Build a Trusted Brand

9 ways to encourage trustworthy reviews and build consumer trust during the holiday season

Tuesday, 28 November 2023
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According to Trustpilot data, the current customer sentiment around shopping, as we move into peak purchasing season, is generally positive at 81%.

So many consumers rely on reviews to make informed purchase decisions. They value genuine and unbiased feedback from fellow shoppers to evaluate product quality and reliability.

So, how do online retailers ensure their product and service reviews are legitimate and promote sales during this busy time? We have a few tips for encouraging the share of trustworthy reviews from their consumer base.

1. Welcome consumer feedback and make sure they know it.

Openly embracing consumer feedback is a guaranteed way to enhance trust. Actively encourage and collect feedback on as many channels as possible so consumers know their insights are needed. 

Consumer insights go beyond constructive feedback. They can be turned into revenue. Use trusted review platforms with the right review analysis technology to achieve this. 

2. Promote review authenticity.

Partner with a reputable review platform and promote the partnership in consumer-facing marketing. With a review expert as a partner, reviews' overall quality and trustworthiness will increase.

It’s also okay to call out a fake review publicly within your platform of choice. If the reviewer is not a customer or there is no record of their interaction with the company (based on analysis), politely and professionally state the facts so that it’s out in the open and legitimate reviewers will note your consideration. 

3. Thoughtfully respond to real negative and positive feedback

How does this encourage reviews? It builds a review-friendly environment for users. Respond promptly to all customer reviews, even negative ones. Acknowledge consumer concerns and offer solutions or explanations where appropriate with individual answers. Avoid a scripted response. 

This demonstrates a commitment to creating a safe space for consumers to express themselves. 

Plus, negative reviews are actually a good thing. According to Neil Patel, “85% of consumers look for negative reviews to make informed purchase decisions. And this number skyrockets to 91% among consumers aged 18-29.”

4. Educate consumers on the best way to write informative reviews. 

The most efficient way to encourage legitimate reviews is to educate. Provide guidance on how consumers can write clear and informative reviews that focus on their personal experiences and product features rather than subjective opinions or unsubstantiated claims.

The goal is to relay an experience that inspires and attracts other consumers. As we say, “a good review includes enough detail to give others a feel for what happened.”

5. Simplify the process. 

We know that 98% of consumers read reviews before purchasing a product. But to build a regular cadence of review sharing means making the path to review writing simple. There are a few key ways to do this, the first being to personalize the process. 

Personalization goes a long way with savvy digital consumers; send personalized invitations to reviewers who have shared their emails and provide direct links to review pages in a white glove service.

Another method would be to utilize pop-up messaging to appear at key touch points during the purchasing journey, including links to review pages, so it’s an easy transition from purchase to review. 

6. Stay on top of verification.

It is essential to guarantee that all reviews come from legitimate consumers and are not written by bots or malicious actors. Bots were responsible for over half (57%) of all attacks on retail websites in 2021. There are several ways to safeguard online retailers from bot intrusions, but the most effective method is through multi-factor authentication or 2-step verification.

Implement multi-factor authentication measures to verify reviewer credentials, such as email verification, social media connections, or purchase confirmation. This helps ensure that reviews come from genuine customers, not bots or fake accounts.

7. Analyze and crawl the review content.

Trustpilot research found that only 57% of people could find a fake review accurately just by looking at the content. That’s why employing machine learning techniques and other technology is important to analyse review content's substance and quality. 

In addition, identify generic or plagiarized reviews, detect excessive use of keywords or promotional language, and flag inconsistencies between review sentiment and product ratings.

Trustpilot operates fraud detection software that runs independently and continuously across our platform, analyzing various behavioral parameters, including IP addresses. The software then employs an algorithm to evaluate the probability that reviews are fraudulent, which is indicated by a "fake score."

8. Encourage the writing of genuine reviews. 

Everyone has an opinion, but what makes it powerful is the use of language and the way the message is relayed. The best reviews provide useful and constructive feedback regardless of the sentiment. 

Encourage genuine reviews by making it worth the consumer's while through loyalty programs or even gamification strategies. Beauty retailer Sephora uses gamification and rewards for reviews in their Beauty Insider loyalty program. Shoppers earn points for every dollar spent, and leaving reviews earns up to five points, which can eventually be exchanged for products. 

Aside from using incentives and loyalty programs, proactively seeking consumer reviews shows you care about their insights. 

9. Keep monitoring and adapting strategies. 

Staying informed about industry trends and best practices can help maintain a robust review verification system. What procedures are new and upcoming, and how are review platforms adapting to regulatory changes and data privacy rules?

The recent announcement of the creation of the global Coalition for Trusted Reviews, a cross-industry collaboration committed to protecting access to trustworthy consumer reviews worldwide, showed that the trend of fighting fake reviews is here to stay. Their policies include best practice sharing, or “best practices for hosting online reviews and sharing information on updated content moderation process and methods of fake review detection.”

Key takeaways

  • Ensuring the legitimacy of product and service reviews is crucial for online retailers during the busy holiday season.

  • Multi-factor authentication measures and analyzing review content can help identify and prevent bot and fake reviews.

  • Encouraging the writing of genuine reviews and promoting transparency can help build consumer trust and loyalty.

  • Responding promptly to all customer reviews, even negative ones, and educating consumers on the best way to write informative reviews can lead to fewer fake reviews.

  • Staying informed about industry trends and best practices and protecting customer privacy is essential for maintaining and updating review verification strategies.

Ready to give Trustpilot a try? Sign up for a free demo here.


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