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Stop Guessing; Use Amazon Reviews to See Your Future

Review Downloader allows you to quickly collect data from Amazon's customer reviews in one export to conduct competitor analysis.

Data science is hot.  

A quick look at the available data scientist jobs on LinkedIn and Indeed will show you what I mean. If you’re a data scientist and you have an active pulse, you’re hiring material. 

Maybe you’re a professional sports team manager employing data scientists to find a way to get the team’s payroll under the salary cap. 

Or, a traffic flow engineer is trying to decide how long before we need to pave all of southern California. 

In either case, data is king

When it comes to eCommerce and selling on Amazon, there are many different data streams but nothing is as important as customer reviews 

In this blog-post I’m going to answer two main questions.

  • What is data mining?
  • How can you use Amazon Reviews to do a competitor analysis?

Let’s start with . . .

Why are reviews so crucial to an Amazon seller?

Whether it’s someone who is thrilled or disappointed with a purchase, it’s emotion that is going to cause someone to take the time to write a review. 

The buyers in the middle, for whom the product was just ok, are not really going to give you the emotional data that you require to make the connection you need.  But buyers who leave reviews will. 

While doing research for this article I found that at least half of the results of my web search had titles like “How to get legal reviews on Amazon,” or “How to get reviews without getting in trouble with Amazon.”

That’s enough to make me think that this is an area where we need to be careful where we put our feet. It’s a virtual eCommerce minefield. 

My search also resulted in a little over 300 million results in about a half second, so I think it’s a subject of considerable interest.  

Of course it is.  

Every discussion of a product launch involves the question of how to get reviews.  It’s a simple fact.  You’re not going to gain traction on Amazon without a stream of positive reviews.  

But, this article is going to look at reviews from the other side of the table.  

This post will focus on how to “mine” your competitor’s reviews for the data you need to succeed and thrive on Amazon. 

Let’s start by answering this question; what exactly is data mining? 

Data mining is the process of finding patterns within large data sets (often in combination with machine learning, statistics and database systems) in order to predict the outcome. 

Fortunately for you, Helium 10 has the best data mining tool out there. It’s called Review Downloader, and it’s available as a Chrome extension here.  

Review Downloader allows you to quickly collect your competitor’s customer reviews in one quick export to uncover valuable customer insights that help you strategically position your product.

The first way I’m going to put this data to use is in conducting broad market research. 

This is how you can use Amazon product reviews to do a competitor analysis.

There’s really nothing better than having an understanding of precisely what customers are looking for in a particular niche and how happy (or unhappy) they are with a competitor’s product. 

amazon reviews

Amazon’s product reviews tell you exactly that.

Let’s say I was looking to buy a new French Press coffee maker.  

On Amazon’s site I’m going to choose this one for example. 

amazon product page

As you can see, 2393 Amazon buyers have taken the time to write a review and the overall score is almost five stars.  Let’s see what customers like about the product.  

To do that, I’m going to open the Helium 10 Chrome extension and select the Review Downloader tab.

helium 10 chrome extension

helium 10 chrome extension

Here you can see that 91 percent of buyers gave the product 5 stars. Let’s see why.  To get a more recent sample, I’ll filter for the last two months then deselect everything except the five star ratings and press the Extract button.  Here’s what we get:

amazon reviews

As you can see, 359 buyers found something to love about this product, but let’s look closer

amazon product review

And let’s look at this one:

amazon product review

I’m cheating a little bit because I know what I like about this style of French Press, but it seems I’m not alone.  Buyers love the fact that because of the double wall stainless steel construction, the coffee stays hot.  

When I look at the Analysis tab, it will give me the key phrases that show up most often in the reviews. It’s clear that buyers like their coffee hot. 

amazon product reviews

Now, let’s see what they don’t like. I’m just going to do the opposite and only choose one, two and three-star ratings and press Extract. 

amazon product with specification and reviews

Here’s a sample of the reviews:

amazon product review
amazon product review

And here are the key phrases:

amazon reviews

When I look at the small number of negative reviews, it’s hard for me to view these as design issues. Instead, I think it shows evidence of either manufacturing or quality control problems.

It looks like that if the plunger doesn’t break, buyers are happy. 

If I’m considering this product to compete against other Amazon sellers, this is one battle I’m going to pass up. Hoping that there are enough problems with the plunger that help me to make headway with my own product seems like a sucker’s bet.  

If I don’t have a way to manufacture this product for less money at the same level of quality, this is one product niche I’m going to avoid as a seller on Amazon. 

Even Though It’s Data Science, There are Always Surprises

When we’re doing this kind of data research, we don’t really know what we’re going to find or how we might ultimately use the information.  

Sometimes the data we find has less to do with the product itself, than with the way that it’s packaged. 

This next product we’ll look at is a good example of that. 

Let’s look at this dog bowl. 

loving pets bella bowl

Overall, it has a four and a half star rating and 1456 buyers have taken the time to write a review. 

Here’s what the buyers who gave it a 5 star review had to say. 

5 star reviews

Every single review in this screen-shot complain (within a 5 star review) about the difficult-to-remove sticker that the manufacturer has placed in the middle of the bowl itself

When we look at what the buyers had to say who gave it one, two or three stars, it’s no wonder that they’re not at all happy with the sticker either. 

customer reviews

I can almost guarantee you that whoever is selling this bowl didn’t spend much time thinking about how and where the sticker was going to be placed on their product. 

If they’re paying any attention at all, now they are aware of it and working hard to change the way that the sticker is affixed to the bowl.

One thing is certain. When it comes to eCommerce and selling on Amazon, more information is always better. And that’s particularly the case when the information is coming from Helium 10, the industry leader in Amazon selling software.

Make sure that you keep the guessing and surprises to a minimum with Review Downloader and the rest of Helium 10’s all-in-one Amazon seller tool suite.

That way you’ll know what your competitors are up to.

More importantly, you’ll have a clear understanding of what matters so much to the customers in your selling niche that they’re willing to take time out of their busy day to write a letter about it.

How cool is that?

Chuck Kessler


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