How Automated Customer Review Analysis Helps Brands Refine Their Offers
A surprisingly large proportion of newly launched products flop: the target group simply aren’t impressed. As a result, brands need an in-depth understanding of customer needs and market trends. And when it comes to e-commerce, customer reviews are a priceless tool. So how to extract that value? Automated review monitoring is the answer.
The Mission: Tailor Product and Marketing to Target Groups
If a customer types “smart toaster” or “yoga mat” into a search engine, they can expect hundreds of similar products online, the differences often barely discernible. So what do they choose? That varies depending on the target group and product category: some want to buy as cheaply as possible, others are on the hunt for specific designs or a particular feature.
Ultimately, a product wins out against the competition when it meets the relevant target group’s expectations better than the rest. So how do brands go about achieving that? Product developers, product range designers and marketers are tasked with a central goal: to constantly develop products, services and presentation and optimize them for the respective target groups.
The key here is watching the market. Customer feedback needs to be taken seriously and should serve as the basis for real-world action points. Particularly innovative companies have implemented a “closed loop” to this end: they launch an offer, gather feedback, improve the offer, collect more feedback, and so the cycle continues.
The Challenge: Identifying Customer Needs and Concerns
Today’s mass markets are highly segmented. Every target group is different, and what they need is vastly different too. Plus, they’re liable to change over time, influenced by trends and the competition. Companies that operate internationally must also take regional differences into account. But the occasional survey or analysis for market research no longer cut the mustard, and the likelihood of developing products that miss the market is on the up.
Then there’s the fact that even minor, easily overlooked errors can jeopardize a product’s success – we’re talking production errors, poor product content, supply issues, and so on. Customers aren’t happy, the return rate rises, and both product and brand image suffer.
All this means brands and retailers need feedback from their customers as directly as possible. And one of the best sources for this is ratings and reviews on online stores and marketplaces. Online, customers are more than happy to share their opinions right away and totally unfiltered.
That makes online reviews a treasure trove of data for market research. Unfortunately, they’re also not the easiest to mine:
- The average overall rating (e.g. 4.5 out of 5 stars) alone doesn’t actually say all that much.
- Nobody has the time to read through reviews for umpteen products across umpteen channels every single day.
- Reviews are largely unstructured: text length, content and style all differ drastically, making them difficult to evaluate.
- Hints as to areas of both potential and risk are often to be found between the lines.
- Individual cases that aren’t representative can distort the overall impression.
- Reviews can be written in a number of different languages.
Random review samples and the occasional manual evaluation fail to yield reliable insights and are incapable of painting a comprehensive, up-to-date picture. Vendors unknowingly miss out on sales as issues go undetected and expectations aren’t met. And when it comes to developing new products, the underlying potential of customer feedback is far from being exploited.
The Solution: Automatic Review Monitoring Delivers Qualitative and Quantitative Feedback at the Push of a Button
Product, marketing and e-commerce teams can find support in a new team member: a review monitoring solution. Such a solution automatically records and analyses all product reviews across all channels and prepares the results, both qualitatively and quantitatively, to create a cumulative view of the market as a whole and individual platforms. The tool performs semantic analyses: it summarizes reviews, searches for relevant topics and aggregates any aspects that repeatedly appear. It can also use sentiment analysis to identify whether product reviews tend toward the positive or negative.
Managers thus have the power to draw conclusions from the results without reading through thousands of reviews themselves. As a starting point, review monitoring can provide answers to the following questions:
- How many ratings and reviews are there for a product per channel?
- How many products have no ratings and reviews per channel?
- What is the average score of the ratings?
- On average, are the ratings and reviews positive or negative?
- How many reviews are there where the star rating doesn’t match the text rating (e.g. positive review but only one star)?
- Individual reviews: What exactly do the reviews say?
- Which features are spotlighted in a particularly positive or negative light or crop up particularly frequently? For example, faults with the product, product content or service? What are the most common reasons for returns?
- What do customers say about specific issues or attributes? Which aspects of the product and service do they rate?
- How do customer needs differ from country to country?
- Which keywords crop up in the reviews that are missing from the product content?
- Why and for what purpose do customers buy the product?
Changes in results over a period of time can also be revealing. Fluctuations show how effective specific measures were as well as whether customer needs are changing or new trends are emerging.
Plus, all the analyses above can also be carried out for competitor products. Making that comparison allows brands to pinpoint their competitive strengths and weaknesses and learn from rival products.
There is also the option to set up automatic manager alerts in the case of critical issues with individual products. Say if the average rating falls below a certain value or if 1-star ratings start to mount up.
Separate from individual products, review monitoring also generates insights about target groups as a whole. What lifestyles do they lead? What do they value (for example, what role does sustainability play in their purchasing decisions)? What unresolved issues do they have? Insights like this help inspire ideas for product optimization or even new products entirely.
The Result: True Customer-Centricity for More Success
When are companies most successful? When they truly understand – and meet – the wants and needs of their target groups. But in amongst the business of everyday life, keeping eyes peeled and ears open all the time becomes easier said than done. Conventional market research is expensive, and the results no longer live up to the demands of e-commerce today.
While we can shout about customer-centricity until the cows come home, the real-world result is that this remains little more than a good intention. This is exactly where JUDGEMENT DAY, the solution for review monitoring, comes in. It drastically cuts the efforts required for market research, providing direct, up-to-date feedback from online customer reviews and concrete action points.
Instead, developers and marketers can devote their energy to their real job: better aligning products and services to the target group. Brands can optimize their offers in short cycles, improving with each product generation. The pay-off? Better product rankings, higher conversions and sales, and fewer returns. And most importantly: happy and loyal customers.
Get to know our solution for review monitoring. We would be happy to discuss your individual use case in a free and non-binding demo.