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Albertsons announced that it will begin offering "consumer-generated product ratings and reviews, enabled by PowerReviews," on 11 of its retail websites, including those of Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, and Shaw’s.

According to the announcement, Recent research supports this new offering, "with 83% of grocery shoppers saying they are more likely to purchase a new grocery item online if customer reviews exist for that product."  Mark Dillon, CEO at PowerReviews, said in a prepared statement that "ratings and reviews have become such a significant factor in buyer decision-making that shoppers actually choose where they buy from based on the availability of this content."

The two companies said that in addition to allowing consumer interactivity and the posting of product reviews, PowerReviews is providing "the ability for brands to syndicate their user-generated content to related product pages on Albertsons Cos.’ sites to ensure a consistent shopper experience."

KC's View:

This isn't an entirely new idea - Amazon has been doing it for several decades - but it is. not a concept that to my knowledge has been embraced by most supermarket companies.  So good for Albertsons.

I have two thoughts.

One is that companies deciding to go down this path should be really transparent about the negative reviews, putting them in a special section called something like "Tough Love."  Be clear about the fact that a business can learn the most from the people who criticize it, and that this will be a place to highlight and respond to criticisms, with follow-ups posted when issues have been addressed.

The other is that in addition to allowing for the posting of customer reviews about products sold online, there ought to be a place where reviews of store services and the store itself can be reviewed.  If one is going to embrace the idea and physical and digital operations and strategies need to be integrated, then the same ought to go for shopper reviews.