Email Reviews Getting Big Ratings

Oct 01, 2010 9:30 PM  By

Lately more marketing emails seem to be referencing their top-rated and best-reviewed items in their subject lines and headlines. “Our Customers Speak Out — Shop Top-Rated Toscano Favorites!” is the subject line of a recent message from home decor cataloger Design Toscano.

“Want to know what customers like you like best at Orvis?” is a somewhat clunky subject line from outdoor gear cataloger/retailer Orvis. “Protect your investment! 15% off top-rated outdoor furniture covers” teases country-living products mailer Plow & Hearth.

Some of the emails include snippets from customer reviews in the messages. Cookware merchant Williams-Sonoma includes specific, benefit-oriented customer quotes (“love how the handle moves”) and bright red stars to indicate the average rating.

Catalogers have long promoted their most popular products via square-inch analysis. After determining which catalog items reaped the greatest sales per each square inch allotted them in an edition, catalogers devote even more — and premium — space in subsequent issues to the winners. This was all done behind the curtain, however. You wouldn’t see a callout declaring, “Because this widget performed so well in our last book, we’re giving it the top-right corner of the opening spread in this edition.”

Now quotes from customer reviews and icons indicating top-rated products pepper print catalogs as well as websites and, increasingly, enewsletters. Which is great, for shoppers and shops alike. Reading input from other customers, satisfied or otherwise, makes consumers less resistant to buying remotely.

Being an eternal pessimist, though, I can’t help but wonder how long it will be until inclusion of customer reviews in emails will reach the saturation point and no longer provide what I’m assuming is a bump in response. Obviously, marketers are going to feature only their five-star products in their emails.

But after a while, will recipients become immune to the fawning user-generated copy in the same way they have become immune to fawning seller-generated copy?


Are you checking out the Big Fat Marketing Blog ( Editor at large SHERRY CHIGER recently weighed in on the growing practice of including customer reviews in emails.