Are Grocery Product Reviews More Important Than Ever?

As e-commerce continues to surge, consumers are rating what they buy with abandon
Bazaarvoice retailer review
Photograph courtesy of Bazaarvoice

With e-commerce grocery purchases surging since the start of the pandemic, newly available data from Bazaarvoice—an Austin, Texas-based company that connects retailers with consumer reviews—finds that food experienced a 244% year-over-year increase in reviews posted for the month of May.

Even as reopening phases began around the country in May, the month saw an increase in posted reviews as consumers are still cooking at home more frequently due to COVID-19, finds Bazaarvoice. Consumers are also wanting to share their experiences and opinions on food products like never before.

Unlike retailers of categories from clothing to electronics and home goods, grocers haven’t traditionally prioritized management of reviews for products, but the impact of a stay-at-home lifestyle is changing the landscape of the marketplace.

“The data that we’re seeing does lead us to believe that the shopping behavior that many have adopted due to COVID-19 will continue going forward for a vast amount of consumers,” said Suzin Wold, SVP of marketing for Bazaarvoice. “Although May saw a slight decrease in e-commerce numbers to April, overall online order count grew 83% last month compared to May 2019. For food and beverage specifically, we saw a 77% increase in order count year over year and a 162% increase in review count.”

With an unprecedented number of shoppers buying groceries online for the first time, grocers are now receiving more customer feedback and reviews. “This vast increase in reviews that the food and beverage sectors are seeing will undoubtedly be incredibly helpful both in-store and online,” said Wold. “Grocers will likely now look more closely at consumer product reviews along with sales data to inform their product selection and promotion both digitally and physically.”

While sales data has always been critical to informing product placement, ordering, promotion and more, Wold said consumer reviews provide a qualitative perspective that numbers cannot.

“Written reviews will provide an in-depth explanation on why products are or are not performing well for a grocer, which products would be best to promote, and how best to do so,” she continued. “And since the subcategory ‘food’ has seen a 244% increase in review count year over year, grocery retailers will have plenty of data with which to work.”


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