How Product Reviews can Help You Create Five-Star Products

Topic: Impact of Online Reviews Best Practices ecommerce statistics product development

In order to create winning products and experiences, you’ve got to understand your customers’ wants and needs. And the only way to do that is to ask for their feedback.

In fact, the most successful businesses are those that make it a priority to collect feedback -- and then take action on it. And the good news is, customer feedback is often full of great insights that can help you create better products and experiences. According to a Forrester report, nearly three quarters of customer experience professionals in the US and Europe say they’re able to get new product ideas from customer feedback. 

Of course, there are many channels businesses use to collect and analyze customer feedback. For example, Whole Foods Market does a great job managing feedback on Twitter -- and using this feedback to better serve its customers.

And companies like Hyatt make it easy for customers to leave feedback about their experiences. That way, the brand can make data-driven improvements to their properties -- and even their website.

Surveys, feedback forms and social media are all great ways to generate valuable feedback. But there’s another great source of feedback you can leverage to create better products and experiences -- and it’s one that’s often overlooked. That source is customer reviews.

In this blog, we’ll explore why reviews are a rich (often underutilized) source of actionable data -- and five ways you can use insights from reviews to create five-star products and experiences. 

Product Reviews are a Powerful Source of Actionable Data 

Today, the important role product reviews play in sales growth is well understood. According to our friends at PowerReviews, a product can experience a 65% boost in conversion when it starts displaying reviews. And Yotpo data tells us that the higher the average star rating, the greater the order volume.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, reviews are more important than ever. More consumers are shopping online, and they depend on this content to make informed purchase decisions. In fact, new data from PowerReviews tells us that consumers who interact with reviews are converting at a 25% higher rate compared to last year.

Product reviews are also a powerful source of data. And when brands tap into that data, they can better serve their customers. 

Reviews are written by those that know your products best: your customers. And while some methods yield generic feedback that’s difficult to take action on, product reviews provide specific feedback about a specific product. Brands can then look for trends in the feedback they receive for a given product -- and identify ways to make it even better.

While reviews yield powerful data, most brands don’t use it to its full potential. Why? Because historically, it’s been difficult to do so -- especially for businesses that sell products through a number of different channels. 

For example, let’s say you’re a health and beauty brand that sells your products through your own website, as well as through big box retailers and Amazon. Historically, you’d have to log into different dashboards to monitor reviews for each of these sales channels. Because the data is siloed, it’s difficult (if not impossible) to truly understand how your products are (or aren’t) meeting the needs of your customers. 

Today, however, many brands are opting to consolidate their reviews. And that makes it a whole lot easier to take action on review data.

When you consolidate reviews, that means you can manage all of this content through a single platform like Reputation Studio -- regardless of where the reviews were originally submitted. What’s more, if you’re a Reputation Studio customer, you can get a more holistic look at how a specific product is performing across all channels. That way, you can better understand overall sentiment -- and identify ways to make your products even better. 

Five Ways to Leverage Review Data to Build Winning Products and Experiences 

Product reviews are a gold mine of insights you can’t access anywhere else. But how can you put this data into action in meaningful, impactful ways?

Let’s take a look at five ways the best brands are leveraging the data from reviews to create products and experiences their customers love.

1. Fix Problems with Existing Products

Product reviews are a great way to identify problems with your existing products. In fact, you may discover issues you wouldn’t have known about otherwise. Then, when you fix these problems, you’re likely to see a boost in star ratings and customer sentiment -- as well as product sales. 

For example, let’s say you’re a toy brand that sells this toy grill. It’s got an average star rating of 4.0 -- not bad at all!

However, when you take a closer look, you notice many reviews (including some of the four and five star ones) mention the holes are drilled incorrectly. And it’s causing problems when the toy is assembled.

You can then take that feedback to your manufacturer to make a small improvement to the product that’ll make a big difference. It’s a good idea to note the change in your product description, too, so future shoppers know they can disregard reviews that mention incorrectly drilled holes.

Product reviews can also help you uncover problems with your product packaging. For example, this shopper, Lena, raves about her experience with a shampoo product. Her only gripe is that the cap design isn’t the best. If this is feedback the brand gets often, they can work with their packaging manufacturer to fix the shampoo cap. 

2. Add Enhancements to Make Products Even Better

Product reviews can shed light on opportunities to make your well-loved products even better. 

For example, this toddler lunch box has 757 ratings and a 4.5 average star rating on Amazon. Clearly, shoppers love this product.

However, several reviewers -- including the one below -- mention that it would be really great if the lunch box had space for an ice pack. That way, parents can pack perishable items for their children -- without worrying that the food will go bad by lunchtime.

The brand can take this feedback to their manufacturer -- and work together to make a great product even better.

Let’s take a look at another example. This reviewer left a three star review for a power washer. The reviewer says the product “works very well so far,” but they also included some very specific ideas for making it even better. If these suggestions are common themes in other reviews, the brand might consider making some of these enhancements to ensure the product meets the needs of its customers.

3. Iterate on New Products

According to Clayton Christensen, a former Harvard Business School professor, each year, 30,000 new consumer products are launched. And 95% of those new products fail.

That’s pretty discouraging. 

But the good news is, reviews can be a great source of data that can help you identify ways to improve your new products. And making data-based iterations can help ensure these new products are successful.

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many brands started developing and selling non-medical face coverings. The need was great, so brands acted quickly to make them available. 

The face mask in the example below has great reviews. However, multiple reviewers -- including the one below -- wish the product had a pocket for a filter. The brand can use this feedback to make data-based improvements to ensure their product continues to be successful.

Here’s another example. This brand recently released a new line of protein bars. This particular flavor has 87 reviews and an average star rating of 4.0.

This review, however, mentions that the bar doesn’t have a good consistency and “is not my fav.” If the brand notices a trend of customers mentioning the consistency as a negative, they may want to rework the recipe to achieve a better, less chalky consistency.

Reviews can also uncover health and safety issues with new products that weren’t discovered during testing. Of course, these are issues that should be investigated and fixed as soon as possible. 

For example, a health and beauty brand recently released a new eye shadow palette. This reviewer noted that the product caused an allergic reaction. In fact, there are several reviewers that mention similar issues. In order to protect the health and safety of its customers (and comply with FDA regulations), this brand will need to investigate this issue. And it may be necessary to make modifications to the product to make it safer for customers. 

4. Develop Brand New Products 

Sometimes, your review data can shed light on opportunities to develop entirely new products (or product lines). 

For example, this health and beauty brand sells an eyebrow pencil that has 77 reviews and an average star rating of about 3.5.

This shopper leaves a one-star review, indicating the product isn’t a great option for people with red hair. Of course, the brand is probably disappointed to receive negative feedback. But if this is a common theme, there may be an opportunity for the company to create an entirely new product that works better for redheads. 

Here’s another example. This customer from Denver wrote a three star review for teeth whitening stripes, mentioning that the stripes weren’t long enough for their liking. If the brand has customers that like the current product (they mention in their response that they do) and those that feel the strips aren’t long enough, there may be an opportunity to create a new line of longer whitening strips.

Finally, here’s a four star review for a pair of shoes sold on Amazon. The shopper seems to really love the shoes. Their only piece of feedback is that they wish they also came in black. If this is common feedback, there may be an opportunity for the brand to offer additional colors.

5. Eliminate Products that are Bringing You Down 

You work hard to create products your shoppers love. But while some products are a hit, others are a miss. And that’s OK! Take comfort in knowing that even the best brands occasionally release products that are duds (Crystal Pepsi, anyone?)

Review data can help you identify when it’s time to pull the plug on a product altogether. For example, this dry cider has consistently negative reviews.

And all of the negative feedback relates to taste. Sounds pretty gross, right?

It might be time for this brand to stop selling this product. If they continue to sell it (without making any changes), they’ll probably keep getting bad reviews. And that can do some serious harm to their reputation (and sales).

Remember -- when you eliminate poorly performing products, you’re allowing yourself to focus on new, better products that’ll meet the needs of your shoppers. 

Tap into Customer Reviews to Take Your Products to the Next Level

Product reviews provide rich, actionable data to businesses. All too often, though, review data isn’t leveraged to its full potential.

Today, brands face more competition than ever before. Now’s the time to tap into the data from your reviews to improve your products and services. By doing so, you’ll better serve your customers -- and boost your bottom line.

Impact of Online Reviews Best Practices ecommerce statistics product development