How Customer Reviews Influence Purchasing Decisions in E-Commerce

Customer Reviews

The growth of e-commerce has been absolutely staggering over the last decade and has become an indispensable element of the global retail industry. E-commerce penetration has been growing steadily and now accounts for more than 21.3% of the total retail sales globally. As this growth in e-commerce penetration continues, NASDAQ predicts that by 2040 almost 95% of the total retail sales will be via the e-commerce channel. This astonishing growth has also created perpetual competition among e-commerce businesses in acquiring and retaining customers. In order to stay successful, it’s critical for e-commerce businesses to solve the never-ending mystery of understanding customer purchase behavior and identifying determinants.

E-commerce customers have become more comfortable in buying products preferred by like-minded consumers in the same demography. This tendency makes customers accustomed to reading online reviews before purchasing from an e-commerce website, this research in some cases extends beyond reviews on the e-commerce platforms to social media posts, blog posts, and news articles. After purchasing, customers also tend to post their own comments and reviews about the products/services online, helping other customers. This makes customer reviews one of the most critical influencing factors to consumer purchase behavior. In this blog post, we shall briefly discuss how customer reviews drive customer’s purchase decisions.

Exciting Customer Review Stats

  1. 91% of customers regularly or occasionally read online reviews.
  2. 84% of customers trust online reviews equivalent to a personal recommendation.
  3. 33% of e-commerce customers choose a product or service based on other customer’s reviews.
  4. Their friend’s social media posts have influenced 81% of customer’s purchase decisions.
  5. 72% of customers don’t take any step towards a purchase until they have read reviews.

How customer reviews matter to a business?

In the current digital world, it’s quintessential for businesses, especially e-commerce businesses, to empower and encourage their customers to write reviews, frequently monitor, review and respond to them. The following key points outline the benefits of online reviews on businesses.

Product Insights: The decision-making process of online shoppers has become extremely complicated. They spend more time evaluating and comparing products before making the final purchase decision. Customer reviews act as a catalyst to this process by helping customers get a better insight into the product and shop at ease.

Online Reputation: With numerous brands offering multiple products in the same category, it’s quite challenging for customers to trust and choose one. Reading positive reviews on the product/service and responses to the negative reviews create an online reputation that makes the customers trust the brand and the product.

Consumer Engagement: Reviews are not just a way for the customers to accumulate information on products or services but also a powerful consumer engagement tool. Customers love their views to be acknowledged and heard by the brands, including responses to their reviews. Apart from thanking customers for positive reviews, following up on the negative reviews and solving the customer’s problem would help the brand go a long way.

Product/Service Feedback: Customer reviews are a great source of product/service feedback. For brands, it helps in identifying customer pain-points and scope for improvements directly from the end-users. Not just the product/service, it also helps in other process-related pitfalls such as checkout, logistics, and delivery that would help in improving the overall customer experience.

SEO and Conversion: It’s quite evident that customer reviews help in improving conversion and customer experience. In addition, reviews have significant SEO benefits. Along with standard product descriptions and product specifications, customer reviews add new user-generated content that helps in improving keyword density and serve to differentiate the product page in the search results.

SetuServ’s Voice of Customer Insight and Signals (VOCIS) platform provides actionable insights on the customers and products derived automatically from customer reviews and social media mentions. VOCIS leverages state-of-the-art natural language processing, text mining, and sentiment analysis algorithms in generating insights that can help e-commerce businesses identify opportunities to drive product/service innovation and sales.

How Pharma Companies Can Benefit From Conference Analytics

Conference Analytics

HCPs desire to keep themselves updated about the latest happenings in their respective therapeutic areas by following KOLs on social media, various journals, blogs, newsletters, etc. One of the key channels which are considered critical by HCPs is attending medical conferences. Medical conferences are not merely a gathering for imparting education but a medium to interact with peers and KOLs, discussing about new drugs, evolving novel, and locally relevant ideas leading to improvement in health-care delivery, and patient outcomes.

According to a survey by Ogilvy Common Health World Wide, most HCPs attend conferences to learn about new clinical information (79%) and keep up with current trends (78%). Thus, reiterating the importance of medical conferences.

Conference Analysis

Most brands use these conferences to present their latest clinical trials and promote their products through promotional booths. Pharma marketing and sales professionals use these booths as a platform for interaction with HCPs and KOLs. They share relevant information in the form of brochures, handouts, and e-mail newsletters. 

Conference Analytics

Many HCPs and KOLs are very active on social media and tend to share their opinions on drugs presented at conferences through these mediums. The gained knowledge during a conference is shared across multiple media sites and journals where they contribute content in the form of subject matter experts. Such data across various channels when collated and analyzed can give amazing insights into what the HCPs and KOLs perceive about various clinical trials presented at the conference. 

With the current COVID-19 pandemic curtailing the ability to freely conduct large gatherings or events, many conferences have shifted to digital gatherings and events. This has significantly increased the online interactions between HCPs and KOLs. Subsequently, KOLs have started disseminating their learnings about clinical trials and new products on their respective social media profiles and other media sites. Aggregating these conversations and analyzing them can give actionable insights.

How does SetuServ’s Pharma Signals Platform help?

SetuServ’s Pharma Signals platform is specifically designed to analyze large amounts of data using contemporary technologies like AI and NLP thus achieving speed, accuracy, and scale. The platform has the ability to aggregate data from various social and media sources, separate noise from insightful signals, extract entities such as study name, disease area, drug and mechanism of action, and mine insights of interest.  The derived insights are used by various teams in different ways to provide insights on KOL, PCP, and patient conversations. 

Competitive intelligence teams can use these insights to understand various aspects, vis-à-vis competitors while the medical reps can use the platform to collate rich quality content which enables quality interaction with HCPs or KOLs.

To illustrate the richness of the opinions expressed at conferences, we extracted 5 insightful KOL tweets from the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) conference. The output is shared below

HCP Tweets From Conference

The output represents the quality of KOL opinions. Identifying and mining such insights provide actionable intelligence to pharma companies, especially on competitors’ drug pipelines. 

SetuServ’s PharmaSignals platform helps pharma companies in extracting actionable insights by leveraging state-of-the-art text mining algorithms and industry-specific workflows, data pipelines, and AI modules linked to the specific organization’s KPIs and goals


Understanding Customer Perception on Vitamins, Minerals and Supplement Products – A Voice of Customer Study

Vitamins Competitor Insights

The constant shift in consumer needs is one of the pivotal factors that drive the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry. Most notable are the constantly changing health trends and vastly available information on health and nutrition that are majorly influencing the types of products consumers are using to maintain their health. Additionally, the increase in health concerns due to changing lifestyles and dietary habits has led to the evolution of one of the fastest-growing CPG categories, VMS. Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements (VMS) come in the form of tablets, powders, or liquids that deliver vital nutrients to the body and preserve or boost an individual’s health. The products under the VMS category are typically available Over the Counter (OTC), where one doesn’t need a prescription to buy them.

Vitamins, Minerals, and Supplements (VMS) – Market Overview

Growing inclination towards preventive healthcare remains the key driver for over-the-counter VMSs. In addition, the increasing aging population, sedentary lifestyle changes, and emerging trends of self-directed nutrition tend to be the additional factors driving the growth of global VMS. A recent report by Grand View Research highlights that the global VMS market size was approximately $123.28 billion in 2019 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 8.2% between 2020 and 2027.

The use of VMS skyrocketed during the recent unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic as VMS emerged as a preventive measure and have been used by many to build immunity and to maintain health. To substantiate the same, a recent Civic Analytics Consumer Survey has shown that there is a 10% -15% surge in spends on VMS globally since the pandemic began. Another critical factor that is contributing to the increase in consumption of VMS is the growing e-commerce revolution. Even before the current COVID-19 situation, VMS sales through online channels had been growing at double-digit rates since 2015, which makes e-commerce portals one of the preferred modes of purchase.

Vitamins, minerals and supplements sales in US


Consumer Reviews and VMS: Our Methodology

Understanding customer sentiments towards a product is of paramount importance in businesses today. As E-Commerce platforms are one of the most preferred ways to shop VMS, we recognize the importance of customer reviews in gaining insights on customers’ likes, dislikes, and needs on VMS products. In this study, we mined 105K+ reviews from Further, the unstructured and textual review data was then processed by Text Mining and Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms in performing multi-dimensional sentiment analysis. This process uses AI models that are custom trained for the specific use cases with industry-specific taxonomies and hierarchies evolved from raw data. The AI models help in surfacing accurate insights from customer reviews at scale.

Data Mining Pipeline

Consumer Insights & Analysis

The following are the insights automatically derived by the Voice of Consumer Insights and Signals (VOCIS) platform by aggregating more than 105K customer reviews for the products under the “Vitamins and Dietary Supplements” category from

Brand Insights

This analysis focuses on providing insights into the brand perception of the customers. With the use of sentiment analysis, we can compare the perception of a brand with that of the leading competitors and use the same to create a data-driven brand strategy.

Vitamin Brands Comparison

Though the customer ratings (4.77) are marginally lower compared to its close competitors such as Dacha and Wellabs, Sports Research emerged as the most popular and preferred brand with the highest Share of Voice (SoV) of 16%.

Product Level Insights

With sentiment analysis, it is possible to compare key product characteristics to find features that resonate positively with the audience and the ones that don’t. These insights help brands in understanding key need gaps and allow for product optimization in appealing to a broader consumer segment.

Vitamins Areas Of Concern

Out of the customer reviews analyzed, the above topics evolved as the key areas the customers expect all the brands to improve on. For example, taste emerged as the key influencer on overall ratings with a 0.12 impact in rating, the general performance of the VMS turns out to be the most discussed factor at 16% mentions.

Competitor Insights

Competitor Benchmarking is quintessential as it helps in developing a deep understanding of the market ecosystem and builds a picture of gaps to be fixed and opportunities to leverage. It also helps in streamlining the product and marketing efforts by emulating your competitor’s success elements such as price and key product features.

Vitamins Competitor Insights

The above graph highlights areas of strength and areas for improvement for the brand Sports Research and the competition. Topics such as taste, packaging, and addressing them through targeted marketing communications will help in improving the impact on customer preference towards the brand. Likewise, when it comes to VMS, side-effects such as headaches, allergic reactions, and itching can have a negative impact on product sales.

SetuServ’s Voice of Consumer Insights and Signals (VOCIS) helps businesses in extracting valuable insights from customer reviews and conversations online, such as E-Commerce platforms. VOCIS is highly capable of rapidly building custom models specific to the use cases to render highly accurate and relevant insights linked to the organization’s KPI and goals.

How Financial Services Companies Can Improve Their App Performance by Mining App Reviews – A Voice of Customer Study

Amex app competitive benchmarking

The Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI) industry across the world has made significant efforts in navigating digital disruption and increasing mobility in the past decade. From being a cost center, digital banking channels have now evolved as revenue generators and cost savers by reducing the enormous operational costs of running brick and mortar branches. With the increase in smartphone and mobile internet penetration, technology has enabled customers to transact on the go. The convenience of swiftly making financial transactions anytime and anywhere with a few clicks has made mobile banking the most preferred banking channel among retail banking customers. Additionally, the power of mobile banking has paved the way for the digital-only challenger and neo banks, and the features offered on mobile banking apps have become key decision factors for customers selecting a bank.


Mobile Money – Market Overview

Mobile banking is already a pervasive trend. According to a recent study by Juniper Research, the total value of financial transactions via mobile devices would exceed $1 trillion by 2024 from $580 billion in 2019. It also predicts that nearly 3 billion people, roughly half the world population, would be transacting via mobile by 2021. This massive growth is fuelled predominantly by the increase in mobile and data penetration in the emerging markets, tech-savvy millennials, and digitally native Gen-Z.

Mobile Banking Competitive Intelligence

Speeding up this growth of mobile banking is the recent COVID-19 situation. The lockdown measures have encouraged consumers to bank from home and have contributed to significant growth in mobile banking adoption globally. Recent research by PYMNTS has highlighted that 8.7% of customers are more likely to use mobile banking apps than they were before the pandemic outbreak.

Our Methodology

Financial Institutions hold petabytes of structured and unstructured data that can be leveraged to anticipate customer behaviors and create strategies. However, the regulatory bodies are becoming particularly strict about how the data gets managed and shared. These restrictions make it difficult for the efficient 3rd party analytics team to access the data to generate key decision-making insights, and they have to rely on publicly available data.

User reviews in open app distribution services such as Google Play Store and Apple App Store are critical in understanding the elements of customer experience. These app markets allow users to submit feedback for downloaded apps in the form of star ratings and text reviews. Mining and processing these text reviews will help in getting deep insights into elements of customer experience on the app.

In our VOCIS solution, thousands of reviews are mined based on the app category from the Play Store and App Store as the primary data source. Additionally, textual data from secondary sources such as blogs and review forums were also extracted for better insights. Further, the unstructured and textual review data is processed by Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms in performing multi-dimensional sentiment analysis to understand the user perception towards the app against a variety of critical factors. The insights from sentiment analysis guide the product team in optimizing the app.

Data Mining Pipeline

Analysis Insights

The following are three key areas the insights derive via the Voice of Consumer Insights and Signals (VOCIS) module through aggregating thousands of customer reviews for the apps under the “Finance” category in Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Brand Insights

This analysis focuses on providing insights into the brand perception of the customers. With the use of sentiment analysis, it is possible to identify the most preferred brand and compare the perception of the brand with that of the leading competitors and use the same to create a data-driven brand strategy.

Amex app comparision

While Chase emerged as the most preferred banking app with a higher rating (4.8) and Share of Voice (33.5%). American Express can now drill down to assess areas for improvement and specifically target these areas as part of their overall strategy.

Product Level Insights

With sentiment analysis, it is possible to compare key product characteristics of similar apps to find features that resonate positively with the audience and the ones that identify areas for improvement. These feature insights guide banks in understanding the key gaps and how to modify the apps to appeal better to their customers.

Analysis of AMEX Ratings

Based on the reviews analyzed, it is evident that the features that Amex should focus on to improve the rating and customer experience are “ improvement in payments and notification”.

Competitor Insights

Competitor Benchmarking is quintessential as it helps in developing a deep understanding of the competitor apps and builds a picture of gaps to be addressed and opportunities to leverage. It also helps in streamlining and prioritizing the product development efforts by emulating your competitor’s winning app features.

Amex app competitive benchmarking

While Amex is leading in the logon by fingerprint sensor theme with .22 vs. competition at -0.4, many people value this feature (ie. big bubble), and improving on this feature would significantly increase AMEX position overall.

SetuServ’s VOCIS platform augments consumer insights by extracting valuable insights from customer reviews in the app distribution platforms, such as Google Play Store and Apple App Store. VOCIS is highly capable of rapidly building custom models specific to use cases to generate highly accurate and relevant product insights for a better customer experience.