Decades ago, “product reviews” were casually shared over a back fence or at a neighborhood barbecue. While this still happens, online product reviews equip modern consumers with the information they need to go forward with their purchases.

Online reviews are reassuring to consumers.

You may wonder why your brand should encourage online product reviews when you spend generously on paid online marketing. Product reviews accomplish something different. While advertisements may catch someone’s attention, the product review is where the rubber meets the road. It is where consumers learn exactly what they want to know, not just what brands want them to know. Like it or not, product reviews are a major source of consumer insights today.

Why Product Reviews Are Particularly Important Today

More than three-quarters of American consumers shop online, and their reasons for doing so vary. Some like the convenience, while others like access to products that are not available locally. Still others enjoy the thrill of finding the best price. Whatever their reasoning, consumers want to make up for the fact that (with new items they have never purchased before) they cannot see, touch, hear, or otherwise experience a product in person. They do not want to waste time and money on a product that does not meet their needs, so they turn to others who have purchased the same thing to get the straight story on products.

How CPG Brands Can Encourage Consumers to Leave Positive Reviews

One of the most important things brands can do to encourage positive consumer reviews is to make it easy for them to do so. Review forms should be easily accessible and navigable, and should not demand more of consumers’ time than necessary. If possible, pre-embedding the name of the product in the review title for the consumer is helpful.

Many brands offer incentives like discounts for consumers who leave reviews, but this should be a first-time only incentive. Otherwise, people may question the credibility of reviews if they think people only leave them to get goodies. The consumer should find the online review process easy and casual. Responding to consumer reviews is another terrific way for brands to gain meaningful customer insights.

The Elements of the Standard Online Product Review

Consumers expect online product reviews to look and feel a certain way. For one thing, they want a star rating out of five stars. If, for instance, you offered a star rating out of three stars, it would be too easy for consumers to see a string of three-star reviews and interpret them as less positive than they actually are, since consumers usually look for five stars. Verification of reviewer legitimacy is beneficial too, when possible. People are savvy, and they can be suspicious of overly bright, glowing reviews with unusual vocabulary or sophisticated wording, believing them to be shills. 

Today’s consumers are adept at recognizing fake product reviews.

Consumers are also accustomed to seeing a simple graphic showing how many reviews gave the product five stars, four, three, two, and one, as well as the total number of reviews. It is easier for them to trust a 4.5 star review based on 2,000 consumer reviews than to trust a single five-star review that looks as if it has been written by a professional.

Benefits Brands Can Expect from Having More Customer Reviews

The main thing brands gain from having lots of customer reviews is increased trust. Think about your own online shopping. If you want to buy a product for the first time, seeing a review page summarizing hundreds of reviews rather than two or three makes you feel as if you have a better handle on the quality of product.

More reviews also mean more of the straightforward information consumers really want to know. In short, more customer reviews gives your brand more authenticity, making people more comfortable buying from you.

Though you should read all reviews with due consideration, do not be overly upset about the rare bad review. Online shoppers read bad reviews of well-reviewed products, but often they are looking to see if the subject of complaint is a deal-breaker. For example, if a review complains that a package arrived having been water damaged, people reading the review understand that it reflects more on the delivery process than the product itself.

Brands should embrace online reviews and encourage them. Consumers want them, and brands can use them to increase click-through rates, build authenticity, and make new customers more comfortable in selecting their products. 

Hangar12 is constantly striving to be at the forefront of CPG marketing strategy and more. Subscribe to our blog to stay up to date with our latest insights! 

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Topics consumer marketing, reviews