The impact of ratings & reviews on success at retail

January 26, 2023
Trey Geiger

Today’s shoppers are more empowered than ever before, with the ability to research and compare products before making a purchase. For CPG brands looking to succeed in today’s omnichannel retail environment, having a strong digital presence and reputation is crucial. One key aspect of this digital presence is ratings and reviews.


Here are just a few reasons why ratings and reviews are so important for CPG brands:

  1. Ratings and reviews increase trust: Ratings and reviews provide social proof, which can help increase trust in a brand. When customers see that other shoppers have had positive experiences with a brand’s products, they are more likely to trust the brand and feel confident in their purchase. This is more important than ever during periods of economic uncertainty!
  2. Ratings and reviews improve SEO: Ratings and reviews can help CPG brands rank higher in search engine results. Search engines place a high value on user-generated content (including ratings and reviews). By having a high volume of recent ratings and reviews, CPG brands can improve their search engine rankings and make it easier for shoppers to find their products – a bigger challenge than ever in today’s “endless aisle” digital retail environment.
  3. Ratings and reviews influence purchasing decisions: Studies have shown that ratings and reviews are a major factor in purchasing decisions. In fact, according to a survey by BrightLocal, 84% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This means that having a high number of positive ratings and reviews can be a major factor in whether or not a customer decides to purchase a product. This impacts not only direct online sales – but also traditional in-store purchases thanks to the ever increasing “research online, shop offline” trend.
  4. Ratings and reviews provide valuable feedback: Ratings and reviews allow CPG brands to get valuable insights into what customers like and dislike about their products. This feedback can help brands improve their products and better meet the needs of their customers.

As a brand, how can you ensure your rating & review strategy is sound? A few tactics to consider:

  1. If you have the opportunity, simply ASK shoppers who have purchased your product to submit a review – this often represents the majority of product reviews online. There are a variety of review management partners on the market who offer turnkey solutions for integrating post-purchase emails to solicit reviews.
  2. If you’re launching a new product – or if you don’t have the ability to directly engage shoppers – consider digital product sampling as a way to deliver product reviews. That said, consider the following when leveraging sampling as a tool to drive reviews:
  3. Authenticity: are consumers being incentivized (directly or indirectly) to write a review, or are they taking place on a purely voluntary basis (which often leads to more authentic, credible reviews)? Are reviews unrealistically positive? Research has shown that sweeping positive reviews can be a red flag for authenticity - and shoppers want to see the bad with the good when making their purchase decisions.
  4. Syndication: does your digital sampling partner smoothly integrate with review aggregation partners to ensure reviews are not just collected - but flow to the major retail channels (and if applicable, your own brand sites) in a turnkey fashion?
  5. Recency: ensure you’re generating a steady stream of reviews over time. Recency - not just volume - is a major consideration for consumers. A steady stream of reviews over time is important to ensure shoppers can always find fresh, recent and relevant content.
  6. Analysis: do you have access to actionable tools to automate the process of mining reviews for key phrases, insights and trends? Reviews - especially at scale - are a major source of actionable insights from your most passionate shoppers!

Sampler - the technology leader in digital product sampling - is one solution to consider if you’re seeking to bolster your product review strategy. We’ve worked with leading brands to deliver a steady stream of authentic, credible product reviews to key retail and brand channels; check out the attached case study illustrating how Tide leveraged our Kroger eCommerce Sampling partnership to drive an 8X lift on review quantity while increasing average star rating by 16% on their Kroger product display page for a participating product.

About the Author

Trey Geiger is an accomplished partnerships leader with over 7 years of experience in media and user-generated content enterprise solutions. He leads Sampler’s retail partnerships team, working with leading CPG retailers to deliver integrated digital sampling programs at scale within their eCommerce, loyalty and retail media channels.


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