Online product reviews: 4 ways to keep it real

Online product reviews have become an increasingly popular part of digital marketing campaigns. However, there’s one but: your customers know it too. So if you are about to invest your budget in review marketing, how would you ensure the quality and authenticity of the online product reviews? How are you going to keep it real?

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Over the years, consumers have developed a sixth sense for reviews that are just too good to be true. ‘Faking it until you make it’ is no longer an option, and if you ask us: that’s a good thing.

At Stars and Stories we believe that, above anything, online product reviews should lead to a more transparent and fair marketplace. Fair to consumers and fair to retailers. After all, honest feedback can only make you stronger.

MUST READ 5 Ways to Benefit From Honest Customer Feedback

Your FAIR Ticket to Authentic Reviews  

The most straightforward and honest way to get authentic consumer reviews is to send an automated post-purchase email, simply asking your shoppers to write reviews for their recently purchased products. This is truly the easiest and most straight-forward way to solicit reviews. But it also means that the number of reviews depends on a) your sales numbers and b) the customers’ willingness to write a review. What’s more, it’s hard to support your product launches with customer experiences, if no purchases have been made by that point.

Your FAST Ticket to Authentic Reviews

Companies that want more guarantees on the number of reviews within a certain time span, often turn to paid marketing solutions. Unfortunately, in most popular review programs, authenticity is harder to find. Promotional cash-back campaigns or sampling programs that reward consumers with incentives in exchange for reviews, hardly ever result in fair and balanced reviews. There might have been a time when the benefits of this tactic nonetheless prevailed, but over the past few years, consumers have learned to identify unauthentic content quickly.

How Stars and Stories Keeps it Real

As a company that supports a fair and transparent marketplace, we’ve always believed that consumers should be able to base their purchase decision not only on the provided product features but also on customer reviews. To ensure the quality of reviews, the authors should be able to express their honest and unbiased opinion freely. This belief is strongly rooted in the way we execute our Review Campaigns.

No incentives

At Stars and Stories, we never reward people for writing a review: the reviewer should always remain neutral. As a result, we’ve made it our expertise to build a community of motivated product lovers that want nothing more than the opportunity to try out the latest products. After sharing their review online, they always send the product back to us. No fee, no manipulation, just pure fun and honest.

Content policy

Every community member that tests our client’s product is provided with our content policy; a set of ethical guidelines about writing and posting reviews. We have tried to keep it as short as possible, to prevent readers from bouncing the page.

Code of conduct

We not only provide our community with ethical guidelines but also our own employees. A code of conduct is set up to protect the integrity of both our community members and clients. This code is embedded in the working ethos of every department, from project management to online marketing.

Use of disclaimers

We are strong believers in using disclaimers in reviews that state the writer ‘received the product to try out for one month in exchange for their honest opinion‘. In our eyes, this creates even more transparency in the online shopping environment.

Although some brands still worry it could influence the customer’s purchase decision negatively, our latest study on the effects of disclaimers shows little to no correlation between review disclaimers and online sales.

Working Towards a Greater Online Shopping Experience

As we close this article, we’ll ask again: If you are a brand that invests in review marketing, how would you ensure the quality and authenticity of the reviews?

We encourage you to create an environment in which consumers can freely express their unbiased opinion. Honest, authentic reviews with greater transparency can contribute to a positive online shopping experience, for consumers AND brands.

FREE RESEARCH STUDY Read the whole study about the effect of disclaimers in online reviews

In the meantime: if you have a product and you acknowledge the importance of more reviews, schedule a call with us and we are happy to explain our solutions to you.