Welcome to the e-commerce marketing podcast, everyone. I am your host, Arlen Robinson. And today we have a very special guest, Jameela Ghann who is the Marketing Manager at Fera.ai which is an online platform that helps businesses Manage, show and grow customer reviews, photos & videos with ease. 

Thanks for having me. Excited to be here.

No problem. I am excited to talk to you as well, because today we’re going to be talking about a subject we haven’t talked a lot about before on the podcast, which is reviews, the product reviews and coming up with a clear product review strategy for the e-commerce business. Because as many of us know, all of our listeners know these days, most customers these days when you’re going online buying anything. I think one of the first things that a lot of people look at is the review, the product review.

What are the customers saying? How many reviews are there? So it’s a big deal. It’s definitely a big deal. Before we dove deep and dig into that, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background and specifically how you did get in, what you’re doing today, OK?

Yeah, so many things to me. And I got into marketing and I am writing actually my own jewelry business, e-commerce business. And I started doing some marketing consultants. I did some marketing consulting firm Fårö. And they’re like, oh, we really like you. They want a job. Yeah. So that’s kind of how I got into there. And then the reason that I got into marketing and consulting was because I found a lot of makers in my city, which is in Calgary.

They didn’t do a very good job of promoting their business or making money online. So I wanted to try to help other, particularly female owned businesses just make more money so that they have more economic freedom. So that’s kind of how I started in marketing and marketing consultant. And so that’s how I got here.

OK, that’s great. That’s great. So I take it you do a good job of what you do and then either utilize and use it as a consultant and then decided to bring you on their team actually as a marketing manager. OK, that’s awesome. Awesome. Good stuff. Well, as you’ve experienced, just being in the field there, like you said, and dealing with businesses in Calgary, it’s no it’s not dissimilar to anywhere in the world where so many small businesses struggle with marketing in general, you know, getting themselves out there, attracting customers and just managing everything, not only the marketing, but just managing the whole business.

So there’s definitely a need for highlighting things like this. And so with product reviews, how actually does a business if somebody is looking for businesses, looking to get product reviews, the customer reviews for their specific products, where do they even begin? Let’s say know the first thing about it and where do they begin with it?

OK, so, I mean, if this really depends on what state you are in your business. So of course, for FERA, we get a lot of new stores coming on online and for new stores, we recommend that people reach out to their first customers and they reach out personally to their first customer. So if you only have like ten or twenty or something sales, then it’s best for you to reach out personally to your customers because the majority of people will leave a review when they’re asked.

And the problem with most stores, even large stores, is that they never ask for a review. They just assume people are going to come back and leave her site, which I literally never happens unless they’re really mad at you, but above and beyond. Right. So, like, for everybody who’s in between, you kind of want to be asking them for reviews. So if you’re a small store, then ask personally for reviews. But if you’re a large store, then you can start to set up ongoing campaigns, automatic campaigns that ask people to start reviews.

So that’s kind of if you’ve already had sales where you start. But then there’s like another part to this which we can go into a little bit later. It’s like creating an experience where people want to leave you a review so you don’t want to be asking for reviews. If you know that like you’re packaging facts are like your customer service. This is trash. So you have to make sure that you’re giving people an experience that’s worth reviewing. So starting with a good product, starting with the customer service, starting with good packaging, that kind of thing.

So that’s kind of where you would you would start with very good points there. And like you said, you got to make sure you’re starting off with like, is that a good product, good customer service, good pass you all of that, because if not, you could, of course, just jump into it and just start to ask everybody for review. But if you don’t have everything together, you could be actually opening up a whole can of worms.

Definitely, because I don’t want negative reviews, you know, and you’re depending on the platforms that you use. And we can get a little bit more into that. Most of the third party platforms pride themselves on making sure that they show authentic reviews. And it’s not who those third party platforms. You can’t just go in there and delete reviews. They don’t allow you to do that. If you want to try to overcome a negative review and let those third party platforms, you can, of course, comment back to the customer.

I know some of them will allow you to communicate with the customer to get them to see if they agree one on one with the company to either remove the review or change that. They can do that. But I know some of them don’t even allow that. So it could be a tricky thing. If you don’t have everything together, you could be opening yourself up to, you know, a lot of negative feedback and reviews.

And that’s how you always want to, like, always start building relationships with your customers early on in the process and making sure that you’re like an authentic brand that cares about their customers, because then you’re less likely to get negative reviews. And even if you do get negative reviews, then like you said, you can communicate with your customers and say, OK, well, what can I do to make it better? Is there something I can do to help you change the review into a five star experience?

So it’s always like having that really good relationship with your customer, first and foremost.

Yeah, definitely. For sure. Now that we’ve established, you know, there’s definitely something that a business should do, especially if they’re doing the right things or at least they’re trying to do all the right things across all of their channels. All of the methods are points of communication that they have with their customer. They feel that they’re doing a pretty good job. Is there a particular methodology for getting these reviews? Of course, you said the main thing is you’ve got to ask.

You got to ask. But with that, how do you ask? Is it via email or is there is there a certain systematic approach to getting these?

Yeah. So the majority of review requests are going to be through email. And one of the things that you want to make sure that you do in your email is, OK, so all of this stuff you can do within there. But of course there are other platforms that you can that you can use. But one of the things that you want to do first is make sure that you’re sending your email at the right time. So if you have a reviews app or you have a review platform, you can say, OK, I know that my customers get their products 10 days after I ship it out or something like that.

So then you ask for a review, depending on the product on the 11 or the 12 day or when it’s delivered, because you want to make your timing right so that your customer can actually enjoy their product or they can leave an inbox and review. So something that may be useful for like sending right away is something like make up. Right, because people open their make up, they want to take a picture, they want to show showed on Instagram.

They want people to be jealous of their purchases for these lifestyle products. So but if you want to set the time right for that, but then something else like let’s say you’re selling those things that help your plants grow, maybe you’re not going to send a review. You’re not going to send an email review request until 20 days after they’ve gotten it. If they have time to figure it out. So email. So, first of all, sending your email at the right time.

The second thing is making sure that your email is personalized instead of just being like, hey, how is that like one product that you buy whatever. Right. In your view, if you want to say hi, your customers name and then you want to say, oh, I noticed that he bought such and such a product, can you let us know how you feel about it? And then you insert the product name, you insert their name.

You say, I bought it 12 days ago. I was like making it seem like it’s actually from you. So that’s the next important thing. Personalization and then the other thing that you want to include in your emails. And you can also do this in text message, but most of it, again, is done through email. And you want to say, OK, I have this incentive that I can give you say can. And again, it depends on your product.

If you’re selling paint, maybe you want to do cash back because like people don’t usually buy all that for a year. So you could say here’s like ten dollars cash back. If you take a picture of your painting, your new room and you want to be specific in your email, you don’t want to be vague. You want to say do this and get this, because nobody wants to say yes or you can do a discount, like if you do vitamines or something, if they get 15 percent of your next purchase and then only sign your name.

And yeah, that’s basically for if you want to make it easy, of course, for people to leave, it would be like having one click in the email is good. Making sure it’s mobile friendly is really important, especially if you’re asking people to take photos, that’s been really hard because those are very, very powerful forms of. So that’s kind of like what you would do for your. Yes, that’s the stuff.

That sounds great. Well, thank you for sharing that with. One of the things, though, that did stick out from what you said, is it I guess it’s very important, the timing of it. I think that maybe almost one of the most important things, the timing of it, because you don’t want to sort it too early, know, like you said, if you know the customer is not going to get the product until 10 days after they’ve purchased it since the day before that, because, you know, they’re going to look at it, but they aren’t going to see the product.

Why you’re asking me for review. It’s going to go into their trash. And so definitely makes sense. And then you also have to allow enough time that they’ll be able to use the product. And, you know, depending on your the nature and the type of product it is, there could be a period of time before they use. Like you said, if you’re selling paint, typically somebody gets it. You know, they’re not going to finish painting like you the whole room within a day or so.

So that allows some time. Now, one quick question that I had that I thought about, and you can let me know what you think of this strategy, because I’ve seen other businesses utilize it. A lot of businesses are really aggressive these days to try to get as many reviews as possible and as early as possible, even though there’s a time frame as to when the customer may get their product to utilize it. But what I see a lot of times is companies will ask customers to review the experience, the shopping experience on the site right after purchasing.

What are your thoughts on that? And do you think that’s something that’s worth doing?

So I think that it is worth doing depending on your company size. That’s a really good strategy for getting store reviews instead of getting my product. So those are two separate things, right? Like, how did you experience our brand? And then the other is how did you experience product? So there’s still a lot of use in asking people for a review about their overall experience in that if you know you have a good experience, you’re going to get good reviews.

And also it helps you iterate on your website and say, OK, oh, people really hate this, are like people really hate this company or they hate our product descriptions or something like that, or we’re too slow to respond, then that gets like almost instant feedback on things to change. So I think that that is useful and it’s useful in that. Again, there’s the difference between, like stock reviews and product reviews. So if you’re looking for more stock reviews, which are still very valuable, that’s worth having, because even like reviews that you have on your website that have good schema markup, they get picked up by Google and that’s like almost 10 percent of your ranking factor.

And it really helps with your click for rate, right. To sell. The more reviews that you have, then that is better.

Yeah, very, very true. That makes sense. And I appreciate the differentiation of the site store review versus the product ones. So that makes sense is two totally different things. Now, let’s just say a business is if they’ve started this, they’re either doing their own outreach via their own email list and asking for reviews. Maybe they’re using a platform like Farah or whatever platform they’re using to collect these reviews and they’re going for a little while. But like anything and like I mentioned, the value I think is really in the numbers of the reviews, because a lot of times that’s what people they focus on and of course, the positive reviews.

But when they see a higher quantity review that gets customers to be a little bit more comfortable, they can rest assured they’ll be like, wow, five hundred people reviewed is that seems pretty solid. So how does a business kick it up a notch and really kind of exponentially get a lot more reviews? Is there a particular method that they need to follow to generate more reviews, more testimonies and more content that they can use on their site?

Yes, there is. But first, I am for that. I want to give your listeners some stats. So like any program is definitely will increase your conversions by three percent or more, and one review can improve the conversion rate by 10 percent. So I don’t want to discourage anybody who feels like they need more reviews. But then I get reviews can improve conversion rates by thirty seven percent or more. So like like you said, the more the better.

But don’t be discouraged if you only have a couple of years. But then your question about the methodology so you can only really ask for more reviews if you have more sales. Right. Like you have to fill the top of your model. So you have to really focus on getting the right customers to your store, converting them on your website, and then having an automation platform in place to send out those reviews. And then the other thing that you can do is if you have a good social media presence, you can use the customer, the user generated content that’s on your.

Stick around and then you can put that on your website, too, and you can like if somebody tags you in, like, let’s say I’m wearing this, this is I’m actually wearing all button, which is sort of my favorite Brad in Canada. So, like, if I take buttercream and what I’m wearing, then they can turn around and say, oh, this is the X, Y, Z sweater and they can put that on their website.

Of course, I’m going to ask your customers for permission, but that’s another really good way to get user generated content. That is not particularly a review, but it’s still an endorsement of your product. So telling people like Tegus or use the hashtag like Alora tripe or whatever in your Instagram or on your Facebook or like on Pinterest or something like that. And then that’s a really good way of generating content on an ongoing basis that you can use in your campaigns.

Like, for example, in Facebook, if you’re running campaigns, you can choose posts that are like in partnership with Post and then post those. So that’s another way to get a lot more like photo content. But you need to ask is is that is very true. You got to have customers that have gotten their hands around your products or utilized your services in order before you do anything. That’s that’s the bottom line. You got you got to get your sales back.

But there’s also one thing that you can do, which I should mention, is that you can send people like influencers in your mail, you can send them products, and you don’t want to be like, oh, I’m sending you this product for a review, but you can send them the product. You can say, hey, let me know what you think about it. And then if they like, you can say, oh, well, would you like to leave me a review?

So that’s another way to generate reviews, too, because they have actually used your product, but you don’t want to send people things in exchange for like you. Never. One thing that I want to emphasize is that you never want to be shady about getting reviews or unethical about it because you want to make sure that you’re building trust with your customers. And if you don’t have trust and you really don’t have anything.

Yeah. Gotcha. Gotcha. Then I definitely know what you’re saying. And I see, unfortunately, there’s a lot of companies that do try to go those routes where they’re kind of bribing their customers, so to speak, for the reviews and incentivizing them. I mean, you know, there’s there’s things that you can do, of course, to encourage people to take the time to do the review. But outside of that, it has it really needs to be a totally unbiased review where people are doing it just kind of on their own volition and then aren’t encouraged to be for five star review because of something.

So I totally, totally understand that like any other marketing strategy, whatever you’re doing, you need to be able to measure it, to be able to track the success of it, to determine where do you go with it? Do you need to pivot? Is it worthwhile that you do all of these things? So how do you really measure the success of all of this, everything that you’re doing with regards to this strategy?

Yeah, OK, so one way to measure success is are you getting so that’s the first thing you can say? No. If your reviews, though, actually can start a little higher up, you can say, OK, what percentage of people are opening my email? Right. Then you start with something crappy. Right. So it’s the first wave and then the next place is the response rate. So you say, OK, if I send one hundred emails or five percent of people responding, and if you notice that it’s pretty steady, then that’s good.

I mean, five percent honestly, even on Amazon, like around five percent of people will leave. So if we’re looking at obviously you’re doing pretty good. And then the other thing is you want to know what is the the star rating? What’s the average star rating? Right. So you can measure that. And that’s something that, again, goes back to the customer experience and it goes back to the product. So you can say, am I delivering on what I promised?

Right. So that’s another way to measure your review success. So are people responding or are we getting good reviews as kind of the metrics that you want to you really want to be looking at? Am I getting reviews? And I may get reviews and you start to work backwards from and say, oh, I’m getting a lot of three star reviews. People are saying, like, the quality is not what I thought it was or people are saying, like the material is 80 or something like that.

And then you say, OK, I’m going to start working on my material. Or they say the product’s beautiful, but the packaging shitty or it took like 30 days for it to get there. And then you start working on your shipping and then you can start to see your average review rating. So those are things.

Gotcha. Gotcha. Great advice there. And I know we’re thinking about obtaining all of these reviews you mentioned. Of course, there’s a lot of platforms that you can use. There’s you guys for you have a platform that allow you to click reviews. And I know a lot of the I guess you could say kind of off the shelf e-commerce solutions. The Shopify is of the worlds, the big commerce. They all have their kind of components or apps that you can.

Into that, regardless of the type of platform that you’re using to collect these reviews, what are some, I guess you could say, best practices for the display of them? Because I think that could also a question of like where do you display these? How are they displayed? What’s the best way to present them to the customers?

Yeah, OK, so that’s a very good question. And why is that? So, of course, you want to make sure that your reviews are in a place that’s helpful for your customers first and foremost. Right. So they have to be in a place where people are looking for them. So a lot of people will look for reviews on all reviews page. They’ll look for it on the product page. They’ll be looking for it on the home page, usually closer to the bottom.

So displaying reviews where your customers are not where you want them to be before your customer if they’re looking for about and then you want them to look as beautiful as possible. So if you’re looking for a reviews platform, make sure that you can they have a really good themes that are going to fit your store because you don’t want one thing that helps to build trust on your store is like consistency. If your store is beautiful and minimalist and then you have this like really ugly review blog, then it’s not going to be congruity like, oh, this is this is weird.

So you want to make sure that things are consistent or you want to make sure that you have the ability to customize the way that it looks. So that’s one thing that you want to be looking for reviews. So most people are looking on the product page for you. Most people are looking for like an obvious page. So that’s kind of the place where you want to be able to display your reviews. And then there are other places that you can display testimonials.

Like I’ve seen some customers display testimonials on their card, so that will sometimes help improve their conversion rate. Again, it depends on your store and it depends on your customer. It also depends on what you’re selling. But those are the three main places for you to display. And then again, make sure that it looks good and make sure that you can also collect photo and video reviews. So if you’re looking for a platform, make sure it has the ability for you to collect those two types of content and display them in a way that doesn’t explode on your site.

Gotcha. Gotcha. Good stuff there. The video is a big thing now these days, of course, if you have a platform that’s going to allow you to get the customers to capture their video reviews as well as the photos. That’s really a big deal. I know with with Amazon, I’m always on Amazon and everything, and I’m looking and they always have a good mixture of the reviews and some people that have created a really detailed videos which helps.

And then a lot of people will give you really good pictures. So to be able to have a diverse assortment is really a good thing.

Exactly. I love looking at video reviews when I feel like it’s easier to see, like what it looks like in real life. They turn it, oh, it’s like this. It’s so much better, I think.

I’m sure it’s definitely definitely they’re very helpful for sure. Not Djameela, as we get ready to wrap things up, I wanted to see if there is any particular businesses that either you’ve dealt with or that we may be all be all familiar with, then I’ve just done a great job with their product review strategy and what are some specific things that they’ve done that stand out?

OK, so I have one that’s really big and then I have just a small one that we work that we work with, which out of the second smolan because I had a little conversation with her and she really did well. But one of the best, I think, brands that do really well with, like product reviews and user generated files is Fanti beauty. So I don’t know. Yeah. So she, like you go to her site and they’ll be really good tutorials will be really good reviews.

They’ll be really good people on Instagram who are like this is what it looks like on my skin. And like it’s just like it’s really, really good. I have no complaints, I have no complaints about that. And then obviously there there are places like Amazon which, like you mentioned before, do, which is honestly the reason that a lot of other people started doing reviews is because Amazon is such a really good job of implementing customer reviews and having verified reviews.

And then the other small one that I wanted to talk about was so there’s this company, Rebecca Gates and Stationery, and she signed up for our store or for our app not that long ago. And I was like, you know, it looks like you have like a really good product here. She like, oh, I need to improve my training. Like, you have a great product. Obviously, people love you. You need to add some reviews.

Terrorista So we encouraged her to get a lot more reviews and now she has a lot of really great reviews for her planner. So it’s something that even if you’re a small brand, you can definitely utilize automatic campaigns to start getting reviews for your product and then displaying that on your website and improving your sales. So. Thank you, Bill.

OK, got you. Thank you for sharing that. Yeah, I’ve seen a lot about 50 beauty that some people don’t know that some Rihanna’s cosmetic line. Yeah. So she’s really done well at this point. I’m I’m I’m wondering, is she has she stepped away from music because she’s been so she’s done so well with the fashion line. And then I know she has her clothing and lingerie as well. So it’s it’s a big deal. It’s definitely a big deal and it’s a big deal.

I love her stuff and I just love her vibe in general. So that’s great.

Yeah. Good, good, good, good, good person to come out on. Appreciate those examples. I definitely encourage people to check them out, see what they’re doing as far as the user generated content, the reviews. And you can definitely learn a lot from those brands as well. Well, Jameela, it has been awesome talking to you. I really appreciate you coming on to the E Commerce Market podcast. I definitely have learned a lot and hopefully our listeners have as well, because this is really a very important marketing strategy these days for I think an e-commerce business is the product reviews because it is a I think a big factor that holds a lot of weight, a lot more than it used to when people are making a buying decision.

So very important that you come up with a solid strategy for getting those product reviews. But, you know, I always like to switch gears here with my last question, as my audience knows, just so we can get to know you a little bit better if you don’t mind sharing one closing fun fact about yourself that you think our audience would be interested to know about yourself.

OK, well, this one is I think it’s a fun fact because I feel like it changed my my world view. So when I was 15, I was a really bad kid and my mom shipped me off to Ghana in West Africa to go to high school. And I think it was a bad person. And I feel like I learned a lot about the world. So that’s why I got.

So that’s so. So I take it you’re you’re originally from Ghana or your family is and you were living in in Canada at the time?

Yeah, well, it was a bunch of like other expat kids that their parents sent them away to say, oh, okay. I’m sure that was quite an experience.

It was good. It was good. I think I turned out pretty well.

OK, that’s yeah. You’ve done well for yourself this year. So really, any parents listening that I’m having issues with the kids, there’s always a yes in a way. You don’t have to have them go through the school of hard knocks, you know, learning how to cope outside of the house. You know, it’s on their own. So good stuff. And thank you for sharing that. But, you know, lastly, before we let you go, if any of our listeners want to reach out to you and pick your brain any more about product reviews or any other digital marketing strategy will be the best way for them to get in contact with you.

Yeah, so they can find me on LinkedIn. And it’s my name j m e l a space g h. And you’ll be able to find anything. You can send me a message and I will make sure that I respond to you. And then if anybody wants to do some reading on more products or strategies, how to respond to negative reviews, how to respond to positive reviews, they can head over to Ferreti Slash blog. And there’s lots of free information on there that they can just pass through, I’m sure.

Ghann that’s awesome. But thank you for sharing that. I definitely encourage all of our listeners to to reach out to you on LinkedIn and also check out The Feragut, a site and blog for sure. All right. Jameela was great having you. We definitely appreciate you joining us today on the e-commerce marketing podcast.

Thank you so much for having me.

That’s no problem. Thank you.

Thank you for listening to the e-commerce marketing podcast. 

Podcast Guest Info

Jameela Ghann
Marketing Manager at Fera.ai