Product Managers Start To Understand The Power Of Online Reviews

 It turns out that people read online reviews before making a purchase
It turns out that people read online reviews before making a purchase
Image Credit: Wies van Erp

When the customers for your product go looking for products online, how do they decide which one they are going to buy? As more and more of us become comfortable shopping online, we are starting to look towards people who have bought a product before to tell us if it’s any good. What this means for product managers is that those online product reviews are starting to take on more and more importance. What’s a product manager to do?

The Power Of Online Reviews

Online shopping behavior has changed over the short time that it has been around. Now online shoppers tend to go immediately to user reviews when they are shopping for products online. Studies have shown that 66% of online shoppers who are researching a product will read the online reviews for that product. It’s important to note that online reviews can also influence people who come to a physical store to shop also.

Ultimately, online reviews can have an impact on our product manager resume.

Interestingly enough, it turns out that only about 4% of the people who purchase a product will take the time to write an online review of the product when they are asked to do so. Product managers are starting to care more and more about what their customers are saying about their products on websites. Product managers are starting to step up their efforts to get more of their customers to leave reviews after they make a purchase.

However, due to the power of these online reviews, the product managers have to move carefully here. Product managers don’t want people who didn’t purchase the product to leave a review or for robots to create “fake” reviews. In order to prevent this, product managers are reviewing their product manager job description and putting in place systems that ensure that people who are leaving reviews are actual customers who have bought the product. At the same time, product managers are looking for ways to make customer reviews useful and engaging. They are trying to accomplish this by adding photos and other features.

How Product Managers Can Use Online Reviews

More reviews for a product are important to a product manager, but it is also important that those reviews be authentic reviews. Some people who may have an agenda, could possibly create an account online just to post a review for a product that they had not bought. In order to limit this from happening, the online retailer Amazon has recently implemented a policy that states that only customer accounts that have spent at least $50 can leave reviews. The goal is to prevent false reviews.

Product managers have discovered that so called “verified buyers” are the ones who provide the most useful information for future shoppers. These shoppers also turn out to be more complementary about the products that they have bought. When ranking a product that they bought, verified buyers tend to leave 4.34 stars for a product. This is in contrast to anonymous reviewers who tend to leave 3.89 stars for products.

One of the biggest questions that product managers have to deal with in terms of reviews is what to do about bad reviews of their products. The experts agree, product managers should never hide or erase bad reviews. What product managers need to realize is that negative reviews bring authenticity to review sites. What is very important to product managers is what is called “purchase likelihood”. It turns out that when a product has a customer rating of between 4.2 and 4.5 stars, this is when a customer most trusts the reviews and is most likely to make a purchase.

What All Of This Means For You

What product manager want to happen is for customers who are shopping for a product like the one that the product manager is responsible for to decide to purchase it. However, often these customers want to hear what other people who have made the same purchase think about what they bought. This is why online reviews of products have become so important. What this means for product managers is that we need to start paying more attention to what our current customers are saying!

Studies have shown that customers who go online and research products do take the time to read what other customers have to say about the product. However, only a small fraction of the people who buy a product take the time to write a review of it. Product managers want to find ways to get more people to leave reviews. Product managers want to find ways to ensure that only people who have really bought a product write reviews of it. Verified buyers seem to create the most powerful reviews. The good news for product managers is that there is a purchase likelihood that occurs when a product has a rating that is between 4.2 and 4.5 stars.

It turns out that defining, creating, packaging, and selling a product is not all that a product manager has to do. Now we are also responsible for expanding our product development definition and managing what our existing customers are saying about our product online. The good news is that generally the more that they say, the better the sales of our product will be. Going forward make sure that you take the time to keep track of what your customers are saying about you online!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™

Question For You: What should a product manager do if a customer leaves a negative review of your product?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

What makes a jewelry store cool? The 183 year-old Tiffany’s jewelry store has been cool for a very long time. They’ve been associated with very, very cool people like the actress Audrey Hepburn and that has made them very successful. However, as of late they seem to have lost their cool factor. What can the Tiffany product managers do to change their product development definition and help the store reclaim its “cool”?