Trust cannot be bought; it has to be earned. Customer ratings and reviews are critical for building trust and loyalty. A recent Salsify report stated that, of the many building blocks required for eCommerce success, Ratings & Reviews are the most important. They deliver an honest, independent insight into what customers like and dislike about your products.
Defining Ratings & Reviews
Ratings & Reviews (R&Rs) can steer the future direction of a brand’s product development and sales strategy. What are they exactly and how can they exert that influence?
A rating is a means of scoring the overall product performance out of five, whilst in the review section, the customer can explain the reasoning behind their score. Other shoppers can see how many reviews have been left overall and how customers rate the product based on its quality and their level of satisfaction with it.
Because neither brands nor retailers have any influence over the outcome of genuine ratings or reviews, 92% of shoppers trust peer reviews over any amount of traditional advertising. Typically, brands should aim for a minimum of 21 reviews and an average rating of 4+ stars against a product. A mix of positive and negative reviews is also a good thing because it delivers a healthy balance that lends credibility to the process.
The scope of the project was to look at liquids and pods within laundry care detergent products for four key brands – Tide, Gain, Woolite and Persil – across five online channels in the US marketplace.
They found that after years of flat average ratings, US customers finally started rating the products higher from 2019, and early in 2020 the ratings broke the 4.5 star barrier for the first time. Why?
Well, it could be that the products themselves were improved as a result of the one main factor driving satisfaction – the laundry smell, which was deemed more important to customers than cleaning power. The smell received the highest level of comments overall and was rated far, far higher than price, brand loyalty or even softness.
It was also the most commented on review for dissatisfied customers, and this time price was in second place followed by residue, driving unhappy customers to comment.
When faced with the question of which is more popular, pods or liquid detergent, pods were the clear winner as was laundry smell again, along with performance and usability. When these attributes are applied to the brands under review, Gain was best at delivering the freshest laundry smell.
Persil also featured as the most popular overall brand along with Gain, whilst at the other end of the scale, Woolite failed to impress in almost every department and had the least number of reviews and the lowest ratings.
Other areas of research compared the brands across the sales channels and looked at the customer feedback around specifics such as ingredients, sustainability, usage and instructions. Wonderflow’s findings expand on the specifics and drill down into the detail of exactly what is being said about each topic. For example, when consumers talk about ingredients they are mainly concerned with allergies and the impact ingredients have on the environment. How much needs to be used and how clean and natural are they? These concerns are clearly top of mind issues that can be captured and reacted to.
So, rather than being left to guess what works with their customers, brands can know exactly what is and what isn’t working based on the Ratings & Reviews once they have been expertly analysed.
How eBusiness Institute helps brands achieve eCommerce success
As part of the eBusiness Institute Laundry Care Digital Shelf Assessment White Paper, we reviewed the overall content performance of 13 laundry care brands. These were our findings in relation to Ratings & Reviews:
- Six scored highly for the use of their Ratings & Reviews
- There were concerns for five brands who could have used Ratings & Reviews much more effectively
- And two brands didn’t feature any Ratings & Reviews at all
In the ongoing battle to win the hearts and minds of consumers, these insights can be used in several ways, not only in isolation, but as part of a range of services offered by eBusiness Institute in positioning brands to deliver a true connected customer shopping experience every time. Whilst Ratings & Reviews are considered the most important of the building blocks to eCommerce success, there are many other aspects of content that also have to be developed correctly. And this is where the expertise of eBusiness Institute and our key partners, such as Wonderflow, can help brands formulate strategies that really make a difference.
Ratings & Reviews are trusted by the majority of shoppers for their independence and honest appraisal of a brand’s products or services.
Brands should aim at a minimum of 21 reviews and a star rating of 4+. Most of our reviewed laundry care brands achieved at least average or above average ratings, but a couple fell woefully short.
Developing a comprehensive strategy to capture, syndicate and analyse Ratings & Reviews means none of this valuable market intelligence is lost and it can be used to direct future sales growth strategies through increased conversions.