Opportunities for innovation and information hidden in customer reviews

Marketing and research budgets fluctuate with the rest of today’s economy. With this kind of uncertainty, consumer researchers are looking for ways to drive innovation and product development while keeping an eye on spending. The answer to these constraints can be found in customer reviews, an underrated resource that is publicly accessible and rich in information. Using reviews for analytics can impact decision-making just from the customer feedback you gloss over every time you visit a website.

In the right hands, review analytics is a quick and cost-effective answer to tight budgets looking to keep brands relevant and innovation pipelines full. No calendar of several months, no selectors, no recruitment. To make our point, we decided to compare five different body lotion brands in an effort to understand the differences between competitors where the brands are succeeding, where they’re leading or trailing, and where the opportunities lie – Aveeno , CeraVe, Gold Bond, Lubriderm and Nivea.

In this use case, we will walk through 3 insights derived from Amazon customer reviews:

• Insight #1: Values ​​and Emotions Drive Valuations

• Insight #2: Key themes measuring brand performance

• Insight #3: Key Themes Identifying Opportunities

Once all the data is gathered, we process the reviews and start with Star rating over time

This is where most analysis begins, but it’s useful to start with the big picture as a baseline and look at how star ratings change over time. Further on, we identify the WHY of these fluctuations. Customers almost universally love brands with most ratings above 3.5 stars.

Insight #1: Values ​​and Emotions Drive Ratings

Understanding star rating is a start, but perspective on what really drives high or low star ratings with values ​​(principle/belief) and emotions (reaction) – the WHY behind feedback – is one level of deeper understanding.

This analysis is an opportunity to confirm that the values ​​expressed in the reviews align with the core values ​​of the brand and to review the decisions that need to be made. Love as a value and love as an emotion are strong across all brands, especially Gold Bond and Nivea. CeraVe stands out with fun and connectivity as values. Pride as an emotion is stronger for Lubriderm than love.

Insight #2: Key themes measuring brand performance

There are two steps for Insight #2. Step 1: We begin by using two analytical techniques, concepts and groups, to identify key themes. This analysis highlights the topics or issues that customers are talking about.

The graph shows the percentage of reviews mentioning the main groups or concepts. Some of the topics are to be expected as they represent the significance of the main benefits or issues of the product in the reviews. Further analysis leads us to identify key themes or significant areas of focus, listed below, such as fat, price, pump, handwashing and odor.

2nd step: Concepts and clusters are combined to identify key themes that rose to the top. Analysis of key themes by 5 stars and by 1+2 stars determines brands’ performance on these key issues. Reviewers thought CeraVe was NOT greasy. Gold Bond posts negative reviews for their pump. Feel is a strong topic for Nivea, positive and negative. People like it or dislike it. This overview can help define product qualities to emphasize customer satisfaction, areas to compete with other brands, or problems to address.

Insight #3: Key Themes Identifying Opportunities

This outlier key theme presents an opportunity

Customer feedback has highlighted the unmet need for special attention to tattoo care.

• “Tattoo artist recommended after the first week or so of healing. Fragrance free, very neutral and keeps a healing tattoo hydrated.

• “I bought this bottle for tattoo care, and it works like a dream. 10/10 would recommend it for tattoo care over their brand name tattoo lotion. It does the same thing and is much cheaper.

• “These are by far the best body lotion for new and old tattoos.”

• “I will never use anything but this for post-peel tattoo healing. Once past the itchy stage, this is the perfect moisturizer to get your tattoo healing as shiny and vibrant as ever. it was when you first got it.


Preview #1

• Values ​​and emotions are the WHY behind perception and choice behavior

• The opportunity to confirm brand alignment with consumer perception is invaluable and provides an avenue to address this

Preview #2

• Key themes focus on product performance issues

• Analyzing your brand within the competitive landscape provides a check of market reality and visibility into needed changes or opportunities

Preview #3

• Key themes identify opportunities – emerging or pervasive

• Analysis of key themes helps assess the potential for new ideas

Amazon reviews are just one type of data and the tip of the iceberg. The combination of data from social media, customer support center, online communities, etc., contains information to be used throughout the workflow.

Joseph P. Harris