Holiday Best Practices for Retailers: Part 2

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This is part two of a three-part series on best practices for retailers looking to drive more traffic and sales during the 2015 holiday season.

It’s no secret that the holiday season is a busy time for retailers. This year will be no exception, as eMarketer predicts holiday retail sales will be up 5.7% this year, the biggest jump since 2011.

Effectively leveraging reviews is one important way to drive even more traffic and sales during the last couple months of the year. After all, a study from Forrester found that ratings and reviews are the most influential type of product content. This is especially true during the holidays, when shoppers are on the hunt for the perfect gifts for their family and friends.

What’s the first step in effectively leveraging reviews? Generating lots of them. Read on to learn 4 best practices that can help you generate more reviews now in order to drive more traffic and sales during the holidays and beyond.

1. Consider Sampling for New Products
A recent study we conducted with Northwestern University found that reviews are especially impactful when a customer is unfamiliar with a product or brand and thus is less likely to purchase. Why? Because there’s risk involved with buying an unfamiliar product. However, the presence of reviews help shoppers overcome that risk.

If your brand is releasing new products for the holidays, it’s important to have plenty of reviews to give shoppers the boost of confidence they need to make a purchase. How can you generate more reviews for new products? Consider product sampling. PowerReviews product sampling campaigns see an 85% conversion rate for reviews written for each sample sent. And the resulting reviews can help mitigate risk for future buyers, leading to more sales.

2. Implement a Post Purchase Email Program
On average, 70% of consumer reviews come from post purchase emails. In fact, implementing an effective post purchase email program is the single most important step that brands and retailers can take to grow their review content.

Keep your post purchase emails short and simple, with a clear call to action. And avoid including other marketing or sales calls to action that may distract your customers.


3. Test Incentives and Rewards in Post Purchase Emails
Nearly all shoppers use reviews when making purchase decisions. But far fewer actually write reviews.

How can you get more of your shoppers to leave reviews? Well, it seems a little motivation can go a long way. A PowerReviews survey found that more than half of consumers who aren’t writing reviews cited needing motivation to do so.

PowerReviews customers have found that promotions, sweepstakes and offer codes are a few effective ways to motivate shoppers to write reviews. Which will work best for your brand? Now’s the time to test different offers to see which will garner the biggest results. Also, consider running incentives now to generate more reviews in time for heavy shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

4. Solicit Reviews from In-Store Shoppers
Don’t make the mistake of only asking for reviews from customers who shop online. Stores are packed to the brim with shoppers in the weeks leading up to the holidays. If you’re not asking these in-store shoppers to write reviews, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity to generate more content.

Sports Authority, a PowerReviews client, saw a 178% increase in month-over-month content submission once they began soliciting reviews from in-store customers. How did they do it? By capturing emails through their existing rewards program, then sending emails asking for reviews on items purchased by customers in-store.