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8 Ways Retailers Can Leverage Customer Reviews Using Machine Learning

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A Guide to Analyzing Customer Reviews & Shopper Sentiment for eCommerce Growth

Content Summary :

  • Reviews and Their Repercussions
  • What is Digital Shelf Analytics Anyway?
  • The Role of Customer Reviews in Digital Shelf Rankings
  • Listening to Shopper Sentiment with Machine Learning
  • The Gold Standard in Digital Shelf Analytics - 9 Ways To Win over Customers

  • Savvy, digital-native customers trust the word of their peers over the most compelling product description your team could ever write. The proof is in the stats: 95% of customers consult online reviewers and 72% would not act on a purchase decision without going through customer reviews. Local businesses are not immune to the sway of shopper sentiment either- 87% looked up reviews for local businesses in 2020. Your online footprint is the ultimate source of truth for the majority of customers and acts as a catalyst for potential growth, or shutdown, no matter the size or vertical you operate in. Over the past decade, shoppers have gained access to many sophisticated reviewing communities and years of user-generated feedback. Many will not even be fooled by fake or sponsored reviews! 

    So how do you go about managing your digital reputation- and better yet- making it work to your advantage? In this guide, we explore all the wonderful things digital shelf analytics can unlock for your reviews and revenues.

    Customer Reviews and Their Repercussions

    Consistently good or bad reviews have a predictable effect on your retail performance. However, things are rarely black and white and the best reputation management approach needs to be attuned and responsive to the nuanced feedback customers leave in the reviews. To determine how much you need to invest in improving your reviews, let’s look at the different factors customer sentiment can influence.

    Ignoring Customer ReviewsImproving Customer Reviews
    Lower SalesBetter Conversion Rates
    Lower Visits & TractionHigher Search Visibility 
    High Churn RatesImproved Brand Trust & Loyalty
    Higher Marketing & Customer Support CostsImproved CX

    customer reviews positive negative impact points

    There is sufficient empirical proof to link positive customer reviews with increased conversion rates. As a key- and often final- step in the buying decision journey, a positive review can convince, confirm, and validate your products and services. The volume and quality of reviews attached to individual products can become even more critical in these decisions. Conversely, if your products are listed on large marketplaces or don’t have sufficient third-party reviewers (on, say, Youtube or social media), negative and fewer reviews can often serve as a lack of social proof that your brand is worth considering. Your customers may also have questions about your products that would not be answered easily in the absence of sufficient high-quality reviews. This not only ruins their experience but also increases your service costs.

    Another new age problem is the mistrust customers often place in suspiciously positive reviews and five star ratings online. As counterintuitive as this may seem, you must encourage and accommodate reviewers who leave a healthy amount of genuine criticism and feedback on improving the product experience. Despite bad reviews, you can win back customers by responding to such reviews, showing proof that their reviews are being incorporated in product/service improvements, and rewarding customers with free samples and discounts as opportunities to change their minds.

    Advantages of Positive Customer Reviews

    Reviews can help amplify your voice and reach. They have the power to shoot up your search engine rankings with rich, user-generated, hyper-relevant keywords. In addition to bringing more traffic to your website, customer reviews add a stamp of legitimacy for people browsing online and get algorithms to push you up for better visibility. It is nice to have a steady stream of link builders and keyword writers churning out fresh SEO content for you, isn’t it? On the flip side, not having as many reviews as your competition could certainly get your product pages penalized by search algorithms. It can be a soft indicator for a lack of ‘buzz’ associated with your product- something customers always associate with value and performance.

    The buck doesn’t stop there. Shoppers tend to notice how often a brand responds to negative reviews, how often the issues are resolved and have the reviews improved over time. You need to work on improving your reviews and have visible proof to show for it. All this goes towards building integrity and credibility for your brand and that is retail gold at a time when consumers are spoilt for choice online.

    What is Digital Shelf Analytics Anyway?

    The digital shelf, much like actual shelves in your supermarket, is a battleground for shoppers’ attention and mental real estate. With hundreds of products in a single category, how can your brand stand out and become more accessible to people browsing a site? The answer lies in digital shelf analytics. Several factors, from product descriptions and images, assortment range, product availability, customer reviews and ratings, and prices, can hurt or build your digital shelf ranking. This ranking essentially tells you whether your products feature on the first category page or in the top search results, or are lost among the rest. Leading online brands have real-time visibility into these parameters and can control them with superior data insights and automation capabilities. If you want to explore what a good shelf analytics solution can do for your eCommerce sales, read our guide here.

    Learn More : A Comprehensive Guide to Winning the Digital Shelf

    The Role of Customer Reviews in Digital Shelf Rankings

    Many eCommerce websites have viewing filters that push products with top ratings and higher average customer reviews. Marketplaces like Amazon have algorithms that give a lot of weight to the way reviewers describe and rate a product. Often, businesses may not even be aware of reviews on third party sites that influence their brand’s digital reputation. In highly competitive categories, customer reviews have a firm grip on your digital image in the sense that they are the only differentiating factors at times. Ratings and reviews have the biggest impact on omnichannel buying decisions, second only to price.

    Listening to Shopper Sentiment with Machine Learning

    There is a limit to how many product pages, websites, and media channels your internal teams can track to stay on top of customer reviews. With so much ground to cover, the resources and manpower to respond and act upon thousands of reviews is no mean feat. It is far more sensible to outsource this tedious monitoring to sophisticated solutions that can listen and report back shopper sentiment relevant to your brand and product categories.

    Read More : 2022 Retail Trends & Shopper Expectations to Watch Out For

    The next logical step in managing reviews is to incentivise customers and price your products in response to the sentiment analysis around your products. This requires well-trained algorithms and sophisticated deployment technology to deliver in reality. Machine Learning can give you the control to manage and improve your digital image by harnessing the power of reviews.

    The Gold Standard in Digital Shelf Analytics – 8 Ways To Win Over Customers

    A well-developed and trusted solution can help you realize significant revenue impact from managing customer reviews and leveraging shopper sentiment. After almost a decade of listening to and working closely with our Fortune 500 retail clients, Intelligence Node’s Digital Shelf Analytics solution was developed to help fuel the next-gen retail experience by giving the power of the consumer voice back to the brands. 

    Here are the 8 amazing things our proprietary digital shelf analytics can do:

    1. Tracking customer reviews – Get near real-time and digestible insight into what customers think about your products.
    2. Analyzing trending keywords – Mine the most popular user-generated keywords to optimize and improve your product descriptions.
    3. Monitoring competitor reviews and ratings – Go beyond isolated feedback and review and benchmark against your competitors’ digital shelf performance.
    4. Product improvement score – Audit and improve your product description and visibility efforts with our proprietary product improvement score.
    5. Optimizing product copy – Improve your product descriptions and imagery and ensure you have incorporated the right SEO-specific keywords.
    6. Monitoring customer sentiment – Machine Learning powered sentiment analysis helps analyze customer sentiment  for your brand and category with accuracy.
    7. Improving product visibility – Boost your digital shelf and search visibility by addressing all factors affecting your rank.
    8. Identifying underperforming products – Analyze products with low sales and ratings to take corrective action 

    With handy dashboards and no-integration APIs, advanced digital shelf analytics is at your fingertips. Give your Review section a gold star rating with our proven market and brand insights. To find out how our award-winning products can be tailored for your specific challenges, contact one of our experts today!

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