Over a year ago we announced the "Ratings J-Curve", analyzing the distribution of product ratings across our set of retail clients. 80% of reviews were positive, an average rating of 4.3 out of 5. Over a year later, and now over 100 clients across 12 industries, that hasn't changed. Apparel manufacturers and retailers were slower to adopt Bazaarvoice Ratings and Reviews than other retailers, in large part due to fear of negative reviews. We saw some early data with our first apparel clients that was encouraging, but not enough to assert a trend. Now that we have over 10 clients in the apparel category we analyzed the data in aggregate. There is a pleasant J-curve surprise when we segment product rating data by apparel manufacturers and retailers… Apparel reviews are even more positive than the retail average. 87% of reviews are positive at an average rating of 4.5 out of 5. Further, for most of these apparel clients we see strong review volume. apparel_jcurve.jpg This supports the hypothesis that people want to share positive feedback on their purchases. Customers are especially proud of smart apparel decisions, perhaps because it exhibits smart decision about style and is an extension of themselves. Regardless, it's another data point that ratings and reviews for apparel retailers and manufacturers is a positive move, in more ways than one!

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  • http://mindbites.com Jason Reneau

    Hi Sam, Interesting post and seems to confirm my gut feel that most 5 point rating systems seem to average out as 4’s consistently. But, if the goal of a rating system is to effectively mirror the experience of a relevant sample of consumers, wouldn’t this positive bias suggest that ratings are less useful for consumers? What explains the lack of desire to give feedback for consumers with moderate or bad opinions? Is there a way to incent more bad reviews and avoid the old problem that unsatisfied customers tend to vote with their feet?

  • http://mindbites.com Jason Reneau

    Hi Sam, Interesting post and seems to confirm my gut feel that most 5 point rating systems seem to average out as 4’s consistently. But, if the goal of a rating system is to effectively mirror the experience of a relevant sample of consumers, wouldn’t this positive bias suggest that ratings are less useful for consumers? What explains the lack of desire to give feedback for consumers with moderate or bad opinions? Is there a way to incent more bad reviews and avoid the old problem that unsatisfied customers tend to vote with their feet?