Fascinating research regarding online reviews and the implications for consumers, brands and retailers. (https://www.ama.org/2018/12/03/why-retailers-should-rethink-their-online-review-strategy/) The research performed by Jared Watson, Anastasiya Pocheptsova Ghosh and Michael Trusov really defines the value of a productive review program and where brands & retailers can look to better the consumer experience, and maximize marketing efforts. If you are responsible for brand or retailer marketing, reviews, or customer experience we highly recommend the read.
In short, consumers look at star rating as well as the number of reviews when making a purchase decision. The researchers summarized their results as follows:
Key findings include:
- Average product ratings are a more diagnostic cue of product quality than the number of reviews.
- Consumers will choose a lower-rated product with more reviews over a higher-rated product with fewer reviews when the choice set’s level of review numbers is low. However, they will choose the higher-rated production when the choice set’s level of review numbers is high.
- Consumers are more likely to defer making a purchase decision when the choice set’s level of review numbers is low versus high. However, they are less likely to defer choice when the number of reviews is zero as opposed to low.
We concur and have been educating brands and retailers for years that reviews volume is an effective measure for product success, and the earlier the volume the better a product will perform. It is for this reason that Prelaunch works with brands prior to product launch to gather reviews such that at launch there is a critical threshold of reviews (approximately 100 per retailer and brand website) to support product launch. To paraphrase the research, no one wants to be the first to buy a product, or for that matter the 50th customer either. By engaging consumers ahead of launch we aim to compliment brand product launch marketing efforts with informed, detailed, and enthusiastic reviews at a volume that ensures the customer that they are not alone.
Retailers take note, you benefit by enabling reviews at launch in the same way that brands. Prelaunch manages reviews for retailers as well, working to provide consumers intelligent reviews in mass to help drive sales.