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Thanks for reaching out! While you wait for confirmation from an Apptentive team member, you may find these free resources to be of interest:

Guide

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Guide

The Five Stages of Reducing Mobile Customer Churn

Retention is a top priority for mobile marketers. Our new five-step framework is here to help you improve your existing strategy.

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Guide

View resource

Guide

2020 Mobile App Engagement Benchmark Report

Apptentive’s annual mobile app engagement benchmark report serves as a baseline to help app publishers across categories understand their app’s engagement strengths and areas for improvement.

Download Now

Mobile Marketing

Why Retail and Shopping Apps Need to Embrace Qualitative Feedback

Doug Rountree  //  June 25, 2019  //  3 min read

For some mobile apps, earning high average app store ratings isn’t an issue. In fact, roughly 90 percent of reviews for most retail and shopping apps are four stars or higher. But where many fail is in acquiring and then using qualitative feedback. Although a high average rating can paint a pretty picture, it can also distract you from the richer customer feedback behind each star.

Quantitative data is important, but companies also need accompanying qualitative data to provide context and actionable insight. When used together, brands can truly understand their customers’ needs and pain points.

App store optimization with sentiment analysis for your mobile app

Now, let’s jump into an example from one of the largest retailers in the world. WalMart’s overall app is rated 4.72 iOS (lifetime) but if you go the last 365 days, it’s 2.35 with the last 30 days’ rating sitting at 2.27. While 62 percent of their reviews in the last month have been two stars or less, roughly 83 percent of all reviews have had negative sentiment. For every two five-star reviews, they received roughly five one-star reviews.

WalMart app ratings and reviews

Clearly, something drastic has changed within the app, and WalMart would be wise to listen. But without a robust customer feedback tool, they have no way of identifying exactly what went wrong. And if they can’t tell what’s wrong, they can’t possibly fix it.

We did a quick sentiment analysis through our Insights tool and found one very glaring issue: They removed a key feature that customers loved. Bingo! Now, WalMart’s product management team can take this feedback directly to their team and start work on creating a solution. At the very least, they can find a way to respond to these disgruntled customers.

WalMart app ratings and reviews

Redbubble is another fantastic example of this same paradox. They have a high average star rating on the iOS store, and at first glance, everything looks peachy.

But lurking just beneath the surface is an ugly truth. Out of all the reviews they’ve received, roughly 40 percent have negative sentiment. Why is that? Why are some customers rating the app highly but then taking to the reviews to complain? How could Redbubble intercept these unhappy customers and address their issues before they’re posted publicly on the app store?

Redbubble app ratings and reviews

While a high star rating might drive up app downloads, you don’t get any good insight into how the customers actually feel. Although a customer might really love the app as a whole, there might be some serious product flaws they want to flag to you. Or perhaps they’ve been a loyal customer for many years, but are frustrated by a recent change. You can’t know the “why” by just looking at the average star ratings. You must dig deeper.

Ratings are vital, yes. But reviews are incredibly important for the health of your app as well. Here’s why:

  1. People trust peer recommendations more than anything, so they’re more likely to download if they read anecdotal support for a positive rating. Ultimately, people trust peer feedback more than anything. In a world where brands can easily manipulate data, ratings devoid of context just aren’t as compelling as thoughtful reviews.
  2. Ratings don’t give you the “why.” In other words, they don’t provide you insight into what specifically is and isn’t working. Ratings only shed light on if your customers like your app or not, but you can’t identify the things you need to improve on or add to your product roadmap. Ratings paint a pretty picture but can hide the most valuable information. When your feedback is one-dimensional like this, it doesn’t give you anything actionable.

In order to truly understand customers, you need qualitative data to make sense of quantitative data.

Want to start combining powerful quantitative data with insightful qualitative feedback from your customers? You can gain access to our Insights tool when you schedule a demo of Apptentive!

About Doug Rountree

Doug has over 10 years of sales experience, ranging from fitness to the digital ad space. He loves pairing his digital marketing knowledge with his passion for delivering value to customers.
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