(Unfair) Importance of Newest Review

I was on a product page that had 562 reviews with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. 96% of respondents said they’d recommend this product to a friend. That’s amazing, right? We’ll, it depends.

While the overall stats are impressive their latest review was very negative:


This one negative review stopped me on my tracks. It’s silly to focus on the latest review when the next 4 have 5 star ratings, but who said shoppers were rational??

So, what is the etailer to do? They have 3 options:

1: Moment the review came in they should have posted a review reply stating they’ll fix the situation.
2: They could have sent an email blast to people who made a purchase in the last 60 days but didn’t post a review. This would effectively push the negative review lower.
3: They could have added a graphic like this to the right of the review:


Option #3 can only be used sparingly. If you apply this tactic for every negative review then it’ll lose its potency. Use it only once on a popular product page.

Keep the Scent Alive

Jibjab.com makes money when visitors create $18/year paid accounts.

People land on the site looking for creative greeting cards.  The first thing jibjab.com asks you to do is personalize your favorite card.  This drives engagement.  At this point the user doesn’t have a clue about the $18/year ask.  After personalizing you compose a message for the recipient and hit DONE.  This is when they ask the user to create a paid account:


The clever bit is that to the left of the payment form they show the card you had selected for customization as a subtle reminder of why becoming a paid member is such a good idea.  Why does this matter?  Well, when a shopper is going through the payment process they are constantly asking themselves, “Should I really be paying $x for this?” and seeing the thing (personalized greeting in this case) that got them this far into the funnel is a warm reassurance.

The Most Effective Reviews

For most online retailers, once product reviews have been enabled their job is done.  The thinking goes that if, after turning on reviews shoppers don’t post reviews it’s clearly their fault— they obviously didn’t have anything to say.  But superstar retailers like LifeSource Water don’t think this way.  LifeSource sells water filtration systems, and on their site they’ve managed to collect 1,376 custom reviews.  Not lame reviews like “This works!” but real reviews that tell a story—

My wife Nancy and I share the common goal of building a non-toxic, sustainable living environment. LifeSource was the obvious choice since the system is eco-friendly and requires absolutely no maintenance which isn’t something that you often find in a water filtration system. Knowing that our family has access to clean water through every tap in our home provides us with with much peace of mind and we highly recommend this system for anyone interested in improving their quality of life.

The example above was randomly selected, all their reviews are amazing.

LifeSource’s ability to get shoppers to care enough to compose a meaningful review is itself amazing.  There is no way a shopper would send such a review if LifeSource’s review request email said “We’d love your feedback”.  No.  The reason these shoppers are writing these emotive reviews is because there is magic in LifeSource’s review request email.  I don’t know what they’re asking or how they’re asking it but it’s clearly working.

And just to prove that they’re in a totally different league not only has LifeSource been able to collect 1,376 product reviews they’ve also managed to get 465 reviewers to submit a photo of themselves standing by their LifeSource filter.  How the heck did they get 465 reviewers to go through the trouble taking a picture next to their LifeSource and then send it over??  Check it out— https://www.lifesourcewater.com/customer_testimonials.php

Don’t make the mistake of assuming these reviews are only because LifeSource is an amazing product.  LifeSource might be an amazing product but these reviews are the efforts of some marketing genius who works for LifeSource.

If you know of other retailers that leverage customer reviews in a clever way please do share …

Come out and Say It

3ACTIVE is a brand of 3D glasses by Dimensional Optics (dimensionaloptics.com).  3Dglassesunlimited.com is an e-tailer that competes against Dimensional Optics.  Makes sense so far?  Ok.

I Googled 3ACTIVE and this paid ad appeared on my screen—


With a juicy message like What 3active Owners Wish They Knew. Before Buying – Avoid Regret! it’s impossible to not click the ad.  Clicking the ad takes shoppers to a page where 3Dglassesunlimited.com very eloquently explains why doing business with Dimensional Optics is a bad idea.  The page has been cleverly constructed and I recommend you check it out.

Is 3Dglassesunlimited.com playing fair?  Who knows?  Is the tactic working? Most likely.  Google certainly doesn’t mind PPC bidding wars.

Paradox of Choice

Our flush flapper broke so we found ourselves at the local Lowe’s.  I picked the first universal flapper I found.  I thought I was done but my wife pointed to the lower bin that had 3 more universal models.  Now we were really confused.  They all looked alike but had slightly different price points.  Since we couldn’t decide we started reading instructions on the back.  Being a handyman isn’t my area of expertise so my brain started frying pretty fast and I was completely unable to decide what to get.  One particular model had graphical instructions on the back so I ended up buying it.  I was desperately looking for something that would help firm my decision (end my misery) and the graphic did the trick for me.  This was NOT the cheapest model.

Online shoppers suffer from the same analysis paralysis and are looking to you to provide one compelling reason (or a few) why they should buy from you.  Give them that reason and you’ll be surprised by the results.

Fake Scarcity

At my local grocery store today I noticed they were out of pie crusts.  My first thought was “don’t these idiots know they need to stock-up for last-minute Thanksgiving shoppers?”  And then, a few minutes later, as I noticed 5 different display tables showing off prepared Thanksgiving pumpkin pies it struck me- these guys aren’t idiots at all.  This pie crust scarcity is designed to increase whole pie sales.  A shopper who waits till the last minute (today) probably doesn’t have time to drive to another store.  In the process the retailer has cleverly increased my $ spend.

Happy Thanksgiving!