When Claudia Buckley arrived at La Colombe to take on the role of E-Commerce Operations Coordinator, she knew full well the importance of consumer product reviews. “Other people’s opinions of products really make an impact. Our existing Q&A and reviews platform was not user friendly, and we turned to PowerReviews to make our Q&A and ratings and reviews efforts even more impactful.”
La Colombe made the move over to the PowerReviews platform in April 2020, shortly after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic — just in time to see its e-commerce sales volume skyrocket the second everyone was stuck at home with nothing to do but indulge their coffee drinking habits.
And apparently, write reviews. During this same time period, La Colombe experienced a corresponding uptick in review collection. Since then, the company has continued to grow review volumes and has also benefited from analyzing direct customer feedback via review content. These insights have led to initiatives such as website improvements, and showcasing authentic customer feedback in marketing outreach by leveraging actual review content.
Brimming with Consumer Insights
As a function of getting “more horsepower under the hood” with the PowerReviews platform, the La Colombe team is using a number of tools to better understand what customers are saying about its products by aggregating the review content it captures in a highly compelling and visual manner.
“We use the PowerReviews Data Explorer tool to look for 5-star reviews and to make quick work of finding answers to questions we’ve answered previously,” said Buckley. “We search by keywords to find those used in multiple reviews so we can key in on buzzwords that will resonate with our consumers.”
Additionally, La Colombe is using PowerReviews’ Product Sentiment Analytics, which leverages Natural Language Processing to read every review and assign a sentiment score to each product and then make comparisons with competitor products.
“With our seasonal cold brew coffee, for example, we know that consumers really love the fact that it’s made with real pumpkin, that it doesn’t have an overbearing pumpkin flavor, and that it has less calories and less fat than competing products.” This helps the marketing team zero in on the most loved attributes of products – which not only can inform product development and product marketing copy.
Speaking of product marketing copy, the company also consistently uses review content in its marketing and ads.
“People listen to good reviews; we use review content in our paid ads and email campaigns as well as on our website; it’s great to tap into when we need to develop content,” said Buckley. “We have found that emails with reviews content get more traction than emails without reviews content. When we were bringing back our very popular seasonal roast, we used reviews content in our email push and it was very successful.
“When we were planning our Summer Tour campaign to promote our new Draft Lattes in cans, we noticed one reviewer said the mouthfeel is like being on a cloud, and we were so inspired by this that we designed our web page to feature this review front and center.
Getting Reviews Lift from Gift Card Incentives
One strategy that La Colombe used to more than quadruple its review collection is by offering a review incentive. PowerReviews research has found that nearly three-quarters (73%) of consumers say they’d be motivated to write a review if they were offered an incentive.
In July 2021 as the nation began to enjoy a respite from Covid lockdowns and step outside to enjoy the summer weather, La Colombe noticed its online reviews were trailing off. That’s when the team decided to implement a very cost-effective incentive — offering a chance to win a $100 gift card in exchange for a review.
The company was able to grow its review volumes 82% between July and August and 310% between July and September.* This was huge as it enabled the company to acquire a significant amount of new reviews to help prepare its website for the upcoming holiday shopping season.
Informing User Experience and Web Design Efforts
La Colombe is also using insights from reviews to inform its user experience and web design efforts. When a number of reviews showed consumers were struggling to select the right roast levels, the team realized that the roast-level labelling was not clear in its product descriptions. As a result, La Colombe’s web team recalibrated its roast ranges depicted on its website to better align with consumer wants, needs and expectations, with a designed red header under each product clearly identifying its roast level.
Obtaining this insight from user-generated content was a more direct and more cost-effective way to uncover opportunities for improvement than the alternative – doing focus groups and meeting with an outside digital agency once a week, says Liz Cornell, La Colombe’s User Experience Lead.