16/10/2014

By Jan Jensen, CMO of Trustpilot


There are fewer than 100 shopping days remaining = meaning very little time to get websites/emails/stock levels/staff and reviews in place for the rush.
At Christmas, a vast swathe of panicked shoppers will be buying things they wouldn’t normally choose for themselves. They’re going to be highly reliant on reviews and ratings. Online retailers must start engaging with review communities now to accumulate the social proof necessary for a profitable Christmas – and to reduce the cost of PPC campaigns, increase website click-throughs and optimize sites for search engines.

1. Start collecting reviews. Now!

Review collection should take place all year, but:

· You need to step up collection activities now - so there are plenty of reviews ready to reassure Christmas shoppers.
· Don’t be afraid to request reviews – the number one reason shoppers post reviews is because the company asked them to.
· Find ways to streamline the collection process, such as automated emails or pre-Christmas competitions.

2. Follow up Christmas 2013 customers

Ecommerce retailers can never have enough reviews. Politely email your Christmas 2013 shoppers and encourage them to give you feedback.

· Be open to any positive feedback and take criticism constructively.
· Offer incentives/discounts if required.
· Emphasize the importance of reviews help you improve your service.
· By asking customers for a review, you show that you care about their opinion – a great way to encourage shoppers to come back to you this year! Ensure these emails are mobile-optimized – smartphone Christmas shopping is growing every year.

3. Mine reviews for insights

Not delivering gifts on time is a PR disaster. (Conversely, saving Christmas when the stores sell out, or are rammed with shoppers, is a Christmas miracle.) Over the holidays, customer service must be spot on to turn one off shoppers into loyal customers. Luckily, there’s an easy way to predict pitfalls:

· Check your 2013 Christmas reviews: what didn’t work last year?
· Could these insights shape your 2014 campaign?
· Don’t assume bad reviews are bad news - 95% of people said they will still buy a product with a bad review.

4. Showcase your reviews

With reviews collected, you need to maximize their value. Online Christmas shopping has increased in the last few years and will continue to grow, so it’s essential that you position your reviews for all to see.

Use customer quotes on:

· Christmas-themed landing pages.
· Seasonal mailshots.
· Any printed materials.
· Showcasing your reviews at the checkout is another great way to encourage customers to make their final purchase decision with you.

“Only 15% of consumers say that they don’t read online reviews.” – BrightLocal Local Consumer Reviews Survey 2013.

5. Get creative

Review analysis should allow you to get creative, targeting reviews according to interest:

· Consider themed site sections – “Gifts for Mum/Dad/Brother/Sister”.
· Select appropriate reviews to display in each section.
· Adopt a holistic approach – make reviews available across your website, email and social content.
· Don’t forget to announce cut off dates for Christmas delivery with loud banner ads throughout your site! Customer expectations must be managed at this time of year.