Top 5 Best Practices for Grocery ratings & reviews





Shopper Marketing Agency

Ratings and reviews

digital shelf

18 Nov 2021

We've helped numerous clients get ratings & reviews on online grocery retailers' sites in the US, Canada and Europe. Many of them are household names and leaders in their categories. Through working with them we have developed 5 Best Practice recommendations in terms of how to roll out a grocery ratings & reviews program in your CPG / FMCG Business. 

The simplest place to start is to run a free pilot on any item in any retailer. That is good enough for many clients to see how well it works and then want to go at full pace and go for Partnership. For others, they need more evidence, in which case they then go to the "Prove the ROI" next. This intermediate step is great if your senior leadership team take more convincing, when they finally catch on, you should go for Partnership ie full program getting 30 or more on all of your items and doing it quickly.

Once you have 30 reviews on every item, they need to be kept fresh ie the latest reviews should be no more than 6 months old or they lose their impact. Finally, use the content of reviews as feedback but not just the reviews content, the very best companies add shopper feedback or surveys to the reviews programs to collect fresh product-specific feedback as well as ongoing brand perception measurements such as Net Promotor scores, affinity measures or your own bespoke questions. These clients who are proactively managing their reputation online and listening carefully to grocery shoppers are winning in the market.


For more about each of the Best practices:

1. Get Started: Dip your toe in the water

Toe in the water
Getting started with ratings & reviews is easy if you have the right digital shopper marketing agency partner. The very best digital shopper marketing agencies, such as CheckoutSmart will let you start with just one item in one retailer. If you are a first-time client or an existing one in a new market, they will even do a pilot for Free. Contact us to get your free pilot live. Once you get a pilot rolling you will see for yourself that:

  • It works in all retailers – You can get 30 or more genuine high-quality reviews “on-demand” on any pack in any online retailer (that displays shopper submitted reviews).
  • The reviews are helpful – You can see they are genuine and they provide more than just another ratings. They can provide insight or understanding into what shoppers really think of your products and how they use them.
  • It’s really simple – All that is required is a supermarket product URL and CheckoutSmart does the rest. No samples, no endless setups, no big contracts.
  • It’s quick – Most of the time a pilot in a standard grocery retailer would be delivered in 4-8 weeks from go-ahead.

With your free pilot results in hand, the next best step is to "Go Big", that way you get the maximum benefit in the shortest space of time. If you still want more proof beyond your own pilot and the programs we've completed with multiple clients then Step 2 is for you:


2. Get Going: Prove the ROI

Prove the ROI
If you feel that for your business to "Go Big" on reviews then you will need more evidence than a one item pilot. What do you do next, where do you start? The best step now is to make a reasonable investment to get reviews on 10-15 items. That way you get a benefit in sales now and it should carry enough wait to convince your stakeholders. Choose items across some of your best sellers and your NPD because:

  • Best sellers - Are the profit engine of all businesses Getting an uplift here (and we’ve seen 25-35% uplifts online on existing items – see our Kellogg Coco Pops case study) will pay back in terms of ROI.
  • NPD - Is the lifeblood of all FMCG brands but nearly all of it fails. Use ratings and reviews to get a fair opinion about your NPD in front of shoppers right at the start. These programs can often be delivered in a few weeks, which can be before even your main advertising has started!
  • Tell the Team - Take the results of your ROI work and talk to your business. Make sure they know that Ratings and Reviews not only pay back short term, but they will also keep delivering month after month.

See our Kellogg case study to see the kind of uplift we've seen repeatedly in the analysis done by our clients.


3. Go Big: Partnership pays

Whole brand partnership
With the strong proven benefit of ratings & reviews, there is no doubt that nearly all items will see an increase in rate of sale from having at least 30 reviews. How do you ensure you do this most effectively?

  • Go big to get the most benefit – The sooner every one of your items has 30 or more reviews, the sooner you get the best overall sales uplift.
  • Big campaigns are better value - Book the biggest campaign you can, this will give you the lowest cost per item.
  • Let them do it all - Give your reviews supplier the chance to manage the program for you. CheckoutSmart minimizes the resource requirement from you.
  • Be flexible - Let CheckoutSmart roll out the program within the agreed timescale. They can then plan the program as efficiently as possible.
  • Get the best ROI - Having the lowest costs per item and lowest resource requirement from your side gives you the best ROI and the maximum sales benefit.


4. Keep it Fresh: Keep them going up

Keep it fresh
As we’ve demonstrated in our research, 30 reviews has the biggest sales benefit in terms of ratings and reviews. (see 6 golden rules of ratings & reviews in our Ratings & Review summary report here). The next most important factor in product choice is recency of reviews. A product with old reviews will be chosen less often (as it is clearly less popular with other shoppers).

  • Less than 6 months old - Like most packaged goods, reviews are better fresher. Your latest few reviews (ideally around 5) should be from the last 6 months.
  • The more the merrier - Although we know that the incremental benefit of more reviews does decline as you go past 30, it does still go up. Having 40 or 50 reviews will drive rate of sale up further.


5. Get More Feedback: Surveys made simple

Get more feedback
Reviews are an effective way to get product feedback. We see many insights in reviews around how a product performs, how it is used or described by shoppers. These insights can be invaluable to marketing, eCommerce and R&D teams. However, they are more of a one of and can be relatively low in number. To get the most from the shopping community, brands should combine reviews with Product surveys. That is:

  • Get lots of feedback in a Quarter – Get enough feedback to know if your product is performing as it should all the time
  • Ask your questions – Use your own bespoke closed questions to get exactly the answers you looking for. Reviews are great for spontaneous opinions, but surveys get to the heart of any issue.
  • Track your brand - Ask common questions across items in the same brand and you have a shopper panel feeding back on imagery or net promoter scores as you like.

Not every brand we work with has worked on all the Best practice areas, but the ones who have been most successful in the marketplace and where the program has been hailed as the biggest success internally have done so. 

We can help clients of all sizes and in many markets, contact us to hear more about how we can help you too.


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Rachel K

”The product is very good in taste and it tastes like really fresh”


Jacob Mason

”This real juice is very amazing and very tasty”

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