The concept of social proof is still believed to be a powerful tool to encourage sales, both online and offline. Online product reviews specifically are trusted almost as much as personal reviews, flagging a strong case for brands to encourage customers to leave feedback.
As the majority of food brands in the UK rely on retailers for commerce, reviews can provide the most value on retailer product pages. While UK retailers in Gartner L2’s report support ratings and reviews on their sites, few customers contribute, with Sainsbury’s and Asda averaging only 10 reviews per product. Moreover, about 25% of products don’t have any reviews at all. This shortcoming is a good reason for brands to syndicate assets from their own sites to bolster review counts on retailer platforms and provide consumers with this information close to the point of purchase.
Both Sainsbury’s and Asda enable syndicated reviews from brand sites, but only Unilever and Nestlé take advantage of this feature. Unilever is more consistent in its approach; its brands are currently the only ones to syndicate reviews on Sainsbury’s, while Nestlé only shares on Asda. In addition to the low review count on Asda’s platform, this is a missed opportunity to repurpose existing content that can ultimately benefit product sales.
While the majority of food products are sold via retailers, soliciting reviews is a two-pronged approach; both the brand and the retailer can play a role. However, only 20% of Index brands collect user reviews on their sites. To garner reviews, some brands offer customers samples or promotions to incentivize the process. Likewise, retailers can send follow up emails after the products have been delivered, as well as prompt returning customers for feedback at several touchpoints on their platforms.