Find your sweet spot

    New call-to-action

    How Important are Ratings & Reviews?

    Feb 21, 2023 9:32:21 AM | Kendra Bandy Retail Essentials

    It’s no secret that Ratings & Reviews are vital for the longevity and success of your business. Why else would Twitter blow up during a long-awaited Rihanna comeback? The age-old-obvious-answer: people care about other people’s opinions. Product ratings and reviews are simply the way to do that with every-day consumables. 

    The good news for you? As one of the most basic forms of user-generated content, ratings and reviews are the tried-and-true way to get products from off the shelf and into a customer’s cart. 

    If your task is to rake in more of those R&R’s, it’s for good reason. 

    Trust us, you’re not the only one googling, “How to get ratings and reviews” for products in your category. Ratings and reviews equal sales, sales equal growth, and growth equals success. So? Without further ado, let’s dive in to the Ratings & Reviews Plum Essentials.

    What are Ratings & Reviews? What are the Key Components?

    Let’s start with the basics. 

    Ratings and reviews are the recorded or written description of a customer’s experience with a product, made available to the public as they consider the product for themselves. Sometimes called online reviews or customer reviews, this public and documented feedback of a product can make or break a business.

    There are a bundle of factors that a comprehensive and complete review can flaunt.  

    1. Product Rating
    The most common form of ecommerce review is the product rating—allowing consumers to give a numerical assessment of the product, most commonly through a star-level rating of one through five. The average feedback is taken and displayed with the product, and this average can be filtered across all products on the ecommerce website.

    2. Written Product Review
    A written product review is the user-generated content portion of the review that allows consumers to publicly share their experience and feedback regarding the specific product. Authentic reviews with a higher word count and descriptive language help potential customers in the decision making process. 


    3. Verified Purchases, Verified Reviews
    A verified purchase label on a product review informs shoppers that the review was written by a true consumer who has purchased said product—ensuring validity and reliability in the review. Verified reviews can be found on both retailer and brand websites, and it boosts credibility in the overall product rating.


    4. Product Photo Reviews, Product Video Reviews
    As an additional touchpoint of user-generated content, reviewers can also choose to add one or more photos and videos to the written portion. Potential buyers can filter reviews by those with the photo-and-video visual bonus. Photos and videos can add an eye-catching component to the review and show a real-life comparison of product characteristics like style, size, color, and quality.

    Every portion of the review builds on itself and lends itself to richer user-generated content. Some other elements that may be included are pro-con sections, final verdicts, and user information like the writer’s name, username, location, and occupation. This helps other potential buyers make purchase decisions based on similar qualities or important relatable components. 

    Viewers sometimes even have the ability to “like” or “dislike” reviews based on content or helpfulness, comment, or share the review. Hosts of the retailer or brand site also have the ability to pin (or highlight) most useful reviews, or connect the review of the specific product with a link to the product. This is key to driving trial for your products—getting nearly live feedback at the consumer level. 


    Why Product Ratings & Reviews Matter

    In the grand scheme of product development, marketing, and sales, product Ratings & Reviews may not rank first in your mind in terms of importance. Here’s the kicker, though: major brands have teams dedicated to curating ratings for products across their catalog.

    Why? Ratings & reviews can make or break your total sales. But don't just take our word for it—we surveyed 1,174 online shoppers and found that a whopping 9 out of 10 said product reviews sway their purchasing decisions (“influential”), with over half saying they're the real VIPs of the online shopping world (“highly influential”).

    Field Agent, one of Plum's trusted solution providers, wanted to understand the role of product reviews in the shoppers' journey. They surveyed 1,174 shoppers* who make an online purchase every month on average. In this survey, 9-in-10 respondents said they regularly read product reviews to guide their online purchases.

    *All survey respondents were U.S. adults at least 18 years of age, smartphone owners, and members of the Field Agent mobile panel. The surveys were executed through the Field Agent platform, February 25, 2022, with a non-random sample of shoppers. Survey quotas/demos: Gender - Female (51%), Male (49%), Age - 18-20 (1%), 21-29 (16%), 30-39 (34%), 40-49 (29%), 50-59 (14%), 60+ (5%); Race/Ethnicity - Caucasian/White (64%), Latino/Hispanic (16%), African American/Black (14%), Other (6%).

    Let’s put a pin in that and get a bit more specific. Reviews may be the rulers of the online shopping kingdom, but their power can vary from kingdom to kingdom (aka product category). Our survey showed that a majority (75%) of online shoppers think reviews have the most sway when it comes to buying electronics, while 52% bow down to the power of reviews when shopping for attire. But, it seems not all reviews are created equal—only 33% of online shoppers think reviews are influential when it comes to household consumables and 23% for groceries.

    The Weight of Product Reviews

    Product reviews are shaking things up in the shopping world, with online pickup and delivery (OPD) making major moves among shoppers. And product reviews will have an even stronger hold over groceries and consumables purchases as this gets more popular by the year.

    Don’t worry though, product reviews are still making their mark in physical stores too. According to our survey, 90% of people (n=1,165) who took part admitted to checking out online reviews before buying electronics in-store. And when it comes to clothes shopping, an impressive 62% (n=1,161) consult reviews before making a purchase. Even household consumables and groceries purchases aren't immune to the power of product reviews, with 50% (n=1,153) and 36% (n=1,136) respectively taking them into consideration.


    Level up your product game with on-demand reviews without the hassle. Head over to the Plum Marketplace, pick your preferred solution, and sit back while Field Agent does the heavy lifting. Real life shoppers will try out your products and share their authentic thoughts on the site of your choice (or syndicated!). It's like a virtual high-five for your products. Let’s get into it.


    See your products scale the charts with fresh Ratings & Reviews. Quick, easy, and hassle-free with Plum


    Retail Essentials

    Subscribe Here: