Blair Beckwith 06/20/2012

How to Gain Valuable Feedback on Your Apps


Reviews, especially positive ones, are one of the most critical factors when it comes to success in any app marketplace, including Shopify's. Reviews not only greatly influence your ranking in the listings, but also offer the all-important social proof that many customers look for. With this in mind, putting in a bit of effort to gain reviews for your app offers one of the greatest returns (in terms of App Store success) for a minimal amount of effort.  

Positive Reviews

Positive reviews are the ones that influence your ranking and increase perceived quality the most. These are the ones every developer wants; they come from your most passionate users. In fact, it doesn't even take that many to bring immediate positive results. For example, more then 22  apps in the Shopify App Store (15%) don't have any reviews; 116 (79%) have less then ten reviews. With just ten positive reviews, your app can easily reach to the upper rankings. Knowing this, it should be easy to see the immediate results that come from getting positive reviews. One great example of this is an App in Shopify's store, Product Upsell. In a very short time in the store, they managed to crack the Top 10 Apps in the Store based on a modest number of positive reviews in a short time frame.

Negative/Neutral Reviews

Negative reviews damage your apps reputation, but every cloud has a silver lining. These reviews typically offer very valuable feedback that you can take action on to make your App that much better. Typical issues raised in negative and neutral reviews include major App-killing bugs, concerns with pricing, less-then-stellar encounters with support, and more. These are all issues that you might not be otherwise aware of, especially if you don't offer a clear way to present feedback in your App. It's important to monitor all reviews on your App, but keeping track of the negative and neutral ones is perhaps the most important. Taking action quickly to solve issues raised in these reviews not only makes your App better, but also gives your customers confidence that their comments won't fall on deaf ears. 

Gaining Reviews

By now we've established the importance of reviews... But how do you, as a developer, get more?

Users love an easy onboarding process, smooth functionality, and great support. These are things your app should have anyways, despite reviews, but it doesn't hurt to make sure these are all up to par.

You might also consider soliciting reviews in-app. A small in-app prompt is sometimes all it takes to remind the user to leave a review. You might even offer a reward such as an extended free trial to anyone who leaves a review.

 It's also a great idea to contact users who left a negative review to either request more details or let them know that any issues pointed out in the review have been cleared up.

Finally, it's a great idea to send a quick email out after a certain period of time to users. You might send it after a couple of weeks or near the end of their free trial if you offer one. It's best to frame this request for reviews with a broader request for feedback so as to not appear like you're begging for reviews. Depending on the size of your install base, it might even be worth sending personalized notes to your users to show how much you care. Another option is to casually mention your desire for reviews at the end of a good encounter with support.

Nothing is more important than having a great app, but positive feedback encourages users to take the plunge and try you out rather than looking elsewhere. Reviews help form a customer's first impression of your app, so make sure they're positive!