In my last two blogs I’ve been talking about independent product reviews and some of the issues surrounding them because reviews are very important to me on a personal level and for The Toadstool. In this final blog on reviews, I thought it would be helpful to set out some of the things you should in have in mind when reviewing a product so that it’s both an enjoyable and easy process for reviewers as well as providing all the information that customers want and expect from a review.
Reviewing can be lots of fun and some of the best reviews allow your personality and / or sense of humour and fun to shine through. Try story telling or role play and be as individual as you want but always keep to the guidelines below to ensure your reviews are as informative and helpful as they possibly can be.
Below I use “The Toadstool’ but I believe these guidelines can be applied for most product reviews for small independent retailers.
Written review guidelines
1. Is the purpose of the review respected:
- Does the review reflect the general values of The Toadstool: durability & longevity, play and/or educational value, quality, original design?
- Traffic to the The Toadstool in general and the toy.
2. Is the review appropriately linked to The Toadstool and the product?
- Is ‘The Toadstool Review’ and product name in the title or subtitle?
- Have you linked to The Toadstool Home Page?
- Have you linked to the actual toy (a deep-link)?
- Is the toy part of a larger set or compatible with other toys? Is it worth linking to them?
- Is it worth linking to additional information on the brand (on our website)
3. Have you discussed all aspects of the quality?
- durability & longevity?
- How long will the toy last?
4. Have you discussed the design?
- Is it original?
- Is it beautiful and / or pleasing to look at?
- Is it innovative?
- Are the sounds the toy makes gentle on parents’ ears?
5. What did the children think of it?
- Does the toy have educational value?
- Have the kids loved it? Did you test it with a child whose age group it was designed for or in certain cases the child we send the review for (sometimes recommended ages are flexible)?
- If the kids aren’t interested in it yet, is it worth postponing the review?
- If a child has asked to play with the toy again or they’ve played with it in a different setting, please mention that. These little snippets of information really help others to build up a good understanding of a toy and its value for money.
6. Discussing Price
- Our toys are meant to last and not trend sensitive, so we may use your reviews for several years to come. For that reason please don’t state an exact price, but advise people to click through to our website for it.
- If you feel you have to comment on price, please take into consideration that you are not only writing for your own readers, but also for our existing customers whom are used to the price range of the brands we stock:
i. How does it compare to other brands ?
ii. How long will last and whether it’s recyclable or up-cyclable.
iii. Is the play value really the same as a cheaper brand or trend sensitive toy?
iv. Are the cheaper versions as eco-friendly?
The Toadstool tries to match toys to families but cannot always send out toys that will suit all siblings at the same time. Please only review for suitability to the age / child for which a toy was designed.
Where possible (depending on stock availibility) we send our team of ambassadors items from their wishlist. Bloggers whom are not part of the fixed team can obtain discount in exchange for a review.
Video Review Guidelines
Videos are a great way to review a product and by following a few simple guidelines, it can be an easy and fun experience which provides real insight into a toy for customers:
- Play with the toy before you start filming and write down what you want to say. This will help you relax and enjoy the filming, at the same time as making sure you cover all the important aspects of the toy.
- Choose a well lit place to film with not too many visual distractions or background noise. Use a tripod or get someone else to film and make sure you film horizontally if you’re using an Ipad or phone.
- Try and ensure everyone is happy and smiling but that the review is spontaneous, natural and focuses on the children playing with the toy.
- Keep it short. Any longer than 2 minutes is probably too long for you and the consumer.
As a small and independent retailer I’m still learning about customer engagement and I really want to enjoy an honest but balanced interaction between my customers and reviewers. I always think that a really good toy review tells you something not just about the toy but about the dynamic of the reviewing family and I hope the above guidelines helps everyone get the most of The Toadstool product reviews.
If you’d like to know more about becoming a reviewer for The Toadstool please participate in our Christmas competition…
© The Toadstool 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from the Toadstool.
Who has extra tips we can add???