Customer reviews matter for brands selling online. Studies have shown an increase of 161% in conversion rates when adding user generated product reviews.

Amazon of course has become the gold standard for high quality user generated reviews. Unfortunately for brands in Southeast Asia, getting customers to leave reviews is hard. Users don’t proactively write reviews and when they do, the content is short and not very helpful.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the brands that are doing well in terms of ratings and reviews on Lazada Thailand and identify some ways for other brands to get more quality reviews.

How do Ratings & Product Reviews help brands?

Ratings and product reviews help brands increase sales on marketplaces in three ways:

  1. Getting more traffic

Products reviews are basically user generated content on a brand’s product detail page. This content helps increase the ranking of that particular page on Google, therefore driving more offsite SEO traffic, leading to more sales.

In addition, higher ratings and more content also help the brand rank higher in terms of onsite search, i.e. users searching while on Lazada or Shopee.

  1. Increasing conversion rates

High ratings and positive, holistic user reviews also help increase conversion rates from the brand’s product detail page into checkout. Based on ecommerceIQ research, social proof or friend and family recommendations is a top 3 customer acquisition channel for marketplaces like Lazada and Shopee, demonstrating how important reviews are for conversions.

  1. Improve and defend brand equity

Marketplaces attract grey sellers. Genuine reviews from real users help distinguish your products from those of grey sellers or knock-off products.

Findings from our study

For our research, we looked at how the top brands that have an official shop-in-shop presence on Lazada Thailand perform in terms of ratings and reviews.

Specifically, we looked at and compared the below metrics. (Please note that you’ll be able to download the full data set with all these metrics by brand at the very end of this article. Click here to go there right now.) Please keep in mind that the ratings and reviews data was collected separately over a short period of time so minor discrepancies are to be expected.

  • Quantity:
    • Number of ratings
    • Number of reviews
    • Number of SKUs with at least one rating
    • Number of SKUs with at least one review
  • Quality:
    • % of SKUs with at least one rating
    • % of SKUs with at least one review
    • Number of ratings with at least 3 stars
    • Average rating
    • Average length of reviews (character count)

Based on the above metrics, we identified the following patterns and findings:

  • Top 18 official shop-in-shops are responsible for 80% of all the ratings (out of 161 official shop-in-shops tracked in this experiment)
  • Top 22 official shop-in-shops are responsible for 80% of all the reviews (out of 161 official shop-in-shops tracked in this experiment)
  • Average length of a review is 83 characters
    • This is how 83 characters looks like (short right?):

      “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula ege”

  • The top 3 categories with the most reviews are:
    • Health & Beauty (33,002 reviews, 46% of total)
    • Mother & Baby (23,970 reviews, 34% of total)
    • Bags & Travel (3,165 reviews, 4% of total)
  • The top 3 categories with the longest reviews are:
    • Health & Beauty (avg. 98 characters)
    • TV, Audio / Video, Gaming & Wearables (avg. 81 characters)
    • Mobiles & Tablets (avg. 76 characters)
  • The top 3 categories with the least reviews are:
    • Pet Supplies (7 reviews)
    • Sports & Outdoors (8 reviews)
    • Laundry & Cleaning (107 reviews)
  • The top 3 categories with the shortest reviews are:
    • Tools, DIY & Outdoor (avg. 37 characters)
    • Groceries (avg. 38 characters)
    • Cameras (avg. 45 characters)

Full table of data (best viewed on desktop or tablet)

Want do download the full Excel spreadsheet? Sign up here with your email and receive a download link.

Key Metrics By Category:

CategoryNumber of SKUsNumber of RatingsAvg. RatingNumber of ReviewsAvg. Length of Review (Character Count)Number of SKUs with at least one ratingNumber of SKUs with at least one reviewRatings per SKUReviews per SKURating Penetration (% of SKUs with at least one rating)Reviews Penetration (% of SKUs with at least one review)
Health & Beauty2,93871,5204.3933,002982,0061,929361768%66%
Mother & Baby96250,4764.3823,97074693688733572%72%
Bags and Travel1,2876,1853.963,165607827388461%57%
Home Appliances7075,3774.222,6076942140213660%57%
Fashion1,4833,9314.371,761505835647339%38%
Computers & Laptops5481,2694.121,5516310099131618%18%
Mobiles & Tablets361,2393.972,300762626488872%72%
Groceries1061,2184.4644138565022953%47%
Furniture & Décor8751,0674.09795542912794333%32%
Cameras357014.49309452727261177%77%
Toys & Games8015544.46253531531284219%16%
Laundry & Cleaning1404664.521075860478243%34%
TV, Audio / Video, Gaming & Wearables933724.1444581464681049%49%
Watches Sunglasses Jewellery6872353.863137493923314%13%
Bedding & Bath6551973.592105666593410%9%
Motors681784.501425945454366%66%
Tools, DIY & Outdoor33814.6612337333124100%94%
Pet Supplies74324.4875555617%7%
Sports & Outdoors5674.17854661111%11%

Key Metrics By Brand:

BrandNumber of SKUsNumber of RatingsAvg. RatingNumber of ReviewsAvg. Length of Review (Character Count)Number of SKUs with at least one ratingNumber of SKUs with at least one reviewRatings per SKUReviews per SKURating Penetration (% of SKUs with at least one rating)Review Penetration (% of SKUs with at least one review)
L'Oreal Paris (Thailand)79821,4834.388,67481597570361675%71%
BabyLove (Thailand)12915,2754.405,898471041041475781%81%
Maybelline (Thailand)46412,3174.204,62649342313371574%67%
MamyPoko (Thailand)18511,1694.533,93349160160702586%86%
Garnier (Thailand)1909,3714.443,95387126125753266%66%
FOREMOST (Thailand)216,7504.162,25650202033811395%95%
Huggies (Thailand)1776,4084.626,408138102102636358%58%
Tesco Lotus (Thailand)9965,5943.962,812587186818572%68%
Vaseline (Thailand)1184,9334.464,0741946868736058%58%
La Roche Posay (Thailand)954,5904.632,255888383562887%87%
Durex (Thailand)934,0864.601,117406262661967%67%
Enfagrow (Thailand)643,6564.261,651545049743478%77%
Dove (Thailand)1223,3324.502,5631917676443462%62%
S-26 (Thailand)812,9984.131,385597269422189%85%
Sabina (Thailand)9392,3964.39988482942949431%31%
Yves Rocher (Thailand)3652,1454.427565820920411457%56%
Tefal (Thailand)2561,9484.249017215414213760%55%
Nivea (Thailand)2351,8574.238735710910718946%46%
Dumex (Thailand)1561,7333.761,334589696191462%62%
Lesasha (Thailand)861,6464.04889647575221287%87%
Tresemme (Thailand)701,4594.45703844236352060%51%
Black & Decker (Thailand)691,4594.24705796665231196%94%
Kira Kira (Thailand)191,3604.325146219197228100%100%
Vichy (Thailand)521,2664.59949704949262094%94%
Dettol (Thailand)341,0524.44379382725391679%74%
Citra (Thailand)389654.376821841918513850%47%
3M (Thailand)3029124.26330521471427349%47%
AJ (Thailand)698254.11576614040211558%58%
Nubia (Thailand)158103.981,33010312126811180%80%
Wacoal (Thailand)1547354.403374592928460%60%
Asus (Thailand)1947314.161,243584949152625%25%
Eneloop (Thailand)246524.52295452121321588%88%
Sunsilk (Thailand)656284.2831640424215865%65%
Levi's (Thailand)2616054.27303611361175352%45%
Ensure (Thailand)405914.5420257313120778%78%
Lego (Thailand)7545394.47248541481234320%16%
Pampers (Thailand)165104.842738720202614125%125%
Inter Steel (Thailand)4784844.14310541641593234%33%
3M Scotch-Brite (Thailand)1404664.521075860478343%34%
Vivo (Thailand)144143.95785421212356686%86%
JBL (Thailand)643674.1344282454591070%70%
Huawei (Thailand)43674.132027418172112450%425%
Merries (Thailand)93194.781175788401589%89%
RF Furniture (Thailand)642914.572683337378858%58%
Physiogel (Thailand)452634.64765734288376%62%
Curel (Thailand)282354.739867202012571%71%
Kuron (Thailand)242294.4311464151516863%63%
Xiaomi (Thailand)52224.3699931211199240%220%
Ray-Ban (Thailand)2542203.902997685853433%33%
3M Filtrete (Thailand)72204.197582773211100%100%
Samsonite (Thailand)422003.9716274191911945%45%
His & Her Shopsmart (Thailand)2251663.81886030246413%11%
HP (Thailand)3081583.9781772424748%8%
ADHOME (Thailand)1771513.54988349434328%24%
Enfa (Thailand)351373.72674318178451%49%
Pediasure (Thailand)601354.681035921217535%35%
3M Scotch (Thailand)601304.49675633334355%55%
Nescafe Dolce Gusto (Thailand)181284.61444016148489%78%
EMJOI (Thailand)101244.50827777181270%70%
G2000 (Thailand)991144.13765546463246%46%
Index Living Mall (Thailand)61003.9413359771519117%117%
Platong Furniture (Thailand)116993.18779334333329%28%
Era-won (Thailand)30814.77575915156450%50%
PR Shop (Thailand)637803.0760615447228%7%
PXTools (Thailand)6534.698137181835300%300%
Panasonic (Thailand)9494.141448669367%67%
Fit Auto (Thailand)8484.557561121247150%150%
Purina One (Thailand)3294.7456233102100%100%
DG (Thailand)10264.2431413391130%30%
Energizer (Thailand)26264.76156213112250%42%
U-RO Decor (Thailand)8194.4032673371138%38%
Finish (Thailand)8194.65651445250%50%
3M Command (Thailand)12174.001730554442%42%
Eastern Trade Commercial (Thailand)3173.998713363100%100%
Fisher Price (Thailand)47154.56557553111%11%
Samsung (Thailand)7154.20185332289329%29%
Lenovo (Thailand)21134.1125175992343%43%
LG (Thailand)2114.2671445432250%200%
Essence (Thailand)37104.93523752119%14%
Oakley (Thailand)8593.57105833344%4%
Vanish (Thailand)994.90774225422%22%
3M Post-it (Thailand)5674.17854662211%11%
Koncept (Thailand)2964.8021211623%3%
Bose (Thailand)2954.8036711533%3%
Vogue (Thailand)27842.6723732211%1%
Royal Canin (Thailand)7132.0024022213%3%
Big Home Furniture (Thailand)1934.00430331216%16%
Dyson (Thailand)225.0013752217100%100%
Safetydoor (Thailand)123.00272522114200%200%
Diesel (Thailand)4911.0014411112%2%
Timberland (Thailand)2115.0012711115%5%
Ricoh (Thailand)500000%0%
Microsoft (Thailand)1600000%0%
Unbranded/Generic (Thailand)200000%0%

Full Raw Data:

CategoryBrandNumber of ratingsAvg. ratingNumber of reviewsAvg. length of review (character count)Number of SKUsSKUs with at least one ratingSKUs with at least one review
Furniture & DécorADHOME (Thailand)33.301949311
Bedding & BathPR Shop (Thailand)11.001645211
Computers & LaptopsLenovo (Thailand)54.1513204822
Health & BeautyVaseline (Thailand) 4,9334.46 4,0741941186868
Health & BeautyDove (Thailand) 3,3324.50 2,5631911227676
Health & BeautyCitra (Thailand)9654.37682184381918
Home AppliancesLG (Thailand)64.275178133
Computers & LaptopsLenovo (Thailand)84.08121431377
Bedding & BathPR Shop (Thailand)13.0021421711
Mother & BabyHuggies (Thailand) 6,4084.62 6,408138177102102
Bedding & BathPR Shop (Thailand)15.0011203511
Home Appliances3M (Thailand)44.752105522
Mobiles & TabletsNubia (Thailand)7534.03 1,3211041299
Bags and TravelTesco Lotus (Thailand)5113.843049815655
Furniture & DécorEastern Trade Commercial (Thailand)73.40496111
Bags and TravelXiaomi (Thailand)2034.329496398
Furniture & DécorPlatong Furniture (Thailand)993.1877931163433
Home AppliancesBlack & Decker (Thailand)3924.221629171817
Health & BeautyLa Roche Posay (Thailand) 4,5904.63 2,25588958383
Health & BeautyGarnier (Thailand) 9,3714.44 3,95387190126125
Mother & BabyPampers (Thailand)5104.8427387162020
Health & BeautyTresemme (Thailand) 1,4594.4570384704236
Furniture & DécorEastern Trade Commercial (Thailand)-0.001831--
Home Appliances3M (Thailand)63.50283422
Computers & LaptopsHuawei (Thailand)353.622183276
Home Appliances3M Filtrete (Thailand)2204.197582777
TV, Audio / Video, Gaming & WearablesJBL (Thailand)3674.1344282644545
Health & BeautyL'Oreal Paris (Thailand) 21,4834.38 8,67481798597570
Computers & LaptopsHP (Thailand)1583.9781773082424
Health & BeautyEMJOI (Thailand)1244.5082771077
Bags and TravelTesco Lotus (Thailand)544.002876151311
Home AppliancesBlack & Decker (Thailand) 1,0674.2554376624848
Watches Sunglasses JewelleryRay-Ban (Thailand)2203.90299762548585
Home AppliancesTefal (Thailand)6974.17315751146862
Home AppliancesDyson (Thailand)25.001375222
Furniture & DécorADHOME (Thailand)1483.5497751744842
GroceriesVanish (Thailand)94.90774922
Bags and TravelSamsonite (Thailand)2003.9716274421919
Computers & LaptopsHuawei (Thailand)3324.191817321111
Bags and TravelTesco Lotus (Thailand)2163.5812573182323
Bags and TravelTesco Lotus (Thailand)893.706172553333
Health & BeautyVichy (Thailand) 1,2664.5994970524949
Home AppliancesTefal (Thailand) 1,2514.29586701428680
TV, Audio / Video, Gaming & WearablesBose (Thailand)54.803672911
Furniture & DécorU-RO Decor (Thailand)194.403267833
Health & BeautyCurel (Thailand)2354.739867282020
Bedding & BathPR Shop (Thailand)63.132657642
Home Appliances3M (Thailand)1314.2049651244
Bags and TravelHis & Her Shopsmart (Thailand)854.045064791311
Health & BeautyLesasha (Thailand) 1,6464.0488964867575
Health & BeautyKuron (Thailand)2294.4311464241515
Furniture & DécorInter Steel (Thailand)413.93963876
Home AppliancesAJ (Thailand)3294.0727763221111
Computers & LaptopsAsus (Thailand)3234.5374662472929
Mother & BabyKira Kira (Thailand) 1,3604.3251462191919
Pet SuppliesPurina One (Thailand)294.74562333
Tools, DIY & OutdoorEnergizer (Thailand)264.761562261311
Bedding & BathPR Shop (Thailand)21.0026211322
Bags and TravelXiaomi (Thailand)15.00161111
MotorsFit Auto (Thailand)484.55756181212
Bedding & BathIndex Living Mall (Thailand)744.4511561344
FashionLevi's (Thailand)6054.2730361261136117
Motors3M Scotch (Thailand)884.484661362121
Bags and TravelHis & Her Shopsmart (Thailand)213.973603563
Home AppliancesLG (Thailand)54.25260121
Bags and TravelTesco Lotus (Thailand)723.992960181713
Bags and TravelTesco Lotus (Thailand) 1,4933.8975159211138134
FashionEra-won (Thailand)814.775759301515
Mother & BabyS-26 (Thailand) 2,9984.13 1,38559817269
Home AppliancesAJ (Thailand)4964.1429959472929
Mother & BabyPediasure (Thailand)1354.6810359602121
Laundry & Cleaning3M Scotch-Brite (Thailand)4664.52107581406047
Watches Sunglasses JewelleryOakley (Thailand)93.5710588533
Health & BeautyYves Rocher (Thailand) 2,1454.4275658365209204
Mother & BabyDumex (Thailand) 1,7333.76 1,334581569696
Toys & GamesFisher Price (Thailand)154.565574755
GroceriesDettol (Thailand)24.50157521
Health & BeautyEnsure (Thailand)5914.5420257403131
Health & BeautyNivea (Thailand) 1,8574.2387357235109107
Bags and TravelTesco Lotus (Thailand)184.3312574388
Mother & BabyMerries (Thailand)3194.7811757988
Motors3M Scotch (Thailand)334.551257221010
Health & BeautyPhysiogel (Thailand)2634.647657453428
Bags and TravelTesco Lotus (Thailand)63.40556654
Bags and TravelHis & Her Shopsmart (Thailand)154.0013563244
FashionG2000 (Thailand)1144.137655994646
Bags and TravelTesco Lotus (Thailand)593.833755231714
Bags and TravelTesco Lotus (Thailand)5754.0928755926363
Stationery & Craft3M Post-it (Thailand)74.178545666
Toys & GamesLego (Thailand)5394.4724854754148123
Mother & BabyEnfagrow (Thailand) 3,6564.26 1,65154645049
Furniture & DécorInter Steel (Thailand)4414.1629953465156152
Bags and TravelHis & Her Shopsmart (Thailand)393.1018531633
Mobiles & TabletsNubia (Thailand)573.30953333
Bags and TravelTesco Lotus (Thailand)1654.3910552292423
Bags and TravelHis & Her Shopsmart (Thailand)23.502521211
Computers & LaptopsAsus (Thailand)4083.86497521472020
Home Appliances3M (Thailand)1574.347652804340
GroceriesFinish (Thailand)194.65651844
Bags and TravelTesco Lotus (Thailand)5723.72271511729289
Bags and TravelXiaomi (Thailand)184.80451122
Furniture & DécorInter Steel (Thailand)24.50250411
Mother & BabyFOREMOST (Thailand) 6,7504.16 2,25650212020
Bedding & BathPR Shop (Thailand)543.2842503173431
Home Appliances3M (Thailand)224.371449766
Mother & BabyMamyPoko (Thailand) 11,1694.53 3,93349185160160
Health & BeautyMaybelline (Thailand) 12,3174.20 4,62649464342313
FashionSabina (Thailand) 2,3964.3998848939294294
CamerasPanasonic (Thailand)494.141448966
Home Appliances3M (Thailand)5924.26187481949088
Bags and TravelTesco Lotus (Thailand)6584.0826047634239
Mother & BabyBabyLove (Thailand) 15,2754.40 5,89847129104104
CamerasEneloop (Thailand)6524.5229545242121
FashionWacoal (Thailand)7354.40337451549292
Watches Sunglasses JewelleryDiesel (Thailand)11.001444911
Bedding & BathIndex Living Mall (Thailand)212.101244222
Bags and TravelTesco Lotus (Thailand)4224.1921944796764
Mother & BabyEnfa (Thailand)1373.726743351817
Mobiles & TabletsVivo (Thailand)4143.9578542141212
Bags and TravelTesco Lotus (Thailand)2563.97128411177366
Mother & BabyDG (Thailand)264.2431411033
Bags and TravelTesco Lotus (Thailand)944.2449403599
GroceriesNescafe Dolce Gusto (Thailand)1284.614440181614
Health & BeautySunsilk (Thailand)6284.2831640654242
Pet SuppliesRoyal Canin (Thailand)32.002407122
Health & BeautyDurex (Thailand) 4,0864.60 1,11740936262
Bags and TravelTesco Lotus (Thailand)174.1515381466
Bags and TravelTesco Lotus (Thailand)3174.121263853227
GroceriesDettol (Thailand) 1,0504.4437838292524
Watches Sunglasses JewelleryVogue (Thailand)42.6723727832
Tools, DIY & OutdoorPXTools (Thailand)534.69813761818
Bedding & BathIndex Living Mall (Thailand)54.00635111
Motors3M Scotch (Thailand)94.35934222
Bags and TravelBig Home Furniture (Thailand)24.003341722
Furniture & DécorRF Furniture (Thailand)2714.6025234623535
Furniture & DécorEastern Trade Commercial (Thailand)104.40333122
Bedding & BathPR Shop (Thailand)22.00133421
Mobiles & TabletsSamsung (Thailand)154.2018533722
Bags and TravelHis & Her Shopsmart (Thailand)25.001322211
Bedding & Bath3M Command (Thailand)154.1314321044
Bedding & Bath3M Command (Thailand)-0.002301--
Bags and TravelHis & Her Shopsmart (Thailand)23.501281521
Bedding & BathPR Shop (Thailand)102.556282276
Watches Sunglasses JewelleryTimberland (Thailand)15.001272111
Furniture & DécorRF Furniture (Thailand)204.151625222
Tools, DIY & OutdoorSafetydoor (Thailand)23.002725122
GroceriesEssence (Thailand)104.935233775
Bags and TravelBig Home Furniture (Thailand)14.00118111
Bedding & BathPR Shop (Thailand)23.002184711
Bedding & Bath3M Command (Thailand)23.00116111
Furniture & DécorKoncept (Thailand)64.802122911
Bedding & BathPR Shop (Thailand)13.0014411
Bags and TravelHis & Her Shopsmart (Thailand)-0.00--3--
Bags and TravelBig Home Furniture (Thailand)-0.00--1--
CamerasUnbranded/Generic (Thailand)-0.00--1--
Computers & LaptopsRicoh (Thailand)-0.00--5--
Computers & LaptopsMicrosoft (Thailand)-0.00--16--
Bags and TravelHis & Her Shopsmart (Thailand)-0.00--10--
CamerasUnbranded/Generic (Thailand)-0.00--1--
Furniture & DécorInter Steel (Thailand)-0.00--1--
Bags and TravelHis & Her Shopsmart (Thailand)-0.00--1--

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Brands in Southeast Asia are choosing leading marketplaces like Lazada and Shopee when trialing ecommerce, but most are still unaware of the intricacies of online channels. 

An often overlooked aspect to opening an official Shop-in-Shop (SiS) is the impact of customer reviews. Traditionally, brands have leveraged sources like Nielsen or focus groups to understand consumer behavior but one of the key advantages of an ecommerce store is the ability to analyze consumer sentiment right when it happens.

How much do product reviews really matter?

A 2017 survey by Podium shows that 93% of shoppers find reviews influential when buying online. 88% of consumers trust product reviews as much as a personal recommendation, and 72% say a positive review makes them trust an online business more.

An analysis of 57 million reviews and 35 billion product pages by the Buzzplant network found that increasing the volume of reviews has a tangible effect on your conversion, SEO, and product development.

“Any business owner knows that your most authentic and impactful advocate is a happy customer, and technology has made every customer’s voice extremely powerful,” says Eric Rea, CEO of Podium.

Source: Buzzplant

Impact on SEO

The volume and recurrence of product reviews has a direct correlation to search engine SEO. Moz found in 2017 that “Review Signals” affect up to 13% of how search engines rank results.

The factors that influence SEO include review quantity, review velocity, and review diversity.

In 2013, Google implemented the Hummingbird update, the most significant change to its search engine algorithm since 2001. The new code has far greater affinity for natural language processing and user intent as opposed to the earlier practice of ranking for keyword stuffing.

With Hummingbird, we can assume that product reviews that naturally feature conversational language are given higher search priority.  

Lazada incorporates quantity of reviews and average ratings directly into its Google schema markup. In layman’s terms, this means that consumers in Southeast Asia searching for products on Google will see product ratings and reviews directly in the results.

Lazada SKUs highlight average ratings and number of reviews directly in search results

The More “Helpful” the Review, the Higher the Ranking

We’ve demonstrated the tangible effect of product reviews on conversion and visibility but how many products do consumers read before purchasing?

According to a 2017 study by BrightLocal, 67% of customers read 4+ reviews, and 33% read 11+. Naturally, they’ll read the reviews that appear first on the product page – similar to how the first page of SEO results are the most lucrative.

How does Lazada sort reviews?

The first bifurcation Lazada applies is by splitting reviews into two categories: “Verified” and “Unverified”.

“Verified” reviews are those made by customers who have purchased the product in question and leave a review using the same account. “Unverified” reviews can be made by any visitor to the product page. The “Verified” reviews rank at the top, followed by the “Unverified” reviews.

Visitors to product pages can further “like” a product review by deeming it “helpful”. The most “helpful” reviews will rank at the top, meaning visitors to product pages are more likely to interact with “verified” and “helpful” reviews first.

Data analytics platform BrandIQ delved into the trend between review “helpfulness” and its star rating. By analyzing over 715,000 reviews across four Lazada country sites (ID, TH, PH, SG), it determined that, on average, lower ratings are deemed more “helpful” than higher ratings.

This inverse relationship is a critical reason for brands to pay close attention to its product reviews. Customers are far more likely to be reading negative reviews as their first 4+ rather than positive ones due to Lazada’s ranking algorithm.

What’s the possible recourse for brands?

After speaking with a Lazada support representative, there appears to be two underlying factors that cause the marketplace to take action on product reviews: the use of vulgar language or reviews that have no relevance to the product.

The first factor can be tackled relatively easily. Lazada itself has a quality assurance process to check each product review before it’s uploaded to the product page. However, the astronomical growth of reviews has made it inevitable for some to fall through the cracks. The week of 12-12 in 2017 garnered just over 34,000 product reviews alone.

The second factor is more complicated as they are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Lazada’s technical team will entertain petitions to remove reviews that aren’t related to the product such as issues with delivery that stem from problems with the brand’s third party logistics partner.

To incentivize better service and product quality, Lazada provides a framework to incorporate product reviews into a store’s Seller Rating. This metric looks at the percentage of positive (4 or 5 stars) reviews compared to total reviews.

Lazada advertises Seller Rewards as a gift for high Seller Ratings: such brands will enjoy greater visibility of products in search as well as access to its promotional campaigns.

Lazada’s Seller Performance Metrics

What does this mean?

In essence, product reviews have multiple dimensions and a plethora of use cases. Not only are they taken into account by channels that drive traffic to your SiS, they can make or break a product’s conversion and directly affect your brand’s perceived trust.

Some brands are also leveraging reviews for digital marketing campaigns by incorporating them directly into the ad copy.

Different use cases for product reviews are emerging in digital marketing

Reviews are an under-utilised resource in Southeast Asia, but this might be on the cusp of changing. You could always hope a gem of a review goes viral, like this one:

One of the most attractive points of listing your brand’s products on Lazada is the ability to take part in its multitude of campaigns, accessed by thousands of customers.

Such campaigns aren’t limited in size and scope: they range from huge events like its heavily marketed Online Festival, which include 11.11 and 12.12, to smaller weekly campaigns such as the current ‘Fall In Love’ event for Valentines Day.

Not only does Southeast Asia’s largest ecommerce platform promote campaigns via large banner adverts on its main landing page, it drives traffic via paid acquisition channels and email marketing.

BrandIQ

Valentine’s Day campaigns this week include ‘Valentine Day Sale’ with Unilever in Indonesia, ‘Lazada Delivers Love’ in Philippines, and ‘Fall In Love’ in Thailand

For brands, such visibility is critical; Southeast Asian consumers increasingly use online marketplaces to begin their product journey, bypassing even search engines.

ecommerceIQ

A study by ecommerceIQ found that 57% of Indonesians start their product search on marketplaces.

Lazada promises significant internet traffic during its biggest campaigns – the 11.11 sales event attracted 10 million site visits in the first 24 hours and garnered 10 times the sales volume when compared to non campaign days.

While traffic is definitely attractive to brands, an analysis of campaign promotions by data analytics platform BrandIQ found that companies have limited control over the visibility of their products during such events.

Provided brand managers meet Lazada’s conditions of discount percentage and relevant categories, they can pitch as many SKUs as they like for campaigns such as ‘Flash Sales’ and ‘Daily Deals’. However, this only accounts for a small percentage of the ‘shelf space’ available on the Lazada campaign page with the majority of product placement within the campaign categories out of the brand manager’s control.

BrandIQ

The ‘Flash Sales’ portion of campaigns are among the few ways to boost sales of brand’s products.

Marketplace and Brand relationship

Brands shouldn’t take a hands-off role after agreeing to participate in a particular campaign. BrandIQ discovered that the maximum mileage garnered from these campaigns lean more towards promoting Lazada’s own inventory and not the brand’s official shop-in-shop (Amazon, anyone?).

Lazada holds inventory of major products, and sells it via a retail model. These campaigns offer a window for Lazada to boost sales of its own inventory.

How? BrandIQ deep dived into a current category campaign, ‘IT on Sale‘, running from February 6-9 on Lazada Thailand. The sale advertises ‘up to 70% off’ electronic category products.

BrandIQ

BrandIQ

Both the ‘Recommended Items’ and ‘Mobiles on Sale’ portions of the ‘IT on Sale’ campaign lists Lazada’s own retail SKUs over brand’s Shop in Shop SKUs.

The data indicated that the products listed under ‘Recommended Items’ were sold by Lazada. This is also the case in the sub-category ‘Mobiles on Sale’ portion – for example, all listed SKUs are sold directly by Lazada, rather than the Samsung or Huawei official stores.

Directly under ‘Recommended Items’ is another portion of the landing page titled ‘Top Brands on Sale’.

BrandIQ

Clicking on the brand’s logo takes customers to the brand’s official store, but where is the user directed after clicking the individual SKUs shown to the right of the brand logo?

BrandIQ

BrandIQ ascertained that 13 out of the 20 products listed were those sold directly by Lazada itself, rather than the official store.

This is despite the fact that official shop-in-shops offer the same product; it’s a conscious decision by Lazada to sell its own retail SKU over the brands.

Brands should pay close attention to the evolving nature of marketplaces and look to them as a way to jump into ecommerce, but not the long term game. As the ecommerce landscape becomes increasingly competitive and incentivized; companies need careful monitoring of all acquisition channels if they desire sustained growth.

 

Singaporean netizens rank at 4th place globally for sessions per year on Amazon, when judged in proportion to the number of internet users. That puts them just marginally behind Canada.

Source: SimilarWeb/World Bank

It’s probably one of the reasons why the company chose to enter Southeast Asia via Singapore; not only is there is an internet-savvy population with a high credit card penetration, consumers already have a stated preference to transact with the platform.

Amazon wasn’t physically present in Singapore until last year but the company’s white-label electronic products such as the Echo Dot and Kindle have been stocked and fulfilled by Lazada Singapore through grey market sellers as far back as March 2015, according to analytics platform BrandIQ.

Demand for Amazon in Singapore

BrandIQ mapped the number of reviews on Amazon products on Lazada SG over a three-year time period. When compared against Google Web Search data from Google Trends, there was a direct correlation between the volume of reviews on Lazada and Google search interest for Amazon from Singapore – until the marketplace’s official launch in July 2017.

Source: BrandIQ/Google Trends

Amazon products on Lazada witnessed a spike of product reviews towards the end of 2015, coinciding with the September 2015 announcement of the Fire Tablet and Fire TV product lines.

Google Trends data shows a very similar spike to that of product reviews on Lazada in December 2015, which can be attributed to the holiday season and popularity of the new Fire product lines.

A very similar trend was also witnessed in 2016; product reviews rose following the September 2016 announcement of the new Echo Dot product, with corresponding spikes in both Google Web Search and Lazada product reviews in December 2016.

Web search interest in Amazon reached a crescendo in July 2017 following the Prime Now launch in Singapore. This event also marked the first inverse trend between web searches for Amazon and product reviews on Lazada. While the number of product reviews grew approaching the December 2017 holiday season, it never recovered to 2016 or 2015 levels, suggesting decreased interest across Lazada following Amazon’s entry.

There’s a correlation between Amazon product launches and their popularity in Singapore based on reviews by certified users, but what does it mean?

Rival on Lazada’s marketplace

Despite Amazon’s belated entry into Southeast Asia, its products are still ranking high on Lazada.

The interesting part is that the products in question; Amazon Fire TV, Kindle, and Echo are simply unavailable on Prime Now and can’t be shipped to Singapore from AmazonGlobal, it’s international shipping site.

Instead, these products are sold and fulfilled by a multitude of grey sellers on Lazada such as GeekBite, that has been active on the platform for 3+ years.

Despite its Amazon Prime Now offerings for free international shipping, some of Amazon’s best selling items can’t be shipped to Singapore

There’s clear demand and interest for Amazon products, which leads us to the question: why is a customer-obsessed Amazon content with grey market sellers fulfilling this need?

Standard industry practices indicate that well-known brands often find a crowded grey market for their products to be a cause for concern. Leaving grey sellers to fulfill local demand for foreign products results in brands losing control of their brand image, as delivery, packaging, and warranties from grey sellers usually don’t correspond to the same brand guidelines adhered to by the company.

The answer here is likely linked to the outdated industry distribution rights for television/movie content on the Fire platform and e-book rights for the Kindle. Content distribution rights are negotiated geographically, and local distributors commonly have long term contracts with content producers. Amazon either hasn’t prioritized, or is still in the process of securing distribution rights for Southeast Asia, and thus can’t make these products available to purchase.

What Amazon is falling short of, grey market sellers are picking up admirably. In the electronics categories including “Tablets” and “Video” on Lazada, Amazon products rank in the Top 10 when sorting by “Popularity”. The Amazon Fire TV Stick and Amazon Kindle stand out within their own respective categories.

The prices of items like the Kindle are also marked up by almost 23% (US$79.99 on Amazon US vs US$103 on Lazada SG) and the Echo Dot is marked up by 15% (US$49.99 on Amazon US vs US$59 on Lazada SG).

Singaporean consumers itching for the new Amazon items are stuck with purchasing through grey sellers on Lazada, like local reseller SGKindleShop, who offers the Kindle for US$155, or like forwarder shipping service like comGateway, which can set you back another US$15 for the US$79 Kindle, only slightly cheaper than the US$103 price tag on Lazada.

Cost of shipping a 1kg package using a forwarder shipping service from the US to Singapore.
Prices in SGD

Amazon is missing out on a large potential revenue source by foregoing some of its best selling products on Prime Now. It’s also unable to cross-sell by offering enhanced product warranties, which are an important addition to overall product revenue streams.

Unless Jeff Bezos makes a conscious decision to include Amazon’s products on Prime Now SG, it’s going to continue to cede the market to grey sellers on its largest regional competitor.

Osman Husain of ecommerceIQ contributed to this report.


HOW IS YOUR BRAND PERFORMING ON SOUTHEAST ASIA’s TOP MARKETPLACE

Given the proximity of Southeast Asia’s markets, consumer behavior and preferences across the region are expected to be relatively similar but brands present in multiple markets can contest that there are several differences between the countries. It behooves brands to prioritize customer feedback.

As there is no perfect product, there are hundreds and thousands of good and bad reviews floating around the web and its important to not weigh them equally. To add value to customers and merchants, online platforms like Lazada mark quality reviews with a badge to verify the purchase of the item by the user.

Reviewer with a purchase history of the SKU is verified on Lazada and identified with a badge. Source: Lazada Indonesia.

Top: Fully recommended! I’ve been using hyper glossy for over four years, there’s nothing as comfortable as this one, even though I have tried using other eyeliner products from Maybelline or other brands, I’m still loyal to this one. Very waterproof, long lasting. By the way, the packaging is very safe, tidy with layered bubble wrap and fast delivery. I’m very satisfied with the service from Maybelline Indonesia.

Bottom: Satisfied. The eyeliner was delivered yesterday, 3-days delivery. Good waterproof eyeliner, people who said it [the product] is small probably never bought Maybelline eyeliner before. It’s small but it could last five months.

Data-analytics platform BrandIQ compares feedback habits of customers on Lazada Indonesia and Lazada Thailand for brands in the Beauty & Health category to understand which markets are more satisfied with the same products.

Beauty shoppers Indonesia Thailand

Customers on Lazada Indonesia leave more than three times the number of reciews on the platform than customers on Lazada Thailand.

Not only did BrandIQ find that Lazada Indonesia had more than three times the number of reviews on Lazada Thailand in the Beauty & Health category, there were also more verified reviews.

The number becomes even more interesting when factoring in total SKUs on Lazada Thailand is two times more than on Lazada Indonesia, 2,136,259 and 1,278,324 respectively (as per January 11).

Looking at the reviews for four beauty brands with presence on both Lazada Indonesia and Lazada Thailand — L’Oreal Paris, Maybelline, Garnier, and Nivea — showed that although Thais left less reviews, they reported more positive things about their purchase than Indonesians.

By filtering for positive keywords such as ‘good’, ‘fabulous’, ‘amazing’, and negative keywords like ‘bad’ and ‘terrible’, BrandIQ is able to determine the overall customer sentiment for a brand’s products on a marketplace.

One keyword that appears most often on Lazada Thailand is ‘สีสวย’ or ‘nice color’, appearing in 12.47% out of all the Beauty and Health category reviews.

While on Lazada Indonesia, keywords like ‘tidak sesuai’ or ‘doesn’t fit’ showed up the most in reviews with negative sentiment in the same category.

Beauty shoppers Indonesia Thailand

Reviews from Maybelline customers in Lazada Thailand and Indonesia with the most popular keywords for each sentiments respectively.

Top: Nice color. The color is long lasting, nice color, and it’s 50% off! Super awesome.

Bottom: Two stars. Good product, only the color doesn’t look like the picture.

What does this mean for brands?

Although all customer feedback is important for brands, the ability to distinguish verified reviewers – those who have purchased – over random or spam users will give companies a more credible overview of how well received their products are in different markets.

Using Maybelline reviews as an example, Indonesians tend to leave more product reviews and appear less satisfied than their Thai counterparts, making it beneficial for Maybelline to either modify their product selection and/or address the complaints.


HOW IS YOUR BRAND PERFORMING ON SOUTHEAST ASIA’S TOP MARKETPLACE?

All aspects of ecommerce can be controlled by a brand, except for one area that is completely in the hands of the user – product reviews and ratings.

As competition grows on marketplace, where most online customers start their purchasing journey, this aspect has become a reliable filter to help other users decide, “to buy or not to buy.”

On most ecommerce sites, customers can sort products from highest to lowest average ratings, which means a high score gives brands more visibility and a competitive advantage over competitors. Better product rating, better purchase rate, makes sense right?

But five stars alone isn’t enough to convince customers to add to cart, it’s what the reviews are saying that drive checkouts, especially in Asia where an average of 22% customers — the highest globally — count online reviews as a decision making factor due to the strong effect of community.

By aggregating the major consensus of what customers are saying in their reviews, brands can leverage reviews to improve their performance online. How can this be done?

customers review Unilever

Data-analytics platform BrandIQ has collected reviews for four of Unilever’s brands – Dove, Rexona, Simple, Toni and Guy – on Lazada Philippines to showcase what companies can learn from this set of data and separating out the generic complaints (i.e. slow delivery, average product).

The average rating of each brand online gives a high level glance at which brand needs more monitoring and brand building. For example, Toni and Guy scores an average 3.81/5, which isn’t necessarily bad, but can be improved to rank higher in search.

42% of total reviews scrubbed were about the touch and feel of the products, but approximately 58% actually shed light on aspects other than product quality.

What were they saying?

To sort the data, reviews are split into five main categories: Product, General, Delivery, Packaging, and Customer Service.

customers review Unilever

From the data above, the keyword “delivery” is the second most quoted in reviews, but it doesn’t reveal whether sentiment is good or bad.

By splitting customer reviews into two sentiments: positive and negative, we identify the strengths and weaknesses of these categories. This allows companies to understand which area should be prioritised for improvement.

For Unilever brands on Lazada Philippines, despite the small numbers of reviews that talk about Package, the category racked up a strong positive sentiment compared to the other four categories (Service contributes only a small percentage of the total reviews). Extrapolation of this data can signal that the products ordered by customers is well taken care of during the last mile with the packaging the company used.

customers review Unilever

customers review Unilever

Review left by a Dove customer on Lazada PH that was found helpful by at least six other customers.

Customer reviews are a unique and vital aspect to ecommerce that offline retail rarely had to face before. Brands looking to crack the code on e-marketplaces will need to build an understanding for this new metric, and use it as a tool to their advantage.


HOW IS YOUR BRAND PERFORMING ON SOUTHEAST ASIA’S TOP MARKETPLACES?