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    Online Ratings & Reviews: How Important Are They To Your Category?

    More than ever, people are shopping online. In a sea of competing products, how can a brand ever hope to stand out?

    The answer: online ratings and reviews.

    An incredible 94% of shoppers read online ratings and reviews before making purchases, according to our survey this week. We used the Field Agent platform to ask 750 mobile shoppers [we call them agents] about how ratings and reviews influence their purchasing decisions.

    How important are ratings and reviews to shoppers in your category? Read on to find out!

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    R&R and Online Purchases

    When customers shop online, how important are ratings and reviews to their purchasing decisions?

    To answer this question, we presented our agents with a list of product categories, and asked them how frequently they consult ratings and reviews before making purchases online. Each agent was given a range of options to choose from, from always to never.

    Ratings and Reviews Online

    Numbers are high across the board, with more than half of shoppers consulting ratings and reviews for even the lowest categories (household consumables and groceries). For pricey purchases like electronics and housewares, and personal items like health and beauty products, the rates are even higher (nearly all shoppers read online reviews when making electronics purchases!)


    R&R and In-Store Purchases

    Ratings and reviews are readily available when shopping online, and it's natural to assume that most shoppers will read them. But what about in-store purchases?

    Ratings and Reviews In-Store

    Though the number of shoppers who read online reviews before making purchases in-store did indeed fall by several percentage points in each category, customer feedback remains surprisingly valuable to shoppers as they make decisions in the aisles. For just under half of our agents, even grocery and household consumable purchases were influenced by shopper feedback.

    Read next: how one CPG brand drove trial and boosted their online ratings and reviews


    Where do Shoppers Read Reviews?

    From quick thumbs-up posts on a retailer website, to in-depth unboxing videos on YouTube, shopper reviews come in all shapes and sizes.

    Where do shoppers go to find reliable feedback? We presented our agents with the same nine product categories, and asked them that very question.

    Ratings and Reviews Purchases by Category

    Retailer sites (Amazon, Walmart.com and the like) are the most common sources for shopper feedback. Brand sites and third-party reviewers and platforms are also valuable resources for shoppers, especially for big-ticket items like electronics.


    What Makes a Good Review?

    Not all reviews are created equal. What do shoppers value in online product feedback? 

    We asked our agents to rank the importance of five values: review honesty, review length, star rating, review number, and reviewer relatability (how similar they are to the decision-maker). Below is the weighted average of the results:

    Ratings and Reviews Ranked Importance

    When it comes to online reviews, honesty is king. Agents also indicated that a high star rating and a large number of reviews are both important factors when it comes to purchasing decisions.


    Ratings & Reviews by Field Agent

    One thing is clear: online ratings and reviews are no longer a luxury. If you want to stand out from the crowd, they are a necessity.

    That's where Ratings & Reviews by Field Agent comes in. Ratings & Reviews is an effective, and affordable way for brands big and small to get rapid, honest online shopper feedback - in record time.

    Check out how one CPG brand gathered positive online reviews and drove trial with Ratings & Reviews. At the end of their campaign, each designated product had over 30 new online reviews, with an average star rating of 4.6. Best of all, 89% of shoppers planned to repurchase - most of which were first-time buyers.

    Read the case study below!

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    Mobile Research, Ratings & Reviews


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