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Reviewing the reviewers – Amazon strives to safeguard credibility of online ratings and reviews

Amazon’s fightback to weed-out fake reviews means user generated content continues to deliver unprecedented insight for brands.

When Amazon first allowed shoppers to post product reviews on its site in 1995, many retail industry pundits thought it was a rash move. Since then user-generated reviews and the easily understood 5-star rating system, have become a key pillars of the online retail phenomenon.

More than any other example Amazon's review program has come to reflect the new reality for retail in 2020. According to research by Podium, up to 93% of consumers are influenced by reviews. The e-commerce platform has become the world's greatest research tool, with consumers first checking the Amazon rating, whether they intend to buy the product there or not. 

Brands can no longer afford to neglect online reviews, as from computer products, to consumer goods and household items shoppers seek the advice of fellow consumers before making a decision. 

Maintaining Trust

Amazon has made it harder for unscrupulous suppliers to post fake four and five star reviews.

It hasn’t all been plain sailing however. Over the years unscrupulous vendors and service providers have attempted to game the system, either posting fake 5-star reviews to boost the popularity of questionable products, or as has emerged more recently fake 1-star reviews to diminish a competitor’s rating score. 

Amazon is fighting back. It has made it harder for suppliers to post fake four and five star reviews, and uses a combination of human investigators and automation to weed out bogus content that slips through the net, suspending or banning culprits when it finds them. In addition to Amazon’s public efforts to combat fake reviews the feature that allow shoppers to rank reviews as helpful, and the ‘Verified Purchase’ mark that points out shoppers who have bought the product, help boost the reality and perception of accuracy.

Consumer Insight

With Amazon’s efforts the vast volume of review content on the site continues to provide an invaluable source of consumer intelligence and sentiment data for product manufacturers. It requires a certain volume of review content to deliver valuable insights – somewhere between 100 and 200 – but once you reach sufficient volume you can use pattern and sentiment analysis to identify what consumers are really saying about your products. The type of insights you can expect to uncover include, hidden data about consumer needs, new product ideas and insightful competitor intelligence.  

eShopper Review Analysis, an eStoreResearch solution from eStoreMedia, leverages AI technology to evaluate e-commerce ratings and reviews, and how they impact consumer decisions. The results, based on analyzing thousands of real consumer reviews published on key e‑commerce sites, identify hidden consumer insights, value drivers, and evaluate their impact on brand equity. 

Gillette 

A case study outlined in the recent eStoreAcademy webinar, ‘Gaining and retaining loyal customers on the world’s leading e-retail platforms, Amazon and Walmart,’ describes how Gillette used eShopper Review Analysis in place of conventional tactics for understanding consumers such as surveys, focus groups and social listening. 

By analyzing of over one million reviews on Amazon in the US, eShopper Review Analysis was able to identify Gillette's brand strengths and weaknesses, and benchmark them with current and future products. The results fed into the development of a new razor, the Gillette Mach3 Start Razor with Aqua-Grip Handle. The product was launched in 20 markets, and following its initial success it has since been made available globally.

Gillette is just one of the global brands using eShopper Review Analysis today to uncover unexpected shopper insights, support product innovation and build winning brand strategies.

Find out more….