In today’s Wall Street Journal there is a good article on the new emphasis retailers like Amazon, Zappos, Etsy and Garnett Hill are placing on the power of product reviews.
It’s because of new statistics from a Deloitte 2016 Holiday Online Poll:
66% of consumers read product reviews on websites
51% plan to use reviews online when shopping in a store, also known as webrooming (up 46% from last year)
Point of pain: only 4% of shoppers who purchase write reviews
This stat comes from a study by Northwestern University which shows that despite their clear influence, not many people write reviews. And if reviews help drive revenue then more reviews are needed. So, many retailers who have both an online and offline presence are encouraging recent buyers to write their impressions, good or bad.
Steps Retailers are Taking
Retailers are doing things like allowing pictures to be uploaded along with the ever-influential text and star rating. Retailer Garnet Hill is contacting shoppers three weeks after a purchase and inviting them to write a review. Of course, the hope is that the new customer has used the product, developed an opinion and will write a knowledgeable review.
Many retailers are also supplying ready-made email responses where new customers can simply write in the blanks with regard to text and star rating. The product and other critical information are already filled in for convenience. Zappos is providing points in its review program in exchange for a review, while Etsy uses photos and follow-ups like mobile push messages.
Which Reviews Reflect Sales?
Sweeping positive reviews don’t drive the sale of a product. There needs to be a mix of both positive and negative, which reflects authenticity. The sweet spot for shoppers? “Purchase likelihood” is highest when reviews are between 4.2 and 4.5 stars.
How Brands are Leveraging Reviews
Product reviews are now an important metric for both consumers and retailers. Channel Signal is focused on aggregating and measuring product reviews for brands and manufacturers, regardless of which retailer hosts the review. We are very optimistic about the future of reviews, which we believe is the true voice of the consumer.