Before making a purchase decision, shoppers often turn to online reviews to hear the opinions of others who have already purchased the product in question. In fact, up to 95% of shoppers turn to user-generated content like reviews when making a purchase decision.
Most times, these reviews are written by a verified buyer who is also the user of a product. However, sometimes an item is purchased as a gift, so the buyer has different decision criteria and different insights than if she were purchasing it for herself.
Although customers who purchase gifts for others can’t necessarily provide reviews that are as in-depth as recipients, they still have valuable insights to share. These include how the recipient liked the product, if the gift giver found what he or she was looking for, and most importantly why they bought that product.
Here are some helpful tips for retailers and brands to collect reviews from this unique group of customers.
Engage Customers Post-Purchase
Most shoppers don’t immediately think to write a review once they’ve made a purchase, and instead need a little push to do so. A go-to strategy for many retailers and brands is sending a post-purchase email looking for feedback on the purchase. In fact, research has found that up to 70% of reviews are written as the result of these emails.
In the post-purchase email, include an option for customers to indicate whether they bought the product for personal use or as a gift. And if you’re using a tag-based review system – which outlines a products most commonly cited pros, cons and best uses – consider allowing customers to choose “great gift” as one of the product’s best uses.
Another option, which is particularly relevant for gift givers, is including a section on the “Thank You” page that appears after purchase asking why the customer bought that specific product. Not only does this make it easier for shoppers to provide feedback while they’re still on your site (and while the product is still top-of-mind), but it allow allows you to display brief and helpful responses right on the product page.
When you go about collecting customer feedback, don’t limit yourself to your online shoppers. Remember, shoppers are buying gifts for others both in-store and online, especially around the holidays. If you aren’t asking in-store shoppers for feedback, you’re missing out on a significant segment of customers. To solicit feedback from in-store gift givers, either tap into an existing rewards program or ask customers to share their email addresses at the register. If shoppers are hesitant to share their email addresses, consider offering an incentive, such as 10 percent off their next purchase.
Keep It Simple
When requesting feedback from these shoppers, keep your ask as short and simple as possible. Include a clear call to action in post-purchase emails and avoid including banners or other marketing offers that may distract your customers. Make the feedback process as easy as possible, especially since gift givers have likely already spent a lot of time trying to find the perfect present. Some ways to simplify the feedback process include, making it mobile friendly, and letting customers simply post a star-rating or answer a few quick questions, rather than requiring a lengthy response.
There’s no denying that customer feedback plays a vital role in the success of brands and retailers. And, the more feedback you can collect — whether from gift givers or end users, the better insights you’ll have to improve products and customer experiences. To continue capturing as much feedback as possible, be sure not to overlook gift givers in your review strategy.
Theresa O’Neil Senior VP of Marketing at PowerReviews