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.


Lazada generated $250 million in GMV for its annual 12.12 Online Revolution campaign, effectively doubling the results of 11.11 Single’s Day a month earlier ($123 million GMV). The company’s latest success is seen as affirmation for the ecommerce potential in the region or “a major highlight of consumption growth”, especially for the 3,000 brands selling on the platform.

End year sales mean greater discounts and a common route taken by most brands to increase sales and conversions. However, data analytics platform BrandIQ found some brands from the ‘Baby & Kid’ category on Lazada Indonesia actually took a different approach for the region’s biggest online shopping event.

Six popular baby food brands in this category actually lowered their discounts on the site five days before 12.12, meaning the product was actually more expensive during 12.12 than previous periods.

Some lowered theirs as close as a day before the sales event such as Dancow, a milk brand for children from Nestle, that decreased the discount percentage percent discount on its products by almost 14%.

And they weren’t the only brand that adopted this pricing strategy, the brand Cerelac also decreased discounts even more from 8.52% off to only 5.2% off on average.

Other brands such as Nutren and Nutrilon maintained a relatively stable discount strategy during the sales period.

Only two out of six baby food brands actually increased their discount during the 12.12 campaign

This behavior begs the question, why are certain brands countering the entire concept of a sales campaign by offering more expensive products?

The most likely reason is that these brands see the event as an opportunity to increase margins by leveraging the high traffic flowing into the marketplace with the hype and marketing efforts surrounding the shopping event.

Given that baby food is a relatively price inelastic product, meaning that demand is unaffected by price as babies need to eat, these brands have more leeway with not participating much in the discounts party but still reap the benefit from the online sales.

What does this mean for brands?

Brands entering the online space are often plagued by the pressure to enter price wars to win market share. This means lowering prices is almost a must for brands, especially during the sales period.

It was reported a few years ago that merchants on Tmall in China said that if they don’t price products lower than in stores on rival sites, Alibaba pushes them down their ranks, effectively limiting their access to hundreds of millions of potential customers. Alibaba didn’t comment.

However, as shown by the data above,

Brands can actually avoid price wars and hits to margins by understanding the nature of their product.

These two different strategies highlight an important lesson for companies during promotional periods, while most ecommerce players utilize heavy discounts to maximize sales, revenue can also be made by doing the opposite and lowering discounts.


Online marketplaces offer brands high incentives as it gives them access to millions of customers. However, high volumes of traffic come with a price as they are often attracted to items sold by unauthorized sellers, often referred as grey sellers.

And without official authenticity checks being implemented, grey sellers are at liberty to put whatever the price they want to appeal to Southeast Asians high aptitude to look online for low prices.

To understand how grey sellers impact authorized sellers and the brand’s official stores on marketplaces, data analytics platform BrandIQ draws comparisons between the top three sellers for Samsung on Lazada Thailand.

This data shows that Samsung only controls less than 2% of total SKUs direct or through authorized third party sellers.From a numbers game of SKUs, grey sellers dominate the distribution of Samsung products on marketplace with a total of 51,925 SKUs or 98.1% of all Samsung products available on Lazada Thailand.

On Lazada Thailand, Samsung has several official stores; Samsung Official Store (managed by Lazada), Samsung Official Shop (managed by Samsung), Samsung Official eStore – Consumer Electronics, Samsung Official eStore – Mobile; as well as authorized sellers.

Multiple stores leave Samsung unable to create a unified brand experience confusing consumers as to which channel is more reliable given there is overlap on the product offering. Each channel also offers a different policy on payment and delivery.

How about price differences?

Taking a look at the price points for several products, BrandIQ data shows that grey sellers actually offer lower prices on average compared to the official Samsung channels. They can vary between 4% to as high as 63%.

Price comparison between Samsung official stores versus grey sellers on Lazada TH

From the consumer point of view, experiences from grey sellers offer a varying standard of service unsurprisingly but looking at ratings from three Samsung smartphone products show the official store still has the more favorable opinion from consumers compared to unofficial sellers.

Review comparison between official store vs. grey seller

However, it still remains a lose-lose situation for Samsung because consumers with a negative experience from grey sellers impact the Samsung brand and if they have a better experience with grey sellers, they will continue purchasing from them, causing Samsung to lose market share.

What does this mean for brands?

It becomes important for Samsung to create a unified brand experience in order to gain more market share on marketplaces like Lazada, especially with the numerous grey sellers flooding the site with their products.

Provided that marketplaces also suffer from counterfeit issues and grey market sellers, popular brands can work with Lazada and Shopee to boost its presence on the website through front page banners and onsite ad placements offered through Shopee’s new feature Shopee My Ads.

Consumers don’t want to think twice, and usually don’t even care, about differentiating between channels as long as they get the right product at the right price.


Seeing as the sun is always shining in Southeast Asia, sunglasses are a popular item that never go out of style, especially in the Philippines. The market is lauded as the fastest growing market in the region for luxury sunglasses brand Oakley as said by Andrew McMahon, former retail manager for Oakley Southeast Asia.

To feed consumer demand, the brand utilizes online channels, in particular, an official store on Lazada to sell to the growing middle class, who is also increasingly tech-savvy. Analytics platform BrandIQ takes a look at the sentiments surrounding Oakley’s products.

Oakley Lazada Philippines

Oakley official store on Lazada Philippines.

Launched almost a year ago, Oakley shop-in-shop (SiS) on Lazada Philippines leaves a good impression for the Filipino customers as witnessed by a 83% positive seller rating provided by customers.

Oakley got a good review rated by the customers on Lazada Philippines

Taking a look at all Oakley sunglasses/products across Lazada Philippines, BrandIQ found that they generate 70% of positive sentiments from the Filipino customers on Lazada Philippines, with ‘authentic’ and ‘fast delivery’ being the keywords that most often appeared in product reviews.

Simultaneously, ‘fake’ is the most common keyword that appeared most often in reviews with negative sentiments as grey sellers are abundant on the marketplace.

Oakley Lazada Philippines

The sentiments show that for customers shopping for higher-end brands, authenticity is more important than a low price — giving brands an advantage competing with grey sellers when they open online.

Discount season generated more reviews

During the build-up to the 11.11 last month, the average discount for Oakley sunglasses on Lazada Philippines increased by 35% on November 9, compared to the week before, and stayed the same until the end of the campaign.

Oakley Lazada Philippines

Sellers for Oakley (Philippines) starts the Online Revolution discounts on November 9. Source: BrandIQ

Although the discounts during this period only increased slightly by approximately 7%, the hype and ergo, traffic, to the website resulted in double the product reviews for Oakley sunglasses post campaign.

For brands attempting to boost ranks in search results on a marketplace, offering special incentives such as high discounts will encourage customers to leave product reviews and increase relevancy of the product.

Oakley Lazada Philippines


Cosmetics and beauty products have always performed best online, especially given recent 11.11 performance.

To grab growing momentum online, more brands are releasing new product lines through ecommerce. Lip Lingerie is the latest range of liquid lipsticks from American cosmetics brand NYX.

Originally offering 12 shades of nude colors when it was released last year, the brand has since added an additional 12.

NYX Lip Lingerie Lazada

Lip Lingerie complete color variants on the landing page of NYX’s global website

On Lazada Thailand, where NYX sell its products through official shop-in-shop NYX Professional Makeup, search results from product keywords ‘NYX Lip Lingerie’ results in 683 SKUs, the majority made from unofficial sellers.

What would make the consumer choose one product over the other given they are the same?

Apart from customer ratings and seller reputation, price has always been a strong factor in purchasing decisions.

Using data platform BrandIQ, we compared the selling price (price after discount) for Lip Lingerie items from the top five sellers on Lazada Thailand, including NYX’s own SiS.

From the analysis, the listing price – the price before discount – ranges from 325 THB to 590 THB; the lowest selling item provided by NYX Professional Makeup store itself.

However, when it comes to the selling price, the cheapest is provided by a third-party seller Tohkrengpang Shop.

Among the top five sellers, Tohkrengpang Shop has the second highest listed price (530 THB), but with 53% discount that it offers, the selling price for NYX Lip Lingerie on the store fell to 250 THB.

NYX Lip Lingerie Lazada

Seller Tohkrengpang Shop offers the highest discount and the lowest price for NYX Lip Lingerie.

Discounts offered by the third-party sellers range from 11% – 53% of the listed price. NYX Professional Makeup is the only seller that doesn’t offer any discount for the product, elevating its price to the middle among the other top sellers.

Why does NYX not offer discounts? According to Small Business Chron, consumers tend to associate low price with low quality, particularly when the brand name is not familiar.

Low prices may drive sales for a limited time, but do not build customer loyalty.

Seems like NYX is playing the long term game.

NYX Lip Lingerie Lazada

NYX Official Store is the only one that doesn’t display a discount on the product.

Download the infographic here.


*Introducing the eIQ BrandData series that shares insights to different brand strategies online and how they’re performing on marketplaces across Southeast Asia in collaboration with data tool BrandIQ.


A peek into Thai customers’ sentiment for BabyLove

Using data tool BrandIQ, a total of 4,958 product reviews from customers that purchased BabyLove products on Lazada Thailand were analyzed. The sentiments of the reviews were divided into two: Positive and Negative, based on keywords like ใช้งานดี (good quality), รอนานมาก (slow delivery), ถูก (cheap), identified in the review.

For BabyLove products, out of 175 keywords picked from reviews, 136 or 77.71% of them are positive.

BabyLove review

Overall sentiment for BabyLove products on Lazada is positive

The keyword “ส่งเร็ว” (meaning fast delivery) appeared the most in the reviews with a positive sentiment, appearing 1,528 times in 1,522 BabyLove product reviews.

The second top keyword “ถูก” (meaning cheap) had 776 appearances. The third positive keyword “ใช้งานดี” (meaning good quality) appeared 430 times.

Below is an example of a BabyLove product review with positive sentiments:

BabyLove review

A consumer review with high rating for delivery and product quality. [Translation: The delivery was fast and the product quality is good. As a mom, I’m very happy.]

Meanwhile, keywords with bad sentiments made up 22.29% of total keywords. Some of the keywords are ห่วยมาก (bad), แย่มาก (sucks), and รอนานมาก (slow delivery). Overall, customers using these keywords are talking about the pain points of ordering the products on Lazada rather than the quality of the product.

One example of a review with bad sentiment is:

BabyLove review

A consumer review with low rating caused by stock discrepancy.
[Translation: I’ve ordered it from Lazada 4 days ago, turned out it’s out of stock? How can something that I’ve already ordered (when it’s available) went out of stock? This sucks. And the delivery is also slow. It’s very bad.]

Controlling customer sentiments

The top two factors that greatly affect the sentiments felt by the BabyLove’s customers when they make a purchase on Lazada are delivery time and price. They are things that a brand can control by having an official presence on the marketplace.

On its official store, BabyLove offers an average discount of 26% and drowns out grey market sellers on the marketplace.

Its products are also fulfilled and delivered by Lazada, which typically means faster delivery times.

BabyLove review

BabyLove’s products on its official store on Lazada Thailand are fulfilled by Lazada

Download the full infographic here.