Sentiment analysis is not new. Several brands and organizations (in business, in politics, etc.) are using it extensively. They seek to measure and understand the real emotions and sentiments of their audience, customers, voters and others.

Sentiment analysis is a type of data mining that measures the inclination of people’s opinions through natural language processing (NLP), computational linguistics and text analysis, which are used to extract and analyze subjective information from the Web - mostly social media and similar sources. The analyzed data quantifies the general public's sentiments or reactions toward certain products, people, or ideas and reveal the contextual polarity of the information. —, 2019

In business, sentiment analysis is often used to study and predict the behavior or attitude of a targeted group. In corporate environments, sentiment analysis is used to identify potential workplace pain-points and solve them. In politics, the findings of sentiment analysis can even help examine voters' feelings towards candidates and allow the campaign strategy to be adjusted accordingly. For example, an analysis of a dataset of tweets on Brexit was used to measure the fear and anger of voters before and after the EU election.

This powerful analysis tool has also proven essential in advertising and publishing. Journalists and publishers can get a better idea of which topics are of interest to their readers. Meanwhile, marketers have been using this tool to better shape their campaigns and measure reception. The enormous amount of text input on social media (Twitter, Facebook, blogs and forums) is a valuable source of data for marketers and researchers. It allows them to identify and understand the emotions of those behind the screens. In 2014, the travel company Expedia Canada even anticipated an advertising crisis when the public responded negatively on social media to the sound of a screeching violin in the background of one of their campaigns.

Despite the widespread use of sentiment analysis on social media, there is an untapped source of data that can significantly contribute to the bigger picture of market research: customers' online reviews at e-tailers.

E-tailer customer reviews: a whole new field for sentiment analysis

Social media sentiment analysis is good. It can help brands detect trends, identify influencers and tailor their messaging. But sentiment analysis of product reviews is great. Reviews are from real customers, so all the noise is filtered. It's a direct insight into your products' performance.

The findings of sentiment analysis on reviews can reveal the performance of specific products, identify gaps in expectations, and provide other invaluable market research insights. In brief, performing sentiment analysis on product reviews provides more product performance insights. And it reveals how your products and your distribution influence the perception of your brand.

To conduct the analysis, you will need a good amount of data input. Which is why reviews coming to your brand's e-commerce site may not be enough. The solution is to collect the reviews from all of your e-tailers. Once you do so, you will unlock the following benefits of sentiment analysis:

Acknowledge market attitude

Have customers adapted to your new product packaging? How do they use your product? What are the most/least favored features of your product? The online reviews of verified buyers can reveal usage habits, thus adding value to your brands' product development.

Measure campaign performance

How does the market perceive your messaging in the campaign? What is the ROI outcome of the campaign?
Each market will perceive a message differently. Recognizing the early reactions to your campaign will help you shape your message better in the long run or allow you to completely pivot before it's too late.

Evaluate e-tailer's performance

Which e-tailers are boosting your brand's image? Which e-tailers need brand content enhancements? E-tailers are your brand’s ambassadors as they are the direct link to your customers. The more you know about your e-tailers, the better you can manage your e-distribution.

Distinguish product life cycles

What is your current stage in the product life cycle? How does the market feel about your product? Is the market starting to look for new changes? Identifying the product life cycle is vital, and having a sense of the market demand will give your brand a competitive advantage over your competitors.

Detect product issues at an early stage

Is your product not functioning normally for a significant number of users? Are you getting some unexplained returns? Prevention is better than cure and it might be time to investigate. It's already too late when customers write detailed, critical reviews about an issue that you have never heard of before.

Increase customers' satisfaction and brand loyalty

Is this the right time for your customer support team to get involved? How should your team answer the case? Customers tend to leave a review when they have a specific emotion attached to your products. Understanding this emotion will help your support team to manage these situations better and achieve a higher customer satisfaction rate. As a result, your customers will be more loyal to your brand.

Quick re-cap in an infographic:

Sentiment analysis at e-tailers benefits

To diagnose the hidden pain-points in your e-commerce distribution channels, you will need to keep an eye on online reviews in real time. Big retailers such as Amazon or Best-Buy (USA) have a high rate of verified purchase reviews. These can provide essential insights into your products, so make sure to keep track of new reviews at your big e-tailers.

Thanks to AI technology, sentiment analysis is becoming a real asset in e-commerce. Your brands can and should analyze both social media and all of your online distribution channels. Each source of data will provide different perspectives on your product and brand, giving you the necessary information to make better e-commerce decisions. BlueBoard's Reviews Monitoring feature allows you to stay updated on customers' reviews in real time. Our API can power your sentiment analysis at e-tailers by collecting the input data across all of your distribution channels, any time and on any site!

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