Report: Online product reviews have a major impact on grocery sales

Dive Brief:

  • Online product reviews are having a significant influence on what products consumers buy and the information they expect retailers to provide, according to an e-book report from shopper network specialist Bazaarvoice
  • The report notes 38% of new product purchases begin with shoppers conducting online research, and 82% of consumers say they consult their phones while inside stores.
  • Consumer-generated content in the form of online ratings and reviews is the biggest influencer, with shoppers saying they trust CGC three times more than traditional marketing efforts.

Dive Insight:

Although supermarkets see the huge impact online reviews have on their store purchases every day, most don’t offer this capability on their own sites and e-commerce platforms. It’s likely retailers see consumer generated content as a potential liability. A couple bad reviews, and a product’s sales might grind to a halt.

Judging by the report from Bazaarvoice, there may be more upside to consumer-generated content than many grocers realize. For example, a partnership with British supermarket Waitrose led to an in-store promotion that called out items that had the highest shopper ratings online. The “As Rated By You” promotion, according to Bazaarvoice, was Waitrose’s most successful in-store campaign in 2015.

As retailers build out their e-commerce platforms, they’re adding detailed information about the products they sell. Enabling online reviews and ratings could boost customer engagement. It could also open the door to promotions like the one from Waitrose, which not only boost top-performing products but cleverly connect a company’s in-store and online platforms.

It also opens the door to one-star reviews and lengthy diatribes against salad dressing. The worst-case scenario would be low consumer engagement and a high number of negative reviews. There are ways to combat this like promoting the review process in stores and through social media channels. Women and moms, according to Bazaarvoice’s research, are a great target for CGC campaigns. Grocers could even incentivize review writing by offering coupons or other discounts (but without encouraging only positive reviews).  

Retailers know their markets and their customers best, and some may decide the time and investment in promoting consumer generated content isn’t worthwhile. But for those interested in building consumer engagement online and fostering a sense of community amongst customers, it could be a five-star opportunity.

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Filed Under: Grocery Marketing