Marketing and research budgets are fluctuating with the rest of the current economy. With this kind of uncertainty consumer researchers are looking for solutions to boost innovation and product development while keeping an eye on expenses. The answer to these constraints is sitting in customer reviews, an underappreciated publicly available resource rich with insights. Utilizing reviews for analysis can impact decision-making just from customer comments you gloss over every time you visit a website.
In the right hands, reviews analysis is a speedy, economical answer to tight budgets looking to keep brands relevant and innovation pipelines full. No months-long timeline, no screeners, no recruiting. To make our point we decided to compare five different body lotion brands with the objective of understanding competitor differences where brands succeed, where they lead or follow, and where there are the opportunities–Aveeno, CeraVe, Gold Bond, Lubriderm, and Nivea.
In this use case we’ll walk through 3 insights derived from Amazon customer reviews:
• Insight #1: Values and Emotions Driving Ratings
• Insight #2: Key Themes Measuring Brand Performance
• Insight #3: Key Themes Identifying Opportunities
Once we gathered all the data, we processed the reviews and start with Star Ratings Over Time
This is where most analysis begins but it’s helpful to begin with the big picture as a foundation and examine how the star ratings shift over time. Further on we identify the WHY in these fluctuations. Customers almost universally love the brands with most ratings above 3.5 stars.
Insight #1: Values and Emotions Driving Ratings
Understanding the star ratings is start but a perspective on what’s really driving the high or low star rating with Values (principle/belief) and Emotions (reaction)–the WHY behind the comments-is a deeper level of insight.
This analysis is an opportunity to confirm that Values expressed in the reviews align with the brand’s core values, and to consider any decisions that many need to be made. Love as a value and love as an emotion are strong across all brands, particularly for Gold Bond and Nivea. CeraVe is a standout with Fun and Connectivity as values. Pride as an emotion is stronger for Lubriderm compared to Love.
Insight #2: Key Themes Measuring Brand Performance
There are two steps for Insight #2. Step 1: We start by using two analytic techniques, Concepts and Clusters, to identify Key Themes. This analysis highlights the topics or issues customers are talking about.
The chart shows the percentage of reviews that mentioned the top clusters or concepts. Some of the topics are to be expected as they represent the meaningfulness of the key product benefits or problems in the reviews. Additional analysis leads us to identifying Key Themes or meaningful areas of focus, shown below, like Greasy, Price, Pump, Handwashing, and Smell.
Step 2: Concepts and Clusters are combined to identify Key Themes that rose to the top. Analyzing the Key Themes by 5 star and by 1+2 star reviews determine how brands perform on these top issues. Reviewers thought CeraVe was NOT greasy. Gold Bond shows negative reviews for their pump. Smell is a strong topic for Nivea, positive and negative. People either love it or don’t like it. This overview can help in defining the product qualities to emphasize customer satisfaction, areas in which to compete with other brands or problems to solve.
Insight #3: Key Themes Identifying Opportunities
This outlier key theme presents an opportunity
Customer comments highlighted the unmet need for special attention to the care of tattoos.
• “Tattoo artist recommended after the first week or so of healing. No scent, very neutral and keeps a healing tattoo moisturized.
• “I bought this bottle for tattoo care, and it works like a dream. Would 10/10 recommend this for tattoo care over their tattoo branded lotion. This does the same thing and is way cheaper.”
• “These are by far the best body lotion for new and old tattoos.”
• “Will never use anything but this for post-peel tattoo healing. Once it’s past the itchy stage, this is the perfect moisturizer for getting your tattoo to heal as bright and vibrant as it was when you first got it. Love it!
• Values and Emotions are the WHY behind perception and choice behavior
• The opportunity to confirm brand alignment with consumer perception is invaluable and provides a path to remedy
• Key Themes zero in on product performance issues
• Analyzing your brand across the competitive landscape gives a marketplace reality check and visibility into necessary changes or opportunities
• Key Themes identify opportunities—emerging or mainstreaming
• Analyzing for key themes allows for evaluating the potential for new ideas
Amazon reviews are only one type of data and the tip of the iceberg. Combining data from social media, the customer support center, online communities, and more, holds insights for use throughout the workflow.