.
If we want to reward well written reviews, we have to create a system that understands what is written in the reviews; so that some underpaid intern at a big international corporation does not have to skim through every review to hand out discount codes and maintain the quality of the reviews. You also need to socialize the review-section, by making people stand for their opinion instead of hiding in anonymity. This can be reached by connecting their social profile to the review section of an eCommerce. This creates the social control of writing a well written review, but also makes for the possibility for the reviewer to be socially incentivized to write a review because they are seen by their friends, engaging with a brand and product that they like.
At Vurdere, we have developed Social+ Suite that does all of this. Our algorithms have been trained to understand what is written in the reviews, and prioritizes well written reviews to the top of the review section to be seen first by a new customer. This means that our add-on understands who writes the best reviews, in terms of giving useful and technical information about a product, which means that the company behind the product can decide to reward this person with a ‘top-reviewer’ badge, or with a discount code. This means that the best reviewers will actually be rewarded, which creates an incentive for customers to write well written reviews instead of just leaving reviews like: “I’m just writing this review for the discount code”.
Furthermore, our add-ons use similar algorithms as the biggest social media companies and therefore understand not only what is written, but also who writes it. This means that we can change the review-section, which reviews are shown first, based upon the interests, likes and people a customer knows. A customer will therefore first see the most well written reviews, by people they know (first-hand or via via) or who share similar interests as them. This in turn creates the social effect of reviewing and engaging with a product, which on average has tripled the amount of reviews with our customers (user base of 4 million people).
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