In this article I’m going to showcase a real-life example of how the pace of feedback online can help shape a product evolution and success in a much shorter timeframe compared to any traditional method.
Launching new consumer products is very risky
As I look at the overall success of new product launches it is very alarming. According to a research report by Nielsen – the largest market research company in the world – 80-85% of new consumer product launches in the fast moving consumer goods segment fail. According to another Nielsen article, 70% of these launches are by established brands. This suggests that even established brands that should know the market fail big time.
The Nielsen research digs deeper and names top 3 reasons for innovation failures, after analyzing thousands of product launches:
- Neglecting to address a broad consumer need
- Failing to provide a good product experience
- Not providing sufficient marketing support
As I look at the facts together, it seems to me there is something fundamentally broken about the feedback loop and fixing it is critical. Let’s see how this can be done.
One new product launch tale
A couple of years back I was working closely with a well-established beauty brand that launched a new product line in hair care. Because this was such a high-profile launch, they decided to follow-up the launch success by establishing multiple tracking mechanisms to detect early how the new product is received.
Three independent tracking efforts were set up:
- Outsourced market research
- Internal team focused on traditional focus groups and surveys methods
- Internal team leveraging online eCommerce reviews
To cut a long story short, the launch failed due to bad customer experience with the product. The new product required careful attention to the instructions but this fact was not highlighted in the packaging and consumers got disappointed with the results without knowing that they missed steps in their usage of the product. Leveraging this quick feedback cycle the team was able to correct course and relaunch the product quickly.
The biggest lesson here was, though, that the team leveraging online eCommerce reviews picked up on the root cause in days, while the others needed 4-5 additional months to come to the same conclusion.
What’s special about eCommerce reviews feedback
I want to outline the key reasons of why online reviews matter:
- There are billions of them. Already back in 2019 about half of the global internet users base was posting online reviews on a monthly basis. Which makes eCommerce reviews the key feedback channel for this medium
- They are very detailed and product related. Unlike social media which is more around the brand, here the feedback is at the individual product level and the consumer is willingly contributing his feedback, meaning he/she will speak about anything on his or her mind, not just respond to questions
- They show up quickly. This one is pretty key, because in days since a new product is launched you can get hundreds or thousands of unsolicited opinions. This means you don’t have to wait for long term research work or till you speak to enough consumers to make a statistically significant decision…the insights are coming to you, fast
- They cover competitors, too. Also key, because you can now benchmark to others, not just focus on your own products
The big promise to product strategy and launches?
As I look specifically at product strategy and new product launches, eCommerce opinions offer three key game changers that are new to the feedback world:
- Immediacy: Imagine a feedback loop you can rely on within hours and days after a new product is released
- Benchmark: Its not just about your products, your panels, your survey takers, its about anyone who is buying a product in your category, any product. See below picture example of how one can see the star rating drivers for an entire product category based on online reviews analysis.
- Unbiased: Unlike solicited feedback, reviews are voluntary and cover the topics consumers care to highlight
Example: Star rating drivers for the entire category Beauty/Nails
What to watch out for in eCommerce reviews
I want to highlight what to look out for in eCommerce reviews, as they are not a magic answer. You need to make sure the analytics solution you are using for eCommerce reviews avoids these potential pitfalls:
- Fake reviews: While most eCommerce platforms battle fake reviews, you need to make sure your solution of choice allows you to filter out reviews that are not from verified buyers, or that were provided as part of a promotion, or that are duplicates of other reviews in the category
- Enough reviews: Not every category is created equal, and some products or categories will not have a lot of reviews about them. Make sure there are enough reviews in your category and make sure your solution of choice is effective from small amounts of reviews and up, otherwise you may not be able to produce insights
- Tracking frequency: Some product categories are more dynamic than others. If you are operating in a dynamic industry you may need to track updates more often. For example, for new competitors or change in trends. Typically, a tracking rate of once a week will do even for dynamic product categories
Category benchmark example for new product acceptance
I want to share how easy it is to gain industry wide perspective when you have access to everything that is discussed in your category, at the individual product level. This allows you to benchmark and understand e.g., what a successful new product launch is looking like.
I can e.g., model ALL new product launches online in the fragrance category and look at how they were accepted across time, starting with the launch onward, in terms of number of comments from buyers, as well as the positiveness of the comments. As seen in the graphs below this allows you to easily benchmark a specific new product launch against its peers MUCH FASTER than any other tracking method to know if satisfaction and volume of discussion (Excitement) are on par
Fragrance online satisfaction (Sentiment) and excitement (Volume) benchmark example
When developing a new product or planning an existing product’s improvements, relying on consumers’ feedback on similar existing products can act as a roadmap filled with dos and don’ts. The feedback can help professionals gather valuable insights into the minds of the customers.
How recent technologies make it easy?
eCommerce feedback collection is a lot of work: data needs to be collected, cleaned, aligned between platforms, all before starting to analyze it. The analysis can also be split into levels – topics, sentiment, higher level insights like SWOT or benchmarks.
I’m sharing the typical schematics of such a solution in the picture below – showcasing how a repetitive process is needed to monitor, collect, clean and analyze online opinions.
Luckily today there are new technologies around that do all the heavy lifting and are modular enough so that you can pick what you need – collection, basic analysis, full analysis etc.
To accelerate product feedback and requirements gathering, you can now tap into the minds of consumers at scale with eCommerce reviews analysis. This is a huge promise – imagine if you can cut down time to feedback by 90% or more! As eCommerce and D2C is picking up momentum, this trend and feedback loop will only accelerate.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can benefit from this – directly from your SAP EPD solution – I invite you to check out the SAP App Store page of Revuze. We have provided some of the world’s biggest brands with AI-powered consumer insights for the last decade, insights that are extracted from verified online reviews on a regular basis, providing ongoing perspective.
In addition, I’d appreciate any feedback or thoughts you have – please do leave a comment and I’ll respond. If you liked the post and saw value please consider following my profile to gain access to future similar content. It is great to be part of this community and I’m looking forward to your feedback!
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