Measuring the New Power Player, Consumers

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For many brands, creating the initial business concept is the easy part. A bright idea – that most often fills a void – comes into the mind of the founder, and a business is born. Look at Phil Knight, creator of Nike. If you’ve read Shoe Dog, you’ll know the story—but here’s the CliffNotes version. Phil, a track star at the University of Oregon, and his coach Bill Bowerman found athletic shoes clumsy and unsupportive, so they designed a lighter, more comfortable shoe. Getting the business off the ground and weathering the ups and downs of development is another part of the story, but a pivotal moment in 1984, with the launch of the Jordan line, helped transform the brand forever. 

People refer to it now as an ‘a-ha moment’ (thanks, Oprah); one piece of the puzzle falls into place, and the picture becomes clear. For Nike, it was a shoo-in—by endorsing Michael Jordan, they changed the game, and their business, forever. Brands spend a lot of time going after that moment—finding the secret sauce that will take their business to the next level and drive sales. While we wish we knew the recipe for that sauce—we’d bottle that stuff and put it on everything. However, we do have a grasp on one key ingredient for retail success—the consumer.

As a brand and now a retailer, you’re in the business of curating a brand that fits into the lifestyle of the consumer base you’re after. To develop products that are a joy to wear and use, and make day-to-day and leisure activities that much more enjoyable. Of course, retail is transactional—you have a product to sell, and consumers have a product to buy—but there’s another layer here as consumers complete the purchasing process with product reviews. This is where consumers have all the power. They can make or break a product or brand with a purchase and a review, and 93% of consumers read reviews before buying, either in-store or online. Reviews then are really the crux of what drives revenue—the number of reviews, how recent they are, and star averages are what consumers are looking for before they hit the buy button. 

Now, as a product review aggregator, we recently had our very own a-ha moment. We’re in the business of talking to brands—and, it’s what we love about what we do. In our conversations, it has become clear that brands only have a limited view from the reviews on their brand.com and syndicate partner sites. Essentially, they are missing over half of the reviews generated by all of their major eCommerce partners. This narrow view skews reality—it’s not an accurate representation of the consumer assessment of the performance of a product. In short, it’s not an accurate assessment of what drives revenue.

Yet, with continued sales growth, through their top-sellers, many brands are content with this limited visibility. And this is where it became clear to us—reviews are the early messengers. 

In the eyes of the consumer, a bad product has reviews that are recent, high volume, and a low star average. And thousands are turned away. Conversely, top-selling products have consumers writing recent reviews, rising volume, and star averages. Consumers push the buy button. By measuring all of their eCommerce partners, brands get advanced trending information on their products. 

Back to our secret sauce for a moment, think of it like this: if you’re only using a fraction of a key ingredient, you’re going to end up with a diluted product, but dial it up to the full amount, and things will turn out much better. And, that’s the zone we’re operating in. By giving you access to your full review ecosystem, your teams, from marketing and sales to product development, and the C-Suite, can tap into consumer sentiment to understand how products are truly performing—from your top-and-bottom sellers to up-and-comers and everything in-between. 

Through the Channel Signal platform, you can see it all. Search reviews by volume, track your progress over a specific period, find the most recent reviews, search by star ratings, and so much more. By giving online shoppers your full attention and picking up on what they’re putting down, you can leverage that consumer power with new insights, promote transparency, and grow your business.