The worth of online product reviews has been proved many times over. There is a lot of content online about how to increase the number of reviews, and how to drag the average towards 5 stars.
Yet brands face a specific challenge: how can you monitor reviews when your products are distributed across dozens of e-commerce sites and thousands of product pages? While some sites like Amazon offer a centralized interface to deal with product reviews, most retailers don't. Even if they did, it would still mean checking one interface per retailer.
In this article, we'll see how brands use e-commerce monitoring solutions like BlueBoard to monitor reviews at scale and tend to their online reputation globally.
1- Assess the situation
If you're reading this article, there's a chance that you are already aware of the importance of reviews, and have an opinion as to how your brand is doing at the moment. This should not prevent you from conducting a full assessment of your review situation.
What you want is to collect rating averages and number of reviews for each of your product pages. While it may be tempting to only focus on your newer, most-selling products, you should really do it for all of them. It's not unfrequent for customers to research reviews for your brand in general, not just the product they are considering.
Once you have collected this information, you should have a clear overview of your priorities. Check averages for each product, product lines, and retailers. Find the ones that are underperforming and look into what the product reviews are saying. If some product pages show very poor averages because of a small number of 1-star reviews, look into specific solutions (taking down dishonest reviews, encourage reviewers...).
In BlueBoard, you can automate this step by downloading the real-time raw data of your products, sort by Reviews Average and compute averages.
2- Identify trends
Whether you need to monitor your progress or understand the natural evolution of customer satisfaction, it's incredibly useful to visualize trend lines for your reviews. You should do this for the pages that receive a lot of reviews as you may be able to detect trends faster.
Taking notes of review trends can be tedious to do manually. BlueBoard stores the review history for as long as it has been tracking the products. From the product view, select Reviews History and the retailers that you'd like to analyze.
In this case, we see that a 2-years old product is losing .1 star average every month on Amazon.com. While it may not be easy to do anything about it (the product has 2400 reviews), it should definitely be noted and anticipated for future products.
3- Craft your review response strategy
Dealing with reviews is an everyday task. Responding to reviews is the #1 proven technique to increase the amount and quality of reviews. Specifically, you should:
- Respond to negative product reviews with a mindset of fixing the problem,
- Comment on positive product reviews to reassert your brand values and enjoy free advertising,
- Answer as fast as possible
- Get the person in charge to respond: identify what the review is about, then have the most relevant person to write a response.
If you must deal with reviews, try to surround yourself with allies to do so in the best possible way. While the marketing team may be best armed to respond to criticism of the brand, the product team should do a better job at answering feature-specific concerns. At the end of the day, only one person or team should be in charge of reviews, but they should seek the support of other people to make their replies as specific and contextual as possible.
At BlueBoard, we see different ways of organizing this work among our clients:
Option 1: the Account Managers are in charge of reviews posted on the sites of their clients. They answer to easy reviews and forward the more complicated ones to the relevant person (support, product, marketing...).
Option 2: a support team or person is in charge of all reviews for a given geography. They answer most reviews and involve other teams in some specific cases. They send reports to the Account Managers regularly.
4- Collect product reviews (automatically)
Staying on top of reviews is very hard if you don't have any tools. Although Amazon centralizes all product reviews in Seller Central, it does not offer notifications for new reviews. And it's just one site.
E-Commerce monitoring solutions like BlueBoard can help on this matter. BlueBoard offers daily or real-time email notifications for new reviews. Depending on your work style, you may prefer to get one email for each additional review (so you can forward it to the right person) or get a daily recap.
If you are not an email person, you can check recent reviews manually from the homepage of your dashboard. Check the Alerts Live Stream on the right:
5- Be extra careful during product launches
Product launches are crucial. The first few days after a product release is when it will attract attention, reviews and potentially press coverage. Early reviews can easily sway the averages upwards or downwards. If you are in charge of reviews, you want to be on deck.
We strongly recommend setting up a custom real-time notification for new products. BlueBoard constantly monitors retailer prices and updates the data several times per day, so you always stay up to date on the latest events.
Be cautious of malevolent reviews and work with your retailers to have dishonest reviews taken down from your product pages. Encourage positive product reviews and share them on social media!
BlueBoard could be that e-commerce intelligence tool that you have been searching for. Find out for yourself, it's Free!