APRIL 28, 2020 CHICAGO, ILLINOIS— PowerReviews and Reputation Studio today announced a new partnership, to offer an integrated solution that enables brands the ability to respond to reviews collected by PowerReviews directly from the Reputation Studio platform.

The combined solution enables brands and retailers to facilitate strategic and effective follow-up action to customer review feedback. This results in exceptional reputation management, enabling our mutual clients one platform to manage their brand reputation.

Brandon Matthies, Head of Product Management at PowerReviews, comments:

“We were really excited to form this partnership to support the needs of our clients. Reputation Studio integrated with our new Enterprise API to enable a seamless experience for our mutual clients, such as Conagra. We are really focusing on building out integrations with partners like Reputation Studio to provide more value to our clients.”

Jon Jessup, CEO of Reputation Studio, said:

“A lot of our customers leverage PowerReviews for their Ratings/Reviews and Q&A, so this new integration is a great win for them to be able to streamline their consumer care with Salesforce Service Cloud. This solution finally allows the eCommerce teams to have their customer service teams be able to handle responding to customer reviews and answering customer questions. The efficiencies our mutual customers see from this innovative approach is incredible!”

powerreviews logo website

ABOUT POWERREVIEWS

PowerReviews (PowerReviews.com) is a software and data company that works with 1000+ leading brands and retailers to bring authenticity and transparency to commerce.  The PowerReviews Customer Content Platform has three solutions that help our customers collect and manage customer-generated content to improve the product and customer experience across the customer journey. We help clients meet the evolving need for social proof, accelerating the path to purchase and brand advocacy.

PowerReviews is known for innovation, consultative partnership, and actionable insights, supported by our open platform and approach. Our dedicated team of experts provides thoughtful analysis and turn-key service. PowerReviews is headquartered in Chicago, IL, USA.

Reputation Studio

ABOUT REPUTATION STUDIO

Reputation Studio (reputationstudio.com) is a Salesforce partner that helps brands aggregate consumer-generated content into a single platform to complete the 360-degree view of customers and respond in near real-time. Our application of AI-driven sentiment and intent analysis yields deeper insights, incredible efficiency gains, and uncovers massive opportunities to interact with customers on a personal level, across all channels. 

Born in the Salesforce AI Incubator, Reputation Studio is paving the way for brands to digitally transform the way they manage consumer-generated content. Our team is passionate about helping brands build relationships with customers and discover the full potential of data discovery using the Salesforce.com platform. Reputation Studio is headquartered in Park City, UT, USA.

Product sampling is one of the fastest ways to receive customer-generated reviews.

But it’s not just about the volume of your reviews; it’s also about the quality

Let’s look a little deeper at why product sampling campaigns are so effective. Along the way, you’ll learn how you can leverage this knowledge to make sure your campaigns are more effective than the competition’s.

Why Product Sampling is So Powerful

When someone begins a search for your product online, they’re not always looking for the product. They might be looking for product reviews

63% of people now say that they seek out websites for the purpose of researching customer reviews.

If your product doesn’t have great reviews, you’re already lagging behind the competition. How can you catch up? 

Product sampling offers some of the most efficient and cost-effective marketing to incentivize high-quality product reviews. It works by employing several psychological principles to drive response:

Reciprocity

Reciprocity is a foundational element of persuasion featured in Robert Cialdini’s book Influence. Cialdini cited one study in which waiters and waitresses provided customers complimentary mints along with the check. Customers reciprocated with higher tips: They gave 3% higher tips when one mint was provided and 14% for two.

Social proof

We’re social creatures, and our search patterns reflect this. Social proof means we look to other people to “prove” a concept before we try it. That’s why data shows one-quarter of search results for the biggest brands are links to customer-generated content. Customers trust the wisdom of the crowd.

Outreach and discovery

According to Pew Research, half of adults under age 50 search out online reviews before making new purchases. If you don’t have product reviews in place, these users may not even find your product in their research

Here’s the catch: Your competitors also know that product sampling is a great formula for generating these results. 

So how do you leverage product sampling to beat the competition that’s already engaged in proper sampling? And can you do it on a budget?

What’s Missing from Ordinary Product Sampling Campaigns?

Most ordinary product sampling campaigns focus solely on generating reciprocity. They don’t focus on creating a product sampling campaign that functions like a sophisticated marketing program. 

Here’s what they’re lacking:

Word-of-mouth

In the digital era–especially when so many of us are working remotely or practicing social distancing–word-of-mouth happens online. 92% of people find this effective in marketing campaigns. Does your product sampling campaign make it easier for users to share word-of-mouth, or are you just hoping it will?

Data

Don’t perform your product sampling in a vacuum. Your product sampling campaign should include data collecting. You want insightful, user-driven data that can assist a product sampling program in the future. That’s what happened in Vornado’s case, who leveraged these insights with PowerReviews. They saw their sampling campaigns move from an 83% completion rate to 97%.

Trust

Genuine user feedback hits key psychological triggers, which makes potential customers trust that your product is high-quality. Consider that in the health & beauty market, consumer feedback has more influence over buying decisions than price. Any product sampling campaign aimed at the quantity, not quality, of reviews will likely lag behind.

How to Make Better Use of Product Sampling

Maybe you’re thinking, “Okay, but how can we implement a superior product sampling campaign in practice?”

Even if you don’t have a big-time budget, you’ll still be able to generate a higher volume of authentic reviews than other providers if you approach your product sampling program the right way. 

Here’s how.

Customer-Generated Visual Content

You don’t just want words. Customer-generated visual content is extraordinarily powerful. 

This is especially true for millennials, for whom customer-generated content is 20% more influential than other types of media. Overall, 88% of customers look for visual content in product reviews prior to making a purchase.

Long story short: If your product sampling campaign can collect more customer-generated visual content, you can put it to work across marketing campaigns and social media. You’ll have an instant advantage in establishing credibility for your product

Trust for Customer-Generated Content is Higher

This is social proof in action: The more customer-generated content you use, the more your potential customers can trust you. Ads generated from user content can have click-through rates as much as four times higher, with a 50% lower cost-per-click. 

With an effective marketing campaign that reduces your cost-per-click, you can generate more types of trusted customer-generated content without spending big-budget dollars.

Quality of Reviews

Want your product sampling campaign to outperform the competition? Focus on the quality of your reviews. 

One way to measure quality is to look for more engagement. For example, we’ve found that longer reviews tend to perform better. Marketing efforts focused on a product sampling campaign also tend to generate longer reviews. As Vornado found, their reviews from product sampling resulted in longer reviews.

0 %
Reviews collected from sampling campaigns are 44% longer than those collected organically.
0 %
Response rate for samples sent vs. reviews written for Vornado's latest product sampling campaign.
50000
Number of reviews syndicated to retail partners.

Product sampling alone isn’t enough; the quality of your product sampling campaign matters, too. That’s how you go beyond the power of ordinary product sampling and beat the competition’s product sampling campaigns.

How to Get Strategic with Product Sampling

Brands do best with a strategic approach to product sampling campaigns. 

It starts with driving a higher response rate. If you can send out fewer product samples than the competition and still drive more responses, you’re onto something. 

That requires advanced targeting (targeting based on purchase behavior, demographics, affinity groups, geographics, and more) to make sure that you’re sending the product samples to the right people. 

PowerReviews’ network of 500,000+ everyday influencers and brand advocates help extend this reach, and as a result, PowerReviews sampling clients see the industry’s highest review submission rates (85%+). That means brands spend less on samples, but still generate a higher volume of authentic reviews than with other providers.

The sampling program with PowerReviews is an instrumental part of our [Customer-Generated Content] collection strategy. What's really phenomenal is that we see a 90% response rate from our sampling campaigns.

Chris Oh, Head of Digital and Social at Maesa

What else makes for strategic product sampling with PowerReviews? 

Here’s what Alison Krakowiak, our Product Marketing Manager, shared from her perspective:

Community

Our PowerReviews community drives the success of our campaigns and includes about 800,000 consumers from diverse backgrounds. They are highly engaged and genuinely love engaging with new products/brands and sharing their experiences with others in the form of honest reviews.

Consumer Targeting

Having this large community enables us to work with brands to target very specific consumer groups, and we can make sure brands are engaging with the right people for their products. Working with the right people helps drive more relevant and reviews and also converts samples to reviews at a higher rate, meaning brands send fewer samples.

Sampling Process

Our clients have enough going on in their day-to-day, so we work hard to make sure our sampling process is easy and fits in seamlessly with their current systems and plans. We include dedicated product managers and optional shipping and fulfillment services so clients can focus on other things while we generate reviews for them.

Reporting

In addition to helping consumers drive stronger review coverage across their brands/product catalogue, we also help them learn. Reviews contain a huge amount of consumer insights and sentiment, so we analyze and organize those into digestible reports to help brands learn more about their products and their consumer base.

Customer Service

We assign dedicated project teams to each sampling campaign we run, which ensures clients are supported throughout the execution of their program. We handle all questions and issues in real-time before, during, and after a campaign.

How many reviews should you expect per product sampling campaign?

Many brands considering product sampling campaigns worry they’ll send out a bunch of product samples (which can be expensive) but that the campaign won’t generate very many reviews.

The good news: PowerReviews has been able to deliver 85-90% submission rates for clients due to strong targeting capabilities and consistency in campaigns execution.

“Targeting is key, so making sure we engage with the right customer for the right product will ensure higher submission rates and more reviews,” Krakowiak said. 

“We can target over 300 different data points–everything from age, gender, and location to where consumers shop, what products they currently use, what their hair/skin type is, and other things like interests, lifestyle, and household income range. Having this data at our disposal allows us to connect clients to customers that matter to them the most and who will deliver the most authentic and relevant reviews.”

In conclusion

Product sampling is a powerful way to build credibility and trust with your potential audience because it lets your audience speak to the features and benefits of your offerings (without you having to do it yourself.)

With the social proof generated through high-quality reviews from your product sampling campaigns, you can build trust with your audience, drive more sales, and make data-informed decisions.

Plus: By using a strategic approach, you can generate a higher volume of authentic, high-value reviews than the competition–even if you aren’t spending as much on your campaigns.

The bottom line: The impact of product sampling campaigns reaches far and wide, so be sure you’re putting it to good use for your brand.

Kaleigh Moore

Kaleigh Moore is a freelance writer specializing in e-commerce.

On May 1, we published our monthly trends snapshot – an analysis of consumer activity across 1.5MM+ online product pages from 1,200+ retail/brand sites throughout March and April 2020. It revealed a 210% increase in ecommerce sales and a 105% increase in engagement with consumer review content.

In this recorded webinar, we will dig deeper into the data highlighting additional trends and vertical-specific insights.

We explore:

  • How exactly existing market conditions are affecting sales levels and for which products
  • Review submission levels and consumer engagement with review content during these highly unusual times
  • Specific health and beauty industry insights, where online sales volumes are up 450%
  • And much more

Webinar Speakers

Andrew Smith, Director of Product Marketing at PowerReviews

Andrew is an experienced ecommerce technology marketer. Passionate about all things internet shopping, he is excited to share the latest PowerReviews consumer trend data with the ecommerce community.


Carol Krakowski, Director of Insights at PowerReviews

Carol Krakowski headshot

Carol Krakowski partners with the Customer Success and Analytics teams at PowerReviews to maximize client value using PowerReviews data. With a passion for telling stories with data, she has more than eight years of experience analyzing ecommerce companies and datasets to power insights for internal and external audiences.

APRIL 20, 2020 CHICAGO, ILLINOIS— PowerReviews is one of the first partners to be certified to join the Shopify Plus Certified App Program, which was launched by the ecommerce platform leader last week.

The Shopify Plus Certified App Program highlights best-in-class technology solutions, chosen for their quality and alignment with Plus merchant needs. Each app is formally reviewed by the Shopify App Review and Quality Assurance Team, to ensure it meets advanced requirements in the areas of performance, security, privacy, and support.

“The Shopify Plus Certified App program is designed to meet the advanced requirements of the world’s fastest growing brands,” said Loren Padelford, GM Shopify Plus. “We’re happy to welcome PowerReviews to the program, bringing their insight and experience in reviews to the Plus merchant community.”

PowerReviews has been a Shopify partner for four years, and this further strengthens the relationship. 

“The Shopify Plus Certified App Program was a must for us to join, given our commitment to the Shopify partnership and Shopify Plus merchants,” says Brandon Matthies, Head of Product at PowerReviews. “The program gives merchants the peace of mind that they’re building the best possible solution for their store. And this is so important for companies who rely on Shopify and its partners to serve the best user experience for their customers. It gives their team the confidence that our app can handle their specific requirements and manage their complex needs.”

ABOUT POWERREVIEWS

PowerReviews (PowerReviews.com) is a software and data company that works with 1000+ leading brands and retailers to bring authenticity and transparency to commerce.  The PowerReviews Customer Content Platform has three solutions that help our customers collect and manage customer-generated content to improve the product and customer experience across the customer journey. We help clients meet the evolving need for social proof, accelerating the path to purchase and brand advocacy. 

PowerReviews is known for innovation, consultative partnership, and actionable insights, supported by our open platform and approach. Our dedicated team of experts provides thoughtful analysis and turn-key service. PowerReviews is headquartered in Chicago, IL, USA.

We ran a webinar last month that explored the concept of “Everyday Influencers”, which is proving an extremely innovative and effective social media strategy for many brands. Our friends at Nautica spoke at length at the successes they have experienced.

In essence, Everyday Influencers are consumers with significantly smaller follower footprints than celebrities. But crucially, the followers they do have trust them implicitly. Think word of mouth recommendations from friends and family. This results in a far bigger impact overall, with authenticity an even more valuable quality than normal right now.

The topic clearly resonated as brands constantly reevaluate how they can get ahead in the everchanging social media environment. We actually had a ton of questions from brands and retailers that we were not able to get to. Here are a few of them and my responses: 

What's the difference between an "everyday influencer" and a "micro influencer?"

A micro influencer is typically defined as having 1,000+ social media followers and accepting payments to create and amplify content. An everyday influencer typically has a few hundred followers and will generate authentic content in exchange for product samples. But they do not receive any financial payment - which makes a huge difference. This obviously has significant trust, authenticity and credibility implications.

Are “everyday influencers” getting paid?

A genuine everyday influencer community should not be receiving any financial payment for any reviews generated. At most, product samples and related accessories can be offered to the reviewer. While they can be guided about specific product attributes to focus on, they cannot be forced to leave positive reviews. The FTC governs all rules on review authenticity to ensure these conditions are upheld.

Isn’t that the strategy of legacy brands to hire celebrity ambassadors that drive to brand and speak to it?

This approach relies on a 2 step process: 1) create awareness and 2) drive to brand site. The second step doesn’t necessarily generate any trust as the marketing of the brand will always be consumed with an element of skepticism, unless the brand presents authentic feedback from consumers who have purchased or tried the product. For the cost of hiring a celebrity influencer, many everyday influencers could be employed instead - which generates awareness and immediately establishes trust with their audience, thereby accelerating the path to purchase.

Is verified purchases = trustworthy reviews = trust?

When a review is badged as being sourced from a verified purchaser, this automatically adds credibility. Consumers reading the review know that it’s come from someone who’s actually tried the product. They therefore process the content as being more trustworthy and not influenced by any payment to promote. So yes, this type of review generates trust.

How would you start using Everyday Influencers for a brand that is just starting out?

Start by understanding the category that the brand is being introduced into and the target profile of the ideal consumer for this brand. You may have this customer data already. But if you don’t, external vendors can help. Through our community lifestyle segments, demographic profiles and a craft qualifying survey, we at PowerReviews help brands isolate ideal consumers from within our community. The sheer size of our community ensures that even after filtering, the audience size is still sufficient enough to meet the needs of all our clients.

Do you know where/how consumers provide recommendations?

Consumers share product recommendations in a number of ways, including:

  • by writing reviews on brand or retailer product pages
  • by communicating directly to brands and retailers via email & “snail” mail
  • social media
  • word of mouth.

  • Although more brands are beginning to understand the value of everyday influencers, celebrity campaigns are still more popular. Do you think brands will shift more to activating everyday or nano to micro influencers?

    Start by understanding the category that the brand is being introduced into and the target profile of the ideal consumer for this brand. You may have this customer data already. But if you don’t, external vendors can help. Through our community lifestyle segments, demographic profiles and a craft qualifying survey, we at PowerReviews help brands isolate ideal consumers from within our community. The sheer size of our community ensures that even after filtering, the audience size is still sufficient enough to meet the needs of all our clients.

    If an influencer with 100,000 followers reposted an influencer who has only 1000 followers but is more authentic, how would that be perceived?

    That’s an interesting one. I would expect it would be perceived extremely positively. Authenticity wins every time.

    How much should we spend on a paid influencer campaign to make it worth our while if we have a pretty tight budget?

    Brands should consider how much content is needed to generate authenticity and trust for their products. More high-valued products typically require more reviews. At a minimum, target 50 reviews and consider the average response rate for a sampling community to develop the ideal number of samples to distribute. If the average response rate is 85%, 100 samples will generate 85 reviews. Focus on the products that need content and are important to your portfolio. Also consider the recency of content. You may have a product with hundreds of reviews, but if they are older than 90 days, our studies show the Gen Z consumers tend to discount their value.

    Each month, PowerReviews’ team of human moderators analyzes over half a million reviews.

    How do you handle trolls in direct consumer influencers posting?

    You have two options. You either do it manually or you invest in some automated technology. At PowerReviews, we offer the best of both worlds. Our automated and human moderation processes ensure that content reaching consumers is as relevant and appropriate as possible. Brands should always respond to negative reviews so that consumers can see that brands are engaged. Brands should invest in generating content on a regular basis to help compensate for negative content.

    What do you do when you want to reach new audiences outside of your already existing customer profile?

    If a brand is looking to launch a new product that is not related to an existing product audience, leveraging everyday influencers through a large community is ideal. PowerReviews works with brands to build meaningful profiles for campaign participants. Using our existing lifestyle and demographic segments in tandem with surveys, brands find the right community members.

    Do you think "everyday influencers" should be compensated for the branded content they produce for a brand?

    No. As I say, authenticity wins every time. When financial incentives are involved in exchange for reviews, shoppers instantly discount the value of the review.Because the FTC requires that all reviews generated in exchange for any form of incentive must be disclosed in the review detail, there is no way around this.

    What are some successful ways to report on ROI with influencers?

    If you are looking to measure ROI, we have conducted numerous studies with Northwestern University that can be found here.

    Could partnering with everyday influencers also be considered a good activity to implement in the context of Travel & Tourism services as opposed to Retail products?

    Of course! Everyday influencers bring exceptional credibility to both products and services.

    Have you seen success with tying PowerReviews with a specific retailer campaign?

    Yes, one of our key retail partners uses the PowerReviews sampling community to execute sampling for reviews with its private label products. Our industry-leading high response rate (average 85%+) ensures an efficient spend against the costs of a sampling campaign (recruitment, product samples and fulfillment).

    What are some proactive ways that you can engage these everyday influencers to create quality content for the brand? Is it possible to provide specific asks to these "loyal" consumers?

    Asking everyday influencers to focus on specific product attributes or applications is definitely recommended to improve effectiveness. If you want to suggest locales or experiences in which to evaluate the product, that also can be included in the campaign details.

    I have an emerging jewelry brand and I'd like to try working with Everyday Influencers. Could you suggest how to go about working with them?

    As with any marketing activity, it’s all about accurately defining your target market and audience. You need to ensure you get your products in the hands of customers who are qualified and compelled to share with their own networks. At PowerReviews, we have a huge database of 100,000s everyday influencers. We can therefore match brands with the right influencers with precision to generate the best results.

    What are the keys to contracting with micro and everyday influencers? Do you consider alternate payments (non-monetary)?

    Micro influencers often require payment for reviews although they typically insist on delivering authentic, not necessarily positive reviews. Contracting them is often conducted on an individual basis. Everyday influencers are best managed through established sampling communities that offer genuine scale and where the third party has established credibility by not offering financial rewards in exchange for review writing.

    Approximately how much time should I allocate to starting a relationship with an Everyday Influencer(s) and what have you seen worked out successfully?

    Relationships with everyday influencers can be transactional or longitudinal. You can curate them for individual campaigns based on their needs. If you want to include influencers from previous campaigns, your sampling provider should manage all recruitment, minimizing any time effort on your part.

    giveaway contest featured image
    Sampling with PowerReviews generates engagement rates 3.5 times higher than typical influencer campaigns.

    Influencers with high following don't necessarily have the most engagement. How do you look at influencers from an ROI perspective? And how do you prioritize awareness vs driving product sales through unique links?

    Awareness and trust are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Instead of paying for one high-cost celebrity influencer to drive awareness, investing in everyday influencers with a cumulative reach at the same level is less expensive and generates far greater trust. If you are looking to measure ROI, we have conducted numerous studies with Northwestern University that can be found here.

    You’ve talked a lot about trust, but how would you define it?

    Trust is earned when a consumer reading a review decides that the author has offered a genuine product evaluation. If the reviewer is either verified or known by the reader, trust is far more likely.

    If you want to know more about how PowerReviews helps companies generate consumer trust through everyday influencer campaigns, read our guide or watch the webinar recording.

    Peter Bond

    Peter V.S. Bond is Vice President Of CPG Commercialization, focused on enabling commercial success within the Consumer Packaged Goods/Retail vertical. His experience also includes working with large enterprise CPG and Retail clients Kroger, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Campbell Soup and others. He is a voice of the customer and CRM evangelist.

    APRIL 9, 2020 CHICAGO, ILLINOIS— Shure Incorporated today reveals how it has, over the last year, been leveraging PowerReviews’ ratings & reviews and social curation technologies to spearhead a comprehensive website redesign, fuel product development, broadly showcase its offerings and generate exceptional customer engagement.

    Shure, a leading global manufacturer of microphones, headphones and audio electronics, has now captured more than 700 reviews of its products with an average star rating of 4.6 and 1,200 customer images on its social channels using PowerReviews software. 

    Also leveraging the PowerReviews platform, this content is then showcased across the company’s own digital properties and other critical ecommerce platforms where consumers can buy its product offerings. This provides outstanding and authentic endorsement from existing customers to buyers as they enter the later stages of their customer journey.

    Jason Walker, Senior Manager, Digital Marketing at Shure, comments, “Our users are more than just customers; they’re a passionate community of fans. Reviews have helped us tap into our community and given us insight on how they perceive our brand. 

    “After we started working with PowerReviews, it’s been like opening a door on a whole new fan community. We’re able to highlight real customers using our products in a variety of places and circumstances, which we simply wouldn’t have been able to leverage without PowerReviews.”

    Shure headphones on red flowers
    In a couple of months, the Shure team has collected more than 1200 social images directly from customers. 

    Saarah Shaikh, Senior Director of Customer Success at PowerReviews, said:

    “We are delighted to deliver so much value to and help a company as outstanding as Shure deliver superior experiences to its customers, showcase these to potential buyers and generally help it execute on its mission of being ‘the most trusted audio brand worldwide.’”

    Walker says: “Since partnering with PowerReviews, our entire organization has seen the value of reviews and how they’ve enabled us to connect with our customers. From communicating to creating to listening, our products play a role in our customers’ passions. PowerReviews has given us the ability to facilitate and leverage their excitement and amplify it to our audience.”

    This information is taken from a newly-published case study, which can be accessed on the PowerReviews website here.


    ABOUT POWERREVIEWS

    PowerReviews (PowerReviews.com) is a software and data company that works with 1000+ leading brands and retailers to bring authenticity and transparency to commerce.  The PowerReviews Customer Content Platform has three solutions that help our customers collect and manage customer-generated content to improve the product and customer experience across the customer journey. We help clients meet the evolving need for social proof, accelerating the path to purchase and brand advocacy.

    PowerReviews is known for innovation, consultative partnership, and actionable insights, supported by our open platform and approach. Our dedicated team of experts provides thoughtful analysis and turn-key service. PowerReviews is headquartered in Chicago, IL, USA.

    ABOUT SHURE INCORPORATED

    Shure (www.shure.com) has been making people sound extraordinary for nearly a century. Founded in 1925, the Company is a leading global manufacturer of audio equipment known for quality, performance, and durability. It makes microphones, wireless microphone systems, in-ear monitors, earphones and headphones, conferencing systems, and more. For critical listening, or high-stakes moments on stage, in the studio, and from the meeting room, you can always rely on Shure.

    Shure Incorporated is headquartered in Niles, Illinois, in the United States. It has over 30 global locations which include corporate locations, manufacturing plants, distribution facilities, and engineering hubs. Its mission is to “be the most trusted audio brand worldwide.”

    APRIL 1, 2020 CHICAGO, ILLINOIS—PowerReviews reveals the significant impact that COVID-19 has had on both consumer behavior and their interaction with online ratings and reviews in its report published today.

    The PowerReviews Ratings & Reviews Retail Market Trends Report – COVID-19 Edition is based on analysis of consumer activity across more than 1.5MM review product pages from the websites of more than 1,200 brands. It reveals:

    • Skyrocketing conversions, with an increase of 101% between February 24 2020 and March 21 2020 but no notable increase in product page traffic
    • Review submission volumes and sentiment stable
    • Product review length falls 22% from February 24 2020 to March 22 2020
    • Consumer product review engagement up 104% from February 24 2020 to March 20 2020

    Carol Krakowski – Director, Insights at PowerReviews, states:

    “Ratings and review content is having greater impact on consumer behavior in the COVID-19 era, providing the validation and social proof necessary to drive sales. According to our figures, conversions and review engagement peak within a two day period. This is no coincidence.

    “But it’s not just the fact that both these metrics increase that is significant, it’s the extent to which this is the case. Both conversions and review engagement more than doubled in less than a month.

    “However, review length is down in the same period. Given broader consumer trends of high conversion levels at the moment, the next month represents an excellent opportunity to generate deep and impactful review content for brands and retailers.”

    Traffic steady but conversions skyrocket

    Conversion levels peak on March 21 2020 after doubling within a month.

    Review engagement increases significantly


    Consumer interactions with review content more than doubles during COVID-19 period, peaking on March 20, 2020.

    Read the full research findings on the PowerReviews blog.

    Research Methodology

    PowerReviews research is based on analysis of activity across more than 1.5MM product pages from more than 1,200 retail/brand sites between February 24, 2020 and March 24, 2020.

    FURTHER INQUIRIES

    Andrew Smith

    Marketing Director

    andrew.smith@powerreviews.com

    312-802-9846

    About PowerReviews

    PowerReviews is a software and data company that works with 1000+ leading brands and retailers to bring authenticity and transparency to commerce.  The PowerReviews Customer Content Platform has four solutions that help our customers collect and manage customer-generated content to improve the product and customer experience across the customer journey.     We help clients meet the evolving need for social proof, accelerating the path to purchase and brand advocacy.

    PowerReviews is known for innovation, consultative partnership, and actionable insights, supported by our open platform and approach.  Our dedicated team of experts provides thoughtful analysis and turnkey service. PowerReviews is headquartered in Chicago, IL.

    Over the last month, we’ve been analyzing consumer activity across more than 1.5MM online product pages from more than 1,200 retail/brand sites.

    Between February 24 2020 and March 24 2020, we specifically looked at review submission levels, review length and sentiment, overall conversions/sales and review consumption.

    Given this has been quite possibly the most disruptive retail and ecommerce month of all time, the results are – as you can imagine – very revealing.

    The surge in online traffic and sales volumes have been well documented. But what impact has COVID-19 had on rating and review trends? And what do these say about broader market trends?

    Consumer review behavior:
    Key trends in COVID-19 era

    01

    Order volume up as conversions double

    02

    Review submission levels and sentiment stable but review length falls

    03

    Review engagement doubles

    Order volume and conversions are up but traffic stable

    Unsurprisingly and as reported widely elsewhere, our data reveals that online purchase levels are way up on normal during these times of social distancing.

    However, product page traffic has been steady – noteworthy given the perception people have been living their lives online over the past few weeks. But shoppers are being way more decisive: conversion rates on March 21 were 101% the level they were less than a month earlier. We attribute these trends to consumers buying lower consideration products so spending less time browsing. This is a time when people are focusing on things they need vs things they want (e.g toothpaste instead of a sofa upgrade).

    Traffic steady but conversions skyrocket
    traffic-steady-conversions-skyrocket copy
    Conversion levels peak on March 21 after doubling within a month.

    Review submission levels and sentiment stable but review length shortens

    The COVID-19 pandemic has had little impact on consumer motivation to provide reviews, nor the underlying sentiment when doing so. We are not able to attribute any variation in either submission levels or overall ratings accompanying each review.

    However, we did notice a significant difference in review length – with a 22% fall between February 24 and March 22. We believe this is either because consumers do not have the time time due to increased stress and/or greater need to multitask  throughout this period.

    Review volume stable
    review-volume-stable copy
    Shift in consumer behavior driven by COVID-19 has minimal impact on review submission levels.
    Review length falls significantly but sentiment stable
    review-length-falls copy
    Review length down by 22% but accompanying rating steady.

    Review engagement surges

    Reviews have become even more important in the COVID-19 era. Consumers are interacting with review content (sorting, filtering etc) before converting at as much as double the rate they were at the backend of February.

    This is clear evidence that shoppers are now seeking significantly greater validation for their purchases, most likely because low inventory levels are forcing them to buy products they hadn’t previously before.

    Review engagement increases significantly
    engagement-increases copy
    Consumer interactions with review content more than doubles during COVID-19 period.

    Summary

    Ratings and review content is having greater impact on consumer behavior in the COVID-19 era, providing the validation and social proof necessary to drive sales. According to our figures, conversions and review engagement peak within the same two day period (March 21st and 22nd 2020).

    But it’s not just the fact that both these metrics increase that is significant, it’s the extent to which this is the case. Both conversions and review engagement more than doubled in less than a month.

    However, review length is down in the same period. Given broader consumer trends of high conversion levels and the fact that review submission lags behind time of purchase, the next month represents an excellent opportunity to generate deep and impactful review content from your customers.

     

    Download a copy of the research:
    Stay up-to-date on the latest data and insights.

    This site and our services use cookies and other technologies to collect and/or store information on your computer. Some are essential to make our site work while others improve your experience. Read our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy to learn more.