Keep Reaching for the Stars: Ratings and Reviews Matter

SEMA News—June 2018

Keep Reaching for the Stars: Ratings and Reviews Matter

By Craig Schmutzler

How many of us have purchased something because a friend told us how great it was? Perhaps it was a pair of shoes or a pocket knife. Maybe it was a MIG welder or a motorcycle (guilty). If a friend says, “This thing is awesome and you should get one,” we are likely to consider purchasing whatever that “thing” is. Interestingly, it isn’t just the opinions of our friends that matter.

According to search marketing firm BrightLocal, 85% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Think about that for a moment. Almost nine out of 10 people give the same weight to the opinion of a stranger as to that of a friend or family member. Why? The truth lies in the stars.

Star ratings have become the standard method for reviewing restaurants, services, products and everything in between. If enough strangers say something is worth four out of five stars, we believe them. We pay attention to both the content and the count when it comes to reviews.

A study published in Psychological Science found that if two similar products have the same rating, shoppers will buy the one with more reviews. According to the Fan & Fuel Digital Marketing Group, reviews influence 97% of online shoppers, and 92% of consumers will hesitate to buy something if no reviews are present.

At the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC), we understand the importance of reviews and have included the opportunity to provide feedback to manufacturers in our user interface. Any approved receiver can rate a manufacturer’s product data and provide comments. The process is easy, and we encourage all of our users to provide manufacturers with input regarding the usability of their product information. If the data is good, click four or five stars and give the manufacturer a “well done” in the comments. If you have concerns with a manufacturer’s product data, give an appropriately low star rating and describe your issues in the comments section. When the manufacturer corrects the data, be certain to change its star rating to a higher level and adjust your comments.

The SDC’s review system provides our manufacturers with a great opportunity to gather feedback directly from users of their product information to determine how to better serve those who are taking their data feeds. To that end, we ask our manufacturers to listen to and act on any feedback they receive on their product information.

If your data receivers tell you that your descriptions need work, fix them. If they tell you that you are missing current applications for your products, update your fitment data. If they ask for more images, add them. When you receive direct input from businesses that are doing their best to market and sell your products for you, you owe them the courtesy of reviewing and responding to their comments and concerns.

Ratings and reviews serve as a valuable means of communication between our members. We need receivers to be vocal with manufacturers when the data isn’t meeting your needs, and we need manufacturers to be responsive to requests for improvements and proactive in the ongoing maintenance of their data. If you need some help or want to provide feedback regarding your experience with our services, contact us.

To learn more about how you can take control of your product data and manage it at the lowest possible cost, contact SEMA Data Co-op Director of Membership Jim Graven at or 888-958-6698 x4.

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