Importance of Product Reviews

Nov, 16 2017
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Product review is a report/write up or a remark which may be accompanied by pictures/video, in which an expert/user gives an opinion/feedback about a product or compares the product with various similar products in the market, to help potential buyers make an informed buying decision. In other words, we can say that product review helps people better understand the product and help them to decide whether to own the product or not.

Various Product Manufacturer/e-commerce sites and service companies ask their customer to provide feedback on their product/services or third party product or services they bought or viewed on their website.

These feedbacks from a customer on parent site or third party site consists of Product Rating – products are rated up to 5 Stars based on the reviewer’s experience with the product.

  • 1 Star - Worst
  • 2 Stars - Bad
  • 3 Stars - Average
  • 4 Stars - Good
  • 5 Stars - Awesome

Review Write Up – Through the rating reviewer represents its satisfaction level and to express his feeling or concerns he/she may write remarks note with added photos/video of a product containing the cause of their delight or dissatisfaction with the product.

Some products (usually newly launched) are reviewed by independent experts related to the product industry. The reviews of these experts based on their technical judgment and vast industry experience with similar product gives a fair idea about the product’s position in the market.

While giving a product review, the reviewer may consider a number of factors ranging from quality of product, durability, and cost compared to other available options to product delivery time and packaging. Product review acts as a tool for companies that can use it to make their product or service stand out in the market. Product reviews accompanied by pictures and videos tell a better description than those that are text only.

The importance of Product Review:

Product reviews play an important role in purchase decisions. Every company advocates their product to be the best but for an honest feedback, a potential buyer relies on the feedback/review of an existing consumer, who had already used the product or have good knowledge about related products. Since every product or services will have its pros and cons and know the pros and cons of particular product or service from the people who have experienced it first hand gives you the power to make an informed decision for your purchase.

Product reviews are an essential part of online store's, where the product is not tangible and the quality and reliability of the product can be best judged by reading what existing consumer of the product has to say about it. More than 90% of people read product reviews first and more than 60% trust a product with positive reviews. Before buying a Product or service, people want to gather as much information as possible about it and they are likely to use search for a term such as “product name + review” for getting the required information.

A healthy number of positive reviews and ratings indicate that the product is quite popular and has got a lot of satisfied existing users/customers, which acts as a buying motivation for a potential/new customer.

We have observed below correlation w.r.t product reviews and buying decision of a potential customer

Product Reviews   Potential Customer Behaviour
Average Rating No. of Ratings Buying Decision
Low High   Unlikely to Buy
Low Medium, Low Unlikely to Buy
Medium Medium   Less Likely to Buy, check other Brands
High Low Less Likely to Buy, check other Brands
High Medium   Likely to Buy
High High Most Likely to Buy

Reviews give a boost to the ranking of any website/product listing, particularly for Google & Amazon. This is because product review is one of the major ranking factors of ranking algorithm of these companies.

While Positive reviews have the above advantages even negative or adverse reviews have their own importance. A negative review is a precursor to the improvements that can be done to improve the product and customer experience. These tell us about the customer expectation and often results in innovative changes which make product best sellers.

Product review on or through third party websites (Amazon, Flipkart & Google) are reliable & independent unlike Testimonial on any website which owner of that website controls. Product reviews are a major reason for consumers to love e-commerce companies like Amazon since there is an assurance that the product will live up to the expectation. Even people may be buying products directly from your website, but not before checking reviews about your products on Amazon/Flipkart or other such platforms.

As such e- commerce companies encourage fair, independent and reliable reviews with little moderation, for the following reasons-

  • Helps Customer make an informed decision.
  • Increase Customer Trust & Satisfaction.
  • Leads to Fewer Post sales Defect Complaints/Rejections
  • Rate and review products/Sellers registered with e-commerce Company for selling through Portal.
  • Encourage people to visit their website for gathering information about the product they intend to buy.
  • Most e-commerce companies have their own machine learned algorithms to identify and weed out any malefic or false reviews and safeguard their and their customer’s interest.
  • It is quite evident from the above that Product reviews have a definite impact on product sales.

How seller can use product reviews effectively to increase product sales

A seller should be religiously following below, for effectively using product review as a medium for improving product sales.

  1. Strive for Maximum Reviews: Refer table 1 above, higher the rating and number of reviews, more Favourable are the buying decision and higher is the product listing rank. Therefore it’s worthwhile to peruse customer for a product review. The best strategy is to send a mail asking for a review of the product, few days post purchase/delivery of the product when the customer would have used the product. So much is the importance of reviews that some websites offer 5% to 10% discounts on next buys if a review is posted for them.
  2. Add a Response: If there is a provision to post a response to a review, a response is must be posted for every review. The response may vary from simple thanks to answering any query regarding the product. It will go a long way in affirming seller’s sincerity to a potential customer reading the review. They also help build trust and loyalty with the customer.
  3. Response to Adverse Review: If something goes wrong and there is an adverse review for the product, don’t panic. The best strategy is to engage the customer and try to resolve the concern through discussions. If the concern cannot be resolved, offer the customer due compensation/exchange, to change his/her perception of your brand and reaffirm your sincerity in providing a reliable product/service, while rightly labeling the incident as unintended one. Upon resolution of the issue, the customer may be requested to review the rating and remarks accordingly. An Adverse rating/review could have a telling impact on the product listing rank, reputation, and sale of the product, therefore it must be avoided at any cost.
  4. Don’t Over Promise: While defining your product or services make sure nothing is exaggerated. Always present a true picture of the product and write what can be delivered is concise and easy to understand language. False and ambiguous product details will lead to negative reviews and low rating which will adversely impact future sales and even resulting in e –commerce site barring the product from its portal.

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