Generating product reviews is a staple of any ecommerce strategy. Still, many marketers struggle to solicit consumer reviews, and they can especially struggle with generating ongoing, high-quality product reviews. 

At Vesta, we believe that every brand has a community. With the right tools, your cultivated audience of passionate consumers can be mobilized to act as a huge source of engagement and activation, as well as an excellent source to garner always-on product reviews. 

In our recent Big Online Brand Community Study of more than 4,900 consumers, we found 74% of consumers say being a part of an online brand community makes them more likely to write a product review. Furthermore, 59% said being a part of an online brand community makes them more likely to create visual content like photos and videos. 

Activating your consumer community results in:

  • New sales and consumer acquisition fueled by authentic brand advocacy
  • Increased customer lifetime value and more frequent purchase fueled by emotional loyalty
  • Making your brand “future proof” fueled by agile and on-demand insights 

What are the best ways to ask for product reviews? And how can you ensure you get the reviews that drive further conversion? Let’s talk about it. 

1. Create Always-On Product Review Opportunities 

While generating product reviews is not a set-it-and-forget-it strategy, there are ways to automate the process to relieve the heavy lifting on your part. 

One of the best ways to solicit product reviews is to develop an ongoing incentive to encourage consumers to share. 

This could be an entry into a recurring sweepstakes, receiving an automatic discount code or a special promotion in exchange for a review, or offering reward points in a loyalty program. 

Some brands will set up automated post-purchase email marketing campaigns or SMS notifications to request consumer reviews. These can be triggered at specific time periods after the consumer has tried the product. 

Like any incentivized user-generated content, it’s required that a consumer discloses their product review as part of an incentive program per FTC guidelines. This helps ensure that your product reviews remain authentic and trusted by prospective buyers. Integrations to review syndication platforms often automatically include a disclosure so everyone is covered. 

With an online community platform, you can easily deliver an ongoing invitation to write a product review as one of the community activities. 

How EZC Pak Uses its Community to Ask for Ongoing Product Reviews

Immune support brand, EZC Pak, launched its EZC Immunity Community to help drive product trial and to showcase consumer experiences at scale.  

As a consumer logins to their personalized community dashboard, the brand displays an always-on offer to review their latest purchase. Community members are able to accumulate points to earn badges and status for participating.

In just six months, they grew their community to 5,000 people and generated more than 2 million impressions from user-generated content. 

Asking for Ongoing Product Reviews

  • Keep it simple – don’t overload consumers with lots of text or instructions
  • Provide clear buttons and links to direct them to where they can write a review
  • Consider collecting zero party data to target specific consumers for relevant sites (i.e., knowing your consumers loves to shop at Target and driving to Target’s website)
  • Make it clear what they will receive in exchange for writing a review 
  • Display other high-quality UGC to help guide and inspire consumers 
  • Use platforms like Vesta to track, measure, and reward your consumer community for writing product reviews

2. Launch Personalized Sampling Campaigns to Spark Product Reviews 

Product sampling programs are one of the most tried and true marketing tactics for a good reason, and it is a surefire way to spark conversation and conversion from new and existing consumers.

With today’s technology, you can target, scale, and direct word-of-mouth conversations and product reviews to key retail websites and desired online channels. 

A huge advantage of digital product sampling is the ability to personalize the experience based on collected zero party data. 

Unlike other passively-collected data like first and third party data, zero party data is information a consumer proactively and knowingly shares with a brand, and it is typically related to shopping preferences, lifestyle behaviors, and personal values. 

From this information, you can identify micro-audiences among your consumer community to activate. This could include anything from micro-audiences of parents with young kids, shoppers at a specific retailer, or those who say they are environmentally conscious.

This will allow you to drive high-quality reviews from the exact type of consumer you want to recommend your brand to others, leading to greater conversions and sales. 

How Hero Cosmetics Uses Community to Drive Reviews with Personalized Sampling 

The fast-growing skincare brand, Hero Cosmetics, created its Hero Skin Squad community as a home for passionate consumers to interact with the brand and like-minded people and to engage in fun brand-related activities. 

Consumers can complete user profiles and participate in surveys on their personalized dashboards to help tailor their overall community experience. 

The brand can direct consumers to review specific products or drive reviews to specific retail websites. In just 100 days, the brand generated over 400 product reviews. 

Asking for Product Reviews Through Personalized Sampling 

  • Highlight the “exclusivity” of being chosen for a free product experience
  • Reinforce how sharing their personal data unlocked a tailored experience, building further trust and value exchange around data
  • Use platforms like Vesta to create customized digital sampling campaign pages that offers seamless review sharing through Single-Click Sharing
  • When delivering a product, try to offer more than just a sample and include things like brand swag, literature, or other fun ways to spark creativity
  • Offer writing prompts or specific content requests to participants – this can include asking for before and after photos/videos, competitive comparisons, or sharing personal stories 
  • Use a community discussion forum to connect consumers trying the same product to foster conversation and emotional loyalty 
  • Always thank consumers for their participation and showcase high-quality product reviews

3. Solicit Product Reviews Through Co-Creation and Innovation Efforts 

Consumers are not just consumers anymore; they also consider themselves co-creators. 

Seventy-seven percent of consumers say they favor brands that ask for and accept customer feedback, and 70% are willing to leave reviews when asked. Co-creation then becomes a perfect pipeline to foster product reviews. 

Crowdsourcing ideas from your consumer community helps to generate new concepts and to gut-check marketing messages without thousands of dollars spent on arduous research studies. 

For a brand to succeed today, it must be agile and stay on top of trends and consumer opinions, and must have a channel to access on-demand insights. 

Beyond the direct business benefits, co-creating with consumers makes them feel like their voices matter, and they feel invested in the brand’s success. This makes them primed to share product reviews for your brand. 

How DSE Healthcare Uses Community to Seed Product Reviews for New Launches

Specialty healthcare company, DSE Healthcare Solutions, launched The Upside Community as a destination for health-conscious consumers to connect and drive awareness of the company’s portfolio of health brands. 

When the company aimed to create a new iron supplement brand, it relied on its consumer community throughout the entire process – from conception to launch. 

Consumers were first surveyed to identify critical product needs and then asked for product names and packaging design feedback. 

Then, they were invited to sample the finished product and help seed reviews on ecommerce websites to drive velocity. 

DSE Healthcare has launched more than 5 product innovations with their community, and the Chief Sales & Marketing Officer of DSE Healthcare Solutions has said:

“Fergon Iron Restore was completely developed with the help of The Upside Community. They helped us name the product and then sample it, and gave us reviews. That whole thing happened within the community.” 

Asking for Product Reviews Through Co-Creation Efforts  

  • Make your consumer community feel valued and special for offering their feedback 
  • Be transparent with the creative process to help consumers feel a part of the development 
  • Use platforms like Vesta to deliver customized surveys, polls, discussions, and MROC (market research online community) studies 
  • Gather information about shopping and online habits to capture consumer insights 
  • Direct co-creators to specific retail websites to share their experience and highlight how vital their feedback was to the launch
  • Keep consumers updated on the success of your product launch that was fueled by their help 

In summary, asking consumers for product reviews is a critical component of building brand credibility and driving sales, and it’s essential to approach this process with thoughtfulness and care. By following the tips outlined in this blog post, such as creating always-on review requests, utilizing personalized product sampling, and leveraging co-creation efforts, you can increase your chances of receiving high-quality feedback that can help your brand grow.

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VP, Product Strategy