5 Real-World Tips for Positive Product Reviews

When was the last time you bought something online that wasn't well-rated with at least a dozen helpful reviews? If you're anything like the average modern consumer, it's probably been a long time. Where once we had to pick items up in the store and hope for the best with no frame of reference for quality, price, or satisfaction comparison, now reviews and ratings are everything. Customers have the opportunity to really know whether or not an item is a gem or total junk through the feedback provided by customers who have bought the item before. The real question is how to get those product reviews rolling in. While follow-up emails and online reminders are a great place to start, often the best way to get a review for a physical product is to ask in the real-world, not just the digital one.

1) The Happy or Sad Business Card

One trend that has clearly taken the eCommerce world by storm is the two-sided review card, usually slipped into product packaging before the box is closed up. Usually, on one side of this card is a smiley face and a message reading something like...

"Happy with your product? Come review us online!

Along with a URL or scannable phone code that will take customers to the company's reviewing platform of choice. On the other side is a sad face along with a message that reads...

"Is there a problem? Our customer service agents will be happy to help you!"

This side is, naturally, accompanied by a completely different link guiding customers to the service hotline, chat platform, or email address. This encourages customers to sort out their complaints privately with the company while happy customers are invited to leave a positive review. No doubt you can see the value. Ideally, the design of the cards will make customers smile and want to comply.

2) "Rate Me!"

There's nothing like a little Alice in Wonderland reference to delight both young and old customers alike. Personifying your products is a fantastic way to make your customers see them in a different light and reconsider leaving a review even when they wouldn't normally. A small card or even a fun postcard, pamphlet, flyer, or picture featuring a funny joke and a friendly request for reviews is a great method to charm your customers into logging in and leaving you a few positive comments.

3) Put it On the Packaging

Another creative way to encourage reviews in the real-world along with your product is to incorporate it into the packaging itself. Perhaps printed on the product box, the inside of the lid, or in an intriguing picture printed on the wrapping paper itself, include your desire for a review and an easy link for customers to comply. The more you surprise your customers, the happier and more amused they are likely to be when they rate your item and that positive mood will shine through in the tone of their review. After all, everyone loves a company with a whimsical sense of humor.

4) The Intuitive Email

A follow-up email generally times itself to arrive a day or so after product delivery but you can, in fact, fine-tune this technique to relate directly to the real world. Many shipping services now include moment-to-moment tracking of package location and even where drivers are customer neighborhoods. This culminates in a real-time update when the package is finally delivered. Using your delivery service API, you can send automated review-encouraging emails the moment your customer's package is available, serving as both a friendly alert that their package has arrived and an almost eerily 'psychic prediction' of when your customers will be ready and able to leave a review.

5) A Follow-Up Postcard/Email Combo

Our final tip considers the fact that some products can't be accurately reviewed until the customer has owned and used them for a few days, weeks, or even months. If you want updated reviews or to encourage customers to review after they've had some time with the product, give your review requests time as well. Send a fun postcard a week or so after product delivery paired with an email because some people don't read non-bank-related snail mail. This will allow customers to give more accurate reviews for things like cooking utensils, exercise equipment, and other products that may stand out more after a few uses.

Whether you're selling high-end executive pens or a line of popular cat toys, physical products are sometimes best served with physical reminders to rate and review. When your customer can hold the reminder card in their hands, laugh at your pictures or jokes, and quickly access the URL while sitting next to their new product, you are much more likely to get valuable detailed reviews that will show your future customers just how great your product really is.

Bryan Caplan