Will customer reviews boost online sales for Albertsons, Safeway and Vons?

Discussion
Source: albertsons.com
Jun 03, 2022

Customers visiting the websites of Albertsons and some of its banner grocers will soon get to see what other customers thought about the products they are browsing.

Albertsons recently announced that it is implementing reviews and ratings online for 11 of its grocery chains in conjunction with review platform PowerReviews, according to a press release. The banners include Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco and Shaw’s.

Brands will also be able to syndicate their own user-generated review content onto the grocer’s websites.

One study says that 83 percent of online grocery shoppers are more likely to purchase a new grocery item if there are reviews for it.

Reviews have become a familiar fixture in online shopping, appearing for all types of products on online marketplaces like Amazon.com and increasingly for online grocery, though not all studies have been so bullish about their value.

Research by PowerReviews finds that online grocery shoppers are most interested in reviews on products in the personal care (79 percent), home care (72 percent), shelf-stable foods (49 percent), frozen foods (41 percent) and soft drink (37 percent) categories. Eighty-one percent of consumers are interested in accessing reviews with their phones while shopping in a supermarket.

“Customer-generated ratings and reviews empower purchase decisions,” Jill Pavlovich, SVP of digital customer experience at Albertsons Cos., said in a statement.

RetailWire visited Walmart.com and found that, while the grocer has customer reviews and ratings for CPG products, it does not have them for fresh produce. A visit to Target.com, on the other hand, found that the website has customer ratings and reviews for all or most products, including produce. And a visit to Aldi.com found that the grocer does not have ratings or reviews for fresh produce or CPG products, although it does have a recommendation engine for other groceries.

The announced introduction of reviews and ratings is not the only new feature Albertsons has added to its online presence. The grocer last year launched a shoppable video feature on its websites, and has also expressed an intent to let customers shop for groceries via livestream.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think product reviews are as important in areas like online grocery as they are in other segments of retail? Will adding product reviews act as a differentiator for Albertsons and its banners’ e-commerce offerings?

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Braintrust
"Reviews are proven conversion boosters in almost every category. Adding them to the online grocery experience is a relatively low-pain way to increase basket sizes."

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13 Comments on "Will customer reviews boost online sales for Albertsons, Safeway and Vons?"


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Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

There is an old adage in retail: customers will believe other customers before they believe you (the store). The power of product reviews is powerful and can certainly serve as a tremendous tool for the retailer. Will it be a differentiator for Albertsons and its banners’ e-commerce offerings? Certainly! Others will see and also join the strategy.

Dave Bruno
BrainTrust

Reviews are proven conversion boosters in almost every category. Adding them to the online grocery experience is a relatively low-pain way to increase basket sizes and to encourage shoppers to try new products. While not necessarily differentiating, I think they can only help.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

Reviews are not as important in grocery as in sectors like home or apparel. Why? Because a lot of grocery is habitual and people buy brands they know so don’t need reviews. On top of this, people are typically buying many items and don’t have the time or inclination to read reviews on every single one. Where reviews are helpful is when people are browsing products that are new to them or where they’re buying something more premium such as luxury chocolates as a gift. All that said, there’s no problem in adding reviews as people can simply ignore them when they’re not relevant.

Christine Russo
BrainTrust

The customer’s POV and voice is baseline now. Will it make a difference? Eh, maybe, but they are behind and catching up to their competitors. True omnichannel consists of incorporating various forms of UGC: reviews, livestreams, shoppable video, stories, recipes and more.

DeAnn Campbell
BrainTrust

Livestream grocery shopping could be a fun reality show – go shopping with your favorite celebrity.

Melissa Minkow
BrainTrust

I see this working well for junk food and exciting release flavors of products since many consumers are influenced by social media reviews of those types of foods. However given how hesitant U.S. shoppers are to having others pick their produce, I don’t see reviews or ratings influencing buying in that space.

DeAnn Campbell
BrainTrust

I agree with you Melissa, although I do see some potential help from reviews that speak to the freshness and quality of the produce.

Mohamed Amer, PhD
BrainTrust

Online reviews can influence the consumer purchase decision through product knowledge, consumer trust, and brand image. While we consider online research and reviews ideal for complex purchase decisions, concerns for a healthy lifestyle also translate to more product and ingredient research and reliance on trustworthy sources. Online reviews are the digital equivalent of the reliable word-of-mouth confirmation consumers seek.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

Online customer reviews are powerful, but I wonder if that power is waning. Like everything else on social media reviews have become a way for the champions (and paid influencers) to praise products beyond credibility and for trolls to find new targets to vent their digital spleens. I’m not sure what, “Brands will also be able to syndicate their own user-generated review content onto the grocer’s websites,” means, but I think it means some folks will be able to buy their way into more positive reviews — sort of a virtual, ideological, critical version of a slotting allowance. So, to directly answer the question, will it be a differentiator? Unlikely and certainly not for long.

georgejward
Guest
23 days 5 hours ago

Hi Ryan. “Brands will also be able to syndicate their own user-generated review content onto the grocer’s websites.” This means that the product reviews that brands collect on their website (Kelloggs.com) will syndicate (appear) on Albertsons.com also.

The “Digital Shelf” (good image, product description, high star rating and # of reviews) = “The Physical Shelf” (eye placement, correct price, number of facings).

Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

All PR is good PR. Any positive reviews can’t hurt. If anything, they provide validation. Word-of-mouth and customer reviews build brand confidence for new customers. Product reviews from the retailer could be helpful for consumers doing a little “research” before trying something new.

Brad Halverson
Guest

Product reviews are valuable if criteria is established, otherwise you’re creating another Yelp general feedback board.

Ask and understand: Does the product taste good? Does it taste better relative to other options? How? Is the price low/high? Is the price relative to the quality in line? Are there better options at other stores? What are those brand names?

Then, for customers to believe they are being listened to, have a posture of being receptive, ready to respond back and show changes from feedback. This is what builds positive CX, loyalty and engagement to a brand.

John Hennessy
BrainTrust

As noted repeatedly and seen in research, shoppers trust reviews. What is more interesting is brands’ and retailers’ use of reviews. Brands can incorporate a retail customer’s reviews into their pitches to expand approved items. Retailers can use reviews in combination with pricing and out-of-stock data to see if highly rated products are being properly stocked and priced. If shoppers give high ratings for a product but a retailer doesn’t have it or the price is too high, then that positive review could be helping a competitor sell more.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Reviews are proven conversion boosters in almost every category. Adding them to the online grocery experience is a relatively low-pain way to increase basket sizes."

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