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Best Ratings & Reviews Workflows

Building a Robust Ratings & Review System Improves Credibility, Empowers Buyers, & Incentivizes Vendors
Delivering Quality Products With Quality Reviews

The Importance of Ratings & Reviews

In this segment we will be looking at a high-level overview of the ratings and reviews for a marketplace, as well as the impacts and effects it has on top-line revenue, customer satisfaction, and more.

Ratings and reviews in a marketplace are ultimately one of the key criteria that a potential buyer is looking for when deciding on whether they take the risk, or the perceived risk, of making a purchase through the marketplace. Usually they're going to be looking for products that have a significant number of reviews and high ratings. They're also going to be looking for items that don't necessarily have a perfect score, but they have a relatively high score and appeared to be credible in all other ways.

So, it's interesting to think about the nature of a purchase that you might make when you're going online to buy something. Regardless of online or in person purchasing, think about how ratings and reviews affect the way you evaluate the credibility of a transaction. Most folks nowadays are going online and doing a review check of restaurants or retail locations before they even get into the car. Of course, it's even more prevalent when they're shopping online.

Prevent Review Bloat & Inaccuracy

Review Moderation & Legitimacy

This is a key factor for your buyers and sellers with regards to how the marketplace itself is obtaining accurate reviews, It's certainly not helpful if all of the reviews are extremely negative and there are no accurate positive reviews and then vice versa if they're just a bunch of fluffy positive reviews and nothing is accurate. Whenever there are issues with reviews it's not helpful for the end user when they are making a purchase. So, it's important that there be enough volume and quality so that there's an integrity level built-in to the marketplace itself and ideally that the marketplace can be self-regulating from the ratings and reviews perspective.

Now most of the time ratings and reviews just need a moderator in order to ensure that there is a process that's thoughtful and reasonable. The moderator may not be the gatekeeper for whether a review gets published, but they might be the ones to monitor the flagged reviews. There are also machine-learning AI that can review the flagged (either automated flags or manually tripped flags) reviews that could get pulled down if it's not meeting the community policy.

Utilizing External Resources

External Review Database Sources

When you're first starting your marketplace there may not be a lot of review data for your items and getting that review data may take months, if not years depending on the market and the scenario. So ultimately, the product reviews and ratings may be something that, at least in the short term, the marketplace team finds beneficial to leverage a third-party in a commoditized extra set of data for product reviews. There many companies that provide product review data for certain SKUs within a very specialized marketplace.

Those reviews are going to be available, so the question to ask as you're evaluating your marketplace platform is does your marketplace software vendor allow you to use any external data. If you need to do that you could marry that external data into the system. Eventually, you will use organic internally generated data as that accumulates over time. If you're looking to generate internal data, which ultimately is probably the highest credibility for your marketplace, how are you going to incentivize and set up logic that encourages buyers to provide a review or rating. Them you would subsequently help manage and follow up with those reviews so that they are high-quality, accurate, and they're verified as well. Giving the seller the opportunity to respond in a reasonable manner that makes it a fair review process.

Empowering Users to Leave Ratings & Reviews

Ratings & Reviews System

So, there's a lot of depth to a review and rating system, generally speaking we recommend that the ratings be on a standardized scale of 1 to 5. Usually it's become most common to have stars and then those stars can be broken into different subcategories if you want even more detail, but as a rule of thumb most sites have a product rating that's based on a scale of essentially 1 to 5 so we would recommend sticking with that. The review content itself would be plain text with the ability to put links in, but occasionally that isn't the best idea with potentially the ability to attach some images that might have to get approved before they actually show on the on the marketplace itself.

Ultimately it is pretty simple to put in logic that if the reviewers post contains links or imagery, it automatically gets sent to a manual moderation process. It's possible to send that to an advocate within the community itself. So, not an employee of the marketplace but someone who is essentially a volunteer who is auditing these reviews who could earn the right to go in and complete and moderate different product reviews and ratings.

This is a system you could start out with, but as the system grows and the infrastructure grows it's certainly a possibility that you might want to have volunteer folks serving as a first line of defense within the application. Similarly, it's possible to set that up as an artificial intelligence type logic machine learning that can essentially form as an initial opinion for moderation.

Building Your Brand Name With Credibility

Reviews Verification Workflows & Practices

Needless to say, there's a lot of depth to this from the product rating perspective and is even more complex on the seller rating side of things. With product rating, we have the ability to pull in external commoditize data for really popular product types. Seller ratings themselves probably won't have that capability, but you can consider that you could pull other external data like Google reviews and Glassdoor reviews. It's possible to aggregate all of those seller reviews and use that data again that's externally available as an intermediate set of data until you get a consistent and credible set of data within the community.

Having a good accurate rating and review for a seller is a key component because a buyer is probably going to be looking to determine how reliable the seller before making a purchase. Here again just like with the products the buyers are not as concerned with looking for perfection, in fact too much perfection has pretty low credibility unless there's some form of verification process. It’s not an expectation that the seller be perfect but that they respond in a professional and reasonable manner to any issues or concerns that the buyer poses.

In addition to that if the system the marketplace itself is going into a private piracy prone area, possibly a country that doesn't necessarily have a legal infrastructure to enforce regulations, then it might be necessary to have a more extensive verification and validation process. This would apply to both the seller and the products themselves. If that's the case, then we would recommend showing a badge with the ability for the buyer to rollover and see that information. Other information you would want to display would be the details of what that verification process means and what it all entails.

In many cases we've seen a lot of depth around the business verification and of the product verification such that it's possible to say that if physical interaction occurred at every one of the sellers claim to locations and there might even be third-party pictures taken of those locations just to make sure that the marketplace itself has a good verifiable non-partisan validation happening of the seller and potentially of the different locations.

Improve Efficiency & Top-Line Revenue

Workflow Automation and Client Satisfaction

So, this can get pretty in-depth and typically we encourage an automated process were possible. We would also suggest that in different environments it might be a necessity to have the flexibility to handle hybrid sets of automated data and manual sets of data and verification processes. The question would be with your future marketplace tenant on how they could handle those types of scenarios elegantly and rather seamlessly

Many times, it works really well to set up transactional emails or individualized emails to the buyers and sellers that automatically go out after a purchase. This would be helpful especially around key interactions for both buyers and sellers so that they can provide reviews back to the system in the marketplace application itself. Then those reviews can get pushed out to social media and other venues for third-party reviews where it makes sense and is ideal to push that data out for public visibility. It would be possible reach out to the buyer or seller in a scenario where there's potentially negative feedback and immediately interact with them around that, attempting to address the issue before it becomes publicly posted.

It may not always be a guarantee that you can intercept the negative reviews, but best practice will dictate that there be some automated transactional interaction with the buyer and seller to attempt to head that off. This lets them know that that the marketplace cares that the vendors and sellers are happy at the end of the day.

How Can Clarity Help

Clarity Marketplace Experts

We encourage you to reach out to us if you'd like to talk about this more and discuss your particular scenario. Many of these common ratings and reviews pieces are pretty commoditized but depending on your market there might be specific needs that you have, and we’d love to discuss this with you and help make suggestions. You're also welcome to review the below guides and we welcome you to dig into some of the more detailed pages that you'll see below.

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