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Ratings & Reviews deepening engagement, building confidence and increasing sales – Webinar Summary

The last webinar in the current eStoreAcademy series was live-streamed on October 8th, but remember you can access all previous presentations on-demand on the eStoreMedia site.

Last week’s eStoreAcademy webinar focuses on the practicalities of deepening e-commerce engagement, building confidence and increasing sales through Ratings & Reviews. The speakers include James Russell, Senior Manager Client Success at BazaarVoice and Lukasz Stebelski, Head of Strategy at eStoreMedia.

COVID-19-inspired e-commerce growth is an acceleration, not a short term shift that will return to ‘normal’

First, we hear from James Russel who emphasizes how much today’s consumers seek out the opinions of their peers before they purchase products online and offline. He also shares some of the insights from an 8000-person survey carried out by BazaarVoice. The study, which covers six markets – US, UK, Mexico, Canada, France, and Germany – looks at how shopper behavior is impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, and attempts to understand what changes will persist into the future.

The key findings breakdown into three main areas he says:

The acceleration of e-commerce

We are all aware of the impact COVID-19 has had on e-commerce growth, but the key insight from the study, according to James, is that the recent e-commerce expansion is here to stay. ”It’s an acceleration, not a short term shift that will return to ‘normal’,” he explains.

Across the six markets, 49% of respondents to the survey say they are shopping online more now than they did before COVID-19, and 30% say they will continue to shop online, once or more than once a week, even when lockdowns are lifted.

Adventurous shoppers want to try new brands

We’ve covered how the COVID-19 crisis, with its underlying structural changes, is driving product and brand disruption, in previous blogs here. James gives the example of how his mother, who for over 20 years was a loyal consumer of a certain washing up liquid brand, switched to another brand when she was exposed to online user generated content for the first time.

BazaarVoice’s survey data confirms just how significant the trend is. Thirty nine percent of respondents say they have tried a different brand during lockdown, and 83% say they will continue to shop the new brand after lockdown.

It’s not the end for physical retail

Consumers are still hungry for traditional offline shopping

Despite the growth in e-commerce, James says consumers are still hungry for traditional offline shopping experiences. When asked if they had to pick a single channel for future shopping 55% of consumers surveyed say they would prefer in-store shopping, highlighting the trade-off between the convenience and efficiency of e-commerce and the tactile experience consumers expect from in-store shopping.

To maximize reach across channels James explains, brands need to harness the power of user-generated content, such as Ratings & Reviews, to bring some of the benefits of offline to the online shopping channel.

Rating & Reviews Growth

In the second half of the webinar, Lukasz Stebelski discusses some of the practical issues faced by brands as they strive to optimize the impact of Ratings & Reviews. Along with the growth in e-commerce, there has been a corresponding spike in the submission of online reviews and questions, but for brands working with eStoreMedia, the same three Ratings & Review-related issues crop up repeatedly, according to Lukasz.

I want more Ratings & Reviews

Brand managers will always want more Ratings & Reviews in order to outshine competitors. However, Lukasz says it’s essential to understand the importance of user generated content for each product and category in order to prioritize effort and maximize limited e-commerce resources.

He outlines five data points - Price, Category Involvement, Brand Awareness, Other Risks, Purchase Frequency – worth analyzing to help determine how much resources you put into chasing reviews versus other elements such as developing richer brand-generated content.

How many Ratings & Reviews is the right number?

There isn’t one global number of Ratings & Reviews that will suit every product, in every e-retailer, in every market, Lukasz says. Finding the optimum number for any product requires analysis.

He uses the example of data from the consumer electronics category to illustrate the point. To achieve ‘top performer’ status in terms of number of reviews on Amazon in France a product would need just 12 reviews. However to achieve the same result in the UK it would need over 500 reviews and in Germany the target would be more like 1,200.

“Setting a single global target for the number of Ratings & Reviews would be a mistake,” he says.

How do I improve my ratings score?

The third issue brands face is how to improve their ratings scores. Once again, the answer is in the data. Brands need to understand the specific characteristics that drive star ratings in their categories, and how their own product features map to category rating drivers.

He provides examples, based on insights uncovered using eStoreMedia’s research offering eShopper Review Analysis, that show how the answers can be found within existing consumer review content.

To learn more, you can view the full webinar recording, including a lively Q&A section, here.

eStoreAcademy Back Catalog

eStoreAcademy was established as a learning community to help brands and product manufacturers deal with the unprecedented e-commerce surge since the outbreak of COVID-19. The pandemic, an unwelcome but nonetheless significant disruptor, has changed the retail channel forever.

In the past four months we’ve covered a wide range of issues from exploring e-commerce lessons learned in China, to the importance of reliable e-commerce analytics data  and from Search Performance on Amazon and elsewhere to building engagement with consumers online.

You can download any of the webinars on-demand from the eStoreAcademy registration page