March 20, 2014 Filament Content Specialist

The “How” of Product Reviews

In our last Content post, we discussed the “Why” of product reviews. If, after reading that post, you’re ready to include this user-generated content on your site, you’re probably thinking, “Well, how do I go about this?” Read on, my friend.


People like giving their opinions. And as you read in the aforementioned post, people like using reviews to make purchasing decisions. Give your customers easy options to create online reviews on your site so that future customers don’t have to go elsewhere to find to find the content they want.

•  Maybe it’s obvious, but in order to provide this user-generated content on your site, you have to build in a place for customers to leave reviews. Check out this example from Gettington. Notice how they offer a clear call to action: “Sign in to write a review.”

Gettington Product Review Example

• Use a third-party review website. See Angie’s List, Yelp!, Google Places and others. You can get badges from many of these sites to place on your website that asks people to review your products. (It’s not a bad idea to collect online reviews from these sources either.)

• Make sure you have a profile on whatever sites your customers visit to write reviews.

•  Make it easy. The second most common reason that users don’t leave reviews (after not having anything to say about a product) is that they don’t know how. Ask users to leave overall ratings on a scale of 1 to 5 or to 10. Add a 5-star rating option to give users a quick way to rate your products. These 5-star ratings are easy to give and easy to read, resulting in a great user experience all around. You can also give them options to quickly rate aspects of your product, including fit, ease of use and design. Here’s an example from Best Buy:

1–5 Star Rating Example• Just ask. Yes, it’s that simple. Write a clever request that calls on your customers to share their experience with your products and services. Here’s how Target does it:

Target Product Review Ask Example

• Organize your ratings to maximize their usefulness to your users. Some retailers, such as Best Buy, pick featured reviews:

Best Buy Featured Product Review Example

You can also show your top positive and negative reviews at the top of the list of reviews. First, give users the option to rate reviews by asking, “Was this review helpful?” With a single click, users give you information that you can use in organizing reviews. Then, promote the best reviews to the top of the heap, as in this example from

Target Product Review Organization Example

• If you want to get fancy, you can use reviews to help customers select products by including ratings in product filters, allowing them to view only products with the best ratings.

Fingerhut Sort by Rating Filter Example


That old Field of Dreams adage—”If you build it, they will come”—doesn’t necessarily apply here. Less gregarious customers need a reason to take precious time out of their busy days to write about your products. It’s your job to provide that reason. And if you’re just starting to get your product review campaign off the ground, a great way to kick off product reviews is to offer incentives.

•  Email customers after they make a purchase inviting them to let you know how they liked the item they bought. Just asking can sometimes be enough. However, you could consider offering a 10% discount on their next online purchase over $50. (Consider also running an A/B test to see if just asking is sufficient.)

Timing is important here. You want to give them enough time to have used your product and have something to say about it. At the same time, you want the purchase to be fresh in their mind. Perhaps they receive 10% off their next online purchase of over $50.

•  Create a contest in which you’ll randomly pick one winner from all the people who enter legitimate product reviews up until a certain date. If they write a product review, they’re entered into a drawing for a free item or special savings. You can include info about the contest in your post-purchase emails.


Consumers respond to brands that care. Sites that respond to product reviews are one step ahead, engaging potential customers and making them feel heard. How might you respond to negative customer reviews?

• Apologize for poor experiences. ModCloth is a favorite website for many reasons, not least of all for their thoughtful responses to user reviews:

ModCloth Negative Product Review Response Example

• Announce changes based on feedback. Let your customers know if you’re making a change to your products or services based on customer reviews.

• Correct misuse of the product. If it appears from a review that your customer needs more information about using your product, provide additional and detailed instructions for making it work. (See, again, the ModCloth example above.) They’ll be grateful that you offered such useful and relevant information without them having to ask.

Customer reviews create a useful opportunity for users to add content while generating interest in your products. Plus, users want reviews. We’ve read some awesome reviews that give valuable information to consumers, telling them the best and worst aspects of a product, i.e. the information they need to be happy consumers. How are you going to make your customers happy with product reviews? Share your tips and thoughts in the comments section.

Contact Filament to find out more about adding user-generated content to your content strategy.

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