Ratings and reviews: the new category management?

As consumers seek out information that may be more authentic than advertising copy when they consider a purchase, they’re increasingly consulting ratings and reviews. In fact, up to 97% of shoppers report consulting them before making a purchase. 

Using ratings and reviews as a selling tool

Brands are using ratings in their product descriptions, and throughout the shopper funnel. Designating a team or outsourcing the curation of ratings and reviews is necessary for larger brands because they have become an extension of the brand voice, while being the voice of the shopper. 

Amazon’s embrace of user-generated content

Amazon was quick to recognize the power of their rating system and they’ve even opened up a physical 4-star store that features only items with a high rating. There have been issues with fake reviews falsely inflating ratings, and currently they’re employing a one-tap rating system in an attempt to acquire more authentic UGC feedback.

CPG ratings and reviews and search ranking

Ratings and reviews influence not only conversion but also visibility. To what extent they influence retailers’ algorithms depends on the retailer, but they do seem to influence results on Amazon. For this reason, the utility of a positive rating can’t be overstated, and the need to respond immediately–that is to say within hours–to negative reviews is paramount. Continuous monitoring of ratings and reviews is necessary to rectify issues and limit brand reputation damage. How recent the reviews are is also an important factor. For most products, reviews that are more than four months old can have very little impact. Review length and the number of reviews are also factors that can impact search ranking.

CPG sentiment analysis

AI is becoming more adept at analyzing consumer reviews and understanding why exactly a review is positive or negative, what shoppers do or don’t like about a product, or, more precisely, Why exactly a consumer feels the way they do about a product. This information can be gathered in categorized and used for research and development and product improvement. This area holds a lot of potential for manufacturers.

Retailers and brands need to be flexible and consider their particular situation to see how they can best benefit from their existing distribution network. Store-based fulfillment, dark stores, warehouse or micro-fulfillment options can all apply.

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