A guest post from Colleen of eComEngine, delineating the power of well-tapped product review data:
If you’ve sold online for very long, you already understand how quickly things can change. One minute, an item is the hottest trend. The next minute, it’s already out of style.
Staying ahead of the curve can be challenging, especially for small to mid-sized eCommerce stores. Luckily, Amazon product review data is a goldmine of information. You just need to know how to use it effectively.
In this post, we’ll share three reasons why Amazon product review data is so valuable to your business (and what to do with it).
Product Reviews Serve as Your Own (Free) Focus Group
Multinational corporations spend millions of dollars each year on focus groups and product research. The purpose of this data is to understand customers’ wants and needs and then adjust product mixes to better serve the market. Unfortunately, for most eCommerce companies, market intelligence often falls to the bottom of the priority list. While the data could be extremely useful, spending significant resources on customer research simply doesn’t make financial sense.
Smart merchants already understand that there is a treasure trove of intelligence available (for free) on the Amazon marketplace. Simply key in any SKU, ASIN or brand name, and you can instantly read what hundreds of consumers think about the products you sell.
Naturally, most reviews are from orders fulfilled by other merchants or Amazon.com, Inc. (“Amazon”). But that’s the great news about how Amazon has structured its feedback system. As we pointed out on our own blog, seller feedback and product reviews are completely different data points. So, when you’re analyzing product reviews on the Amazon marketplace, you can be assured that any shipping or service related issues are isolated to the seller’s feedback rating. This means that product reviews actually reflect how a product performs.
Product Reviews Offer Real-Time Data
Going back to our example about large companies, even the most advanced research firms struggle with synthesizing focus group data. In addition, identifying a data set that is both statistically significant and real-time can be complex.
The Amazon marketplace is a platform through which countless orders are filled daily to customers across the globe. As with any fulfillment pipeline, a fixed percentage of customers will provide their opinions through the form of reviews. This means that for any SKU that you offer, there could be dozens of new reviews published each day.
Best of all, each new review is date stamped and tagged to indicate whether the order was a verified Amazon purchase. With a few clicks, you can instantly see how this review compares to an item’s overall review history. Some third-party tools, such as our FeedbackFive platform, will even send you alert notifications when new product reviews are submitted. Many merchants use the frequency of such alerts (in tandem with the overall trajectory of ratings) to measure a product’s current and future viability.
Product Reviews Reveal Macro Trends
For some products, the fall from grace can be rapid – and devastating. For years, an item could receive glowing reviews on the Amazon marketplace, yet instantly begin receiving one-star reviews. Consumer preferences, drastic changes in manufacturing, health and safety concerns and other variables all contribute to this type of decline.
If you’re not closely monitoring the products to sell, you could get stuck with hundreds or thousands of inventory units that no one will buy. In extreme circumstances, you could even be exposing yourself to product liability issues.
Some merchants develop processes to manually check their products’ star ratings. This approach looks like a low-cost solution, but in reality your time is much too valuable to waste. Many products that you sell could go weeks without substantial change in review trends. But, as we’ve discussed, changes do come quickly in today’s consumer-empowered world.
To formalize your tracking process, you might consider using a tool that automatically monitors each product’s trajectory. For example, our FeedbackFive tool provides much of the data you would need to automate this process. This allows you to free up more of your time, make better inventory decisions and grow your business.
Start Loving Product Reviews
Even if you’ve never sold through the Amazon marketplace, product review information can be a great asset for you. The next time you need to make a product-related decision, consider doing a little intelligence work to find out what customers are saying. You might be surprised at how valuable this information can be.
That about wraps it up; if you have questions contact us and we can put you in touch with Colleen.