The 3 Biggest Takeaways From Brands & Retailers at the 2019 Hoboken Hackathon

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Brands and retailers continually look for new and inventive ways to get the most out of their user-generated content, whether it’s from social media or ratings and reviews. And to provide clarity and inspire some “outside the box” ideas, PowerReviews hosted four separate hackathon groups of roughly 20 industry experts in retail, CPG and ecommerce. 

What was the goal?

We simply wanted to understand the biggest pain points for brands and retailers in terms of review and UGC collection in 2019. Industry leaders don’t require nearly as much convincing when it comes to the power of the voice of the customer, but instead, these experts want more effective ways to collect consumer feedback.

Through the different sessions, there were a lot of similar themes and challenges for brands and retailers to successfully collect content. To help with this, PowerReviews provided insights into the future of review collection and how businesses can get smarter with their technology without spending a fortune. 

To break down the commonalities, we’re providing the three biggest takeaways coming from the nearly 80 brand and retailer experts at this year’s hackathon:

1. Use On-Pack Solicitation for Review Collection

There’s one piece of real estate brands own when it comes to the shopping experience–your product packaging and labels. Because there’s such a limit to what brands can do with improving shopping experiences, it’s essential to take advantage of what goes on your product packaging. 

Brands are constantly looking for new and inventive ways to spark interest or drive an action through product labeling. One common theme we addressed in each session was the power of asking for reviews specifically on the label.

Through the help of QR codes, the process of collecting reviews is much easier for brands. Additionally, you’re providing customers with an even easier way to write a review with a simple scan of the QR code with a smartphone.

Pew Research estimates 81% of U.S. adults owned a smartphone in 2018, which is drastically higher than the estimated 35% just eight years prior. What used to be a multi-step approach to get people to download a QR code app and then scan has changed. Now it’s practically a universal feature included on new smartphones.

Shoppers only have to open their smartphone camera, scan the code and get sent directly to a review collection page. Making this process easier improves the chances of content collection, especially if the code sends them to a form instead of the product page, which requires further scrolling to get to the “submit a review” section. 

When looking at brands selling perishable products, one of the biggest challenges is collecting ratings and reviews in the first place. But these brands have an opportunity to use QR codes on its packaging to encourage consumers to quickly leave a review while in the moment.

2. Continually Keep Review Content Fresh & Organic

While it sounds like we’re describing the produce aisle of a Whole Foods, there’s no question in the power of fresh and organic review content. One of the bigger challenges of brands running product sampling campaigns is they generate a ton of review content during the initiative, but don’t see reviews to continue to flow in once it ends. 

This is why PowerReviews works hard to ensure that our clients don’t just collect content, but generate the most possible ratings and reviews on a regular basis. Even though products with several reviews is a good thing, that sentiment can come to a screeching halt if the last review was from 3 years ago.

That might not seem like a long time, but for consumers, it’s an eternity. Remove the doubt by constantly running campaigns to keep content fresh. One campaign is not enough to plug and forget. 

Brands have to keep their review content fresh and one way to do this is through a sweepstakes campaign. By running a sweepstakes for your customers, you increase their interest by monetizing their efforts to leave feedback.

Some of the attending brands and retailers explained that event marketing campaigns are also a great (and unique) avenue to generate more reviews. It’s smart to get feedback directly from product samples at various events to have fresh, relevant content.

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At the end of the day, your customers have a natural inclination to talk about your products. So why not provide them with the easiest ways possible to leave reviews or submit user-generated content?

3. Tailor Social Collection to Your Own Needs

We heard you–social collection is essential to your user-generated content campaigns. This type of content helps solidify and build trust in other shoppers’ purchasing decisions.

The challenge is user-generated content collection has a lot of nuances and special needs for each brand. And the problem is many review syndication companies don’t let you tailor social collection capabilities to your specific needs.

visual and social collection for user generated content

PowerReviews believes social collection is not a “one size fits all” solution, which is why we let brands and retailers restructure their collection capabilities to meet the needs of their own processes. Having the ability to put images where you want on your product or category pages is essential to many businesses.

Another common challenge brands and retailers discussed was fitting some of their products into the budget to generate more review content. In fact, several brands have problems getting the budget to get more reviews. This is especially true for the tail-end list of their product portfolio. 

This means brands have to get strategic with the way they collect more content and make use of it. One avenue brands forget about is SMS for review collection. We’ve found that brands using SMS review collection see up to 4 times more reviews. 

Ratings and Reviews SMS Collection Solution

We know that SMS is a great collection capability that delivers more conversation-driving content. Additionally, these features help you keep review content fresh and relevant. It’s all about finding new and unique ways to get more content to your product pages.


We hope everyone who attended the Hoboken Hackathon walked away with some inspiration. It’s time to get strategic about UGC and review collection. For those who didn’t attend, our team felt it was a great opportunity to showcase our knowledge of the industry. We wanted to provide quick ways to win at content collection.

Our next session will be at the London Hackathon October 22 to 23, 2019. So book your spot today to hear our industry experts provide amazing insights into simpler and more effective review collection.

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.