Reviews are one of the most powerful aspects of digital marketing available to us, and any company taking charge of their online reputation has already begun manicuring their review collection and response procedures. How you ask for reviews and how you reward customers who leave reviews will shape the content of the reviews which in turn influences both your SEO results and how future customers will respond when they read your review pages. Naturally, you want your reviews to be positive, but you also want them to be detailed and helpful. Customers trust each other more than they trust a manufacturer to tell them about the quality and functionality of an item or service and these reviews are your opportunity to show off the true value of your products. When deciding how to encourage and manicure your online reviews, the most important thing to emphasize beyond high ratings is detailed descriptions, especially for clothing and accessories where each customer has very personal preferences for material, texture, and quality.

Understanding Helpful Reviews

In most review platforms, there is a small rating system marking a review as helpful or not-helpful. This allows customers to sort reviews based on how well they can be used to guide your shopping decisions and, oddly enough, many companies completely ignore this incredibly important feature. In most cases, the top useful reviews are positive and highly detailed, sharing all or most of the customer’s experience from the quality of the packaging to how their item looks, feels, and fits right out of the box. Many even post pictures of themselves with the item to back up their reviews.

These are your star customers, offering something to other customers that you can’t, a trustworthy and honest account of your high-quality fashion items and how happy they are with the purchase. Not only should these customers be thanked, but their behavior should be encouraged for even more useful, detailed reviews.

Taking the Long View

The vast majority of reviews for eCommerce items are written on the day of delivery, when the customer is still excited about their purchase and looking to share. However, this means that the review system has an inherent flaw, there are almost zero reviews that reveal what it’s like to own your products for more than a single day. The lack of long-term data means that your durable products look just as good online as another product that wears out in a few months. In fact, usually the only times you ever see a ‘six months later’ review are unhappy reports that something has fallen apart.

But why let this remain as the status-quo? If your products last forever and this is something you’re proud of and want to share, your eCommerce business has everything to gain from seeking your own 6-month reviews, only this time it will be positive reviews singing the praises of your durable and fashionably versatile products.

Getting Those 6-Month Reviews

But how do you get a 6-month review when most customers have almost forgotten where and how they got a product that has become part of their daily life? The tactic is very similar to how you get reviews now, a follow-up email sent by your CRM-enabled marketing automation. The best way to get an immediate review for your eCommerce products is to send an email late in the day that a package is supposed to arrive. If you have precise package tracking, you can even have your CRM fire the email about five minutes after the item arrives, giving your customers just enough time to open the box and be delighted.

To get a 6-month review, you can still aim for that immediate response, but then use the same scheduling system to send an email exactly six months later. Open the automated email with a picture of the product to create an immediate connection between the purchase and the item in their closet. Include a reference to their original order then come right out and ask them how happy they still are with the item. How well did it fit after several washings? Did they wear it somewhere fabulous and, if so, did they receive any delightful compliments?

Genuinely request that if they do have any issues, to let you know so they can be worked out and if they still love the item, ask them to share their joy and your product’s durable ability to satisfy with future customers. If you emphasize that other customers will rely on their opinion to make their own wise fashion choices, you’re practically guaranteed to get a 6-month review update, possibly even with more fun pictures of original outfits created with your items.

The power of a 6-month review is not to be trifled with. Customers trust each other to give honest accounts of quality, performance, and durability far more than they trust a company to not to inflate the value of their products. A positive 6-month review will answer a question that most customers don’t even realize they’re wondering. “Will it last?” You want your online answer to be a clear and resounding “Yes!”