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How do product reviews and ratings influence shoppers’ decisions when purchasing TVs?

By Chris Elliott

Online product reviews have the potential to greatly influence shopper decision making. It is in retailers’ best interests to offer clear and insightful product reviews in order to generate greater sales.

Brand View products can provide retailers with key insights into their online product reviews. We’ve analysed the reviews and ratings of televisions stocked in Argos, Currys, John Lewis and Tesco Direct.

The authenticity of product reviews is key to promoting shopper confidence; enabling retailers to successfully harness the power of the reviews.

The importance of product reviews

With over 500 different televisions available from UK retailers we’ve reviewed, shoppers face a tough time choosing which one to purchase. One key factor that may sway a shopper’s decision are the online reviews of that product.

Advances in Economics and Business published the results of a study into the importance of online product reviews. It concluded that 74 percent of respondents rate online product reviews as either ‘important’ or ‘very important’, with over 85 percent of respondents checking reviews either ‘often’ or ‘very often’ before buying online. These stats show that shoppers believe it to be important to check reviews before purchases, and as such these reviews may affect their final purchase decision.

Average review percentage of TV brands

Ratings can highlight to retailers which brands are most or least well reviewed in its product range as well as the product range of competitor stores.

The graph below shows that Sharp televisions are the most poorly reviewed compared to other popular TV brands stocked by the four retailers reviewed. Sharp’s average review percentage is 80.4, the other brands have an average review percentage of 86.0 or greater. The percentage is calculated using the star ratings awarded to products via online reviews, for example four stars is equivalent to 80 percent.

average percentage tv brands

Average review percentage of brands by retailer

When we look at the reviews by retailer we can see that Sharp have an average review percentage of 87.0 in Currys, it then drops 14.0 percent in Argos. However, John Lewis has the worse average review percentage for Sharp televisions with just 60.0.

average tv brand by retailer

Sharp is not the only brand that has the lowest average review in John Lewis; all eight brands analysed had the lowest average review percentage in John Lewis. This suggests that customers at premium retailers, such as John Lewis,  may expect a higher quality product and as such the ratings are often lower than that of the same product in other retailers.

Identifying poorly reviewed products

Brand View Reviews and Ratings analytics can aid retailers in identifying specific products lines that are being poorly reviewed. John Lewis used to stock a 60 inch Sharp Smart 3D tv which suffered from negative reviews. These stemmed from technical faults that caused several one star reviews to be posted on the John Lewis site as detailed below:

one star tv review

Currys also stocked this model; it was well reviewed, with an average star rating of nearly 4.5 stars (93 percent).

average tv star rating

The lowest review recorded was 8/10, with no technical faults reported. This could mean that John Lewis may have stocked a faulty batch – keeping track of online reviews and ratings can help retailers identify anomalies and problems such as this.

Identifying product attributes that affect ratings

Brand View Reviews and Ratings can also be used to identify attributes of products that customers prefer.

The following example highlights how specific TV attributes can affect product reviews; focusing on John Lewis, TV’s with integrated DVD players are less well reviewed than those without. Unlike the DVD player attribute, there was a minimal difference in reviews of smart vs non-smart enabled TVs, with only 0.9 percent difference in reviews.

average tv review john lewis

Currys average review percentage also shows a preference to TV’s without a built-in DVD player. However, Currys customer’s left higher reviews for TV’s that had 3D, are curved or are smart enabled. This could suggest that Currys customers are more willing to embrace new TV technologies than John Lewis customers. The Currys average review percentage of all but one option are higher than that of John Lewis, reinforcing the idea that John Lewis shoppers may demand more of their products.

average tv review currys

A foundation of trust

An important issue surrounding reviews and ratings is authenticity; shoppers must be confident that the opinions they read are real. It’s seldom the case that any product is universally lauded or scorned, meaning any site showing universally positive or negative reviews is likely to breed scepticism.

It’s also important to recognise that all reviews are valuable: a positive review tells a company where it’s working well, while a negative one brings insight into how to improve. However, some shoppers are prone to leaving irreverent reviews which may arguably be ignored such as the one below which has since been removed.

fake tv review sharp

Trustworthy content is the key to unlocking shopper confidence, safeguarding authenticity should be the highest priority for any business collecting product reviews. Likewise, ensuring transparency is also important – where at all possible content from sources with potential conflicts of interest, such as if an incentive was offered, should be highlighted.

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