Chapter 6

Converting your holiday shoppers into loyal life-long customers

Lindsay Kolinsky
Partner Marketing Lead

Trust is one of the most important factors that consumers take into account when choosing to purchase from a brand. One of the most powerful strategies to create trust with prospective buyers is for eCommerce brands to leverage their most powerful asset–their customers. 

65% of consumers reported that they trust user-generated content, like customer reviews, more than brand content.

This is precisely why eCommerce brands must invest in gathering and showcasing customer reviews and user-generated content (UGC) as social proof for use in their marketing efforts. 

With BFCM around the corner, social proof is essential to nudge shoppers into buying. However, social proof not only allows brands to convert window shoppers into one-time holiday purchases, it allows them to collect zero-party data to fuel a personalized customer experience to convert holiday shoppers into loyal customers. 

Here’s how eCommerce Brands can Leverage UGC to Level Up their Customer Experience: 

1. Engage Customers Post-purchase with Reviews & Ratings

Shoppers have notoriously small attention spans, and they may have a million things to do other than write reviews for items they bought online, But most of them are willing to share their opinions if you frame your ask at the right time with the right incentives. 

Depending on the product, you should ask for a review within a few days to a few weeks after the delivery date . For example, for items related to fashion, electronics, food, and other consumables, it’s ok to ask for reviews the next day after delivery. Whereas, for skincare and wellness, it makes more sense to ask after a few weeks when your customer has used your product and seen the results you promised. 

It’s crucial to make it easy for your customers to submit reviews; people are willing to contribute when it’s effortless. With 75% of product reviews coming from mobile, keep it simple with a single page review submission form that allows customers to leave a testimonial and attach photos or videos with only a few clicks.

Utilize this opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your customer by personalizing the ask and ensuring the customer feels valued in exchange for feedback. 

Rewards in the form of coupons, discounts, or  loyalty points are a good way to boost reviews. With an incentive, you sweeten the pot for customers to write a review, and you may even provide higher incentives if they add a photo or video.. In addition to increasing review generation rates, incentives encourage customers to make future purchases, converting shoppers into repeat buyers.

Engaging with your buyers by collecting reviews and ratings is even more critical during BFCM as shopping skyrockets during the holiday season. Brands can manage powerful user-generated content on-site and start a two-way dialogue with their customers  about their products and shopping experience. 

2. Turn Negative Interactions into Positive Ones

Let’s face it, you can’t always please everyone; some of your buyers are bound to be dissatisfied. While we acknowledge that a few bad reviews are part and parcel of doing business, focusing on and responding to negative reviews as much as the positive ones is essential. 

Negative reviews can also help you build trust and transparency with your customers by showing them how your business responds to criticism. In fact, product detail page conversion is highest when a product’s average star-rating is between 4.2 and 4.7 stars, proving that customers aren’t trusting of products that don’t receive any negative reviews.  

Negative reviews are an opportunity for you to tune in and listen to your customers about friction in customer experiences or feedback about your product quality. In some cases, negative reviews can even be quickly resolved and turned into an opportunity to delight the customer. In other cases, there is little that you can do beyond receiving the feedback. 

In any case, your support team should respond publicly and privately to negative reviews, acknowledge the problem, apologize for the customer’s inconvenience, and offer solutions.

For example, if a customer has an allergic reaction to a skincare product, you can offer them a refund, or suggest another product that might be better suited to their skin type. 

Be proactive and prepare your support team to handle negative feedback before the holiday season to ensure you’re not compromising on your customer experience. 

By engaging with negative reviews and offering solutions, you show your customers that you are proactive with customer support and make them feel valued. You also build a new level of trust and confidence with prospective shoppers who can see that you provide excellent customer service.

3. Capture Zero-Party Data to Fuel your Personalization Efforts  

Reviews can be a goldmine of data if utilized correctly. Apart from being user-generated content that you can utilize to building trust with your potential customers, you can use reviews can also be used to collect data about your customer's preferences, behaviors, demographics, and more. Collecting this data directly from your customers is becoming increasingly important with the Google, Meta, and Apple privacy changes, so brands should capitalize on the increase in sales during Black Friday to collect as much customer data as possible through reviews.

By including customer attributes in your reviews , you can collect valuable zero-party data directly from your customers and use it to personalize your customer experience. It also helps you to accurately segment your customers, identify attributes of your ideal customer, and double down on catering to their interests. 

For example, an athleisure brand might ask customers to provide their height, body type, and their favorite type of workouts with their review. With this information, this brand can provide more accurate product recommendations, or send theis customer articles or local event invites that they might find interesting based on their workout of choice. 

4. Collecting Feedback with Micro-Surveys

In an ideal world, every customer would leave a review. But in reality, brands should have more than one means for collecting feedback during the holidays (and all year round). One such method is to embed micro-surveys throughout the customer experience, including the on-site and post-purchase experience.

Micro-surveys are surveys that have 1-2 questions maximum. These surveys take the consumer less time to complete, and therefore have a much higher response rate compared to a lengthy questionnaire.

There are many different types of questions that brands could ask in a micro-survey. One popular use case is to monitor the customer experience using a NPS, CES, or CSAT framework. Brands can use these frameworks to accurately measure customer satisfaction and loyalty levels, identify specific drivers of customer frustration and happiness, and take informed actions to optimize the customer experience as needed. This level of insight is especially important for customer service teams to understand during BFCM when both sales and ticket-volume are at an all-time high for the year.

Micro-surveys can also be used to collect zero-party data from your customers. Even better, with contextual targeting, brands can ask relevant questions to specific groups of customers. Let’s take the same athleisure brand we mentioned before. If a customer doesn’t leave a review on their first purchase, that brand can ask the customer their favorite workout in a micro-survey that pops up on their next visit to the website. However, if another customer left a review after their first purchase and the brand already has the data about their favorite workout, they can ask a different question to that customer on a pop-up survey, such as their preferences for leggings color. With the increase in web traffic and orders during the holiday season, contextually targeted micro-surveys provide a huge opportunity for brands to collect as much information about both their prospective buyers and repeat customers to drive conversion and build loyalty.