We all know that customer ratings and reviews, or user generated content, help drive more traffic to a website, increase sales conversions, make merchandisers smarter and more.
But did you know that customer reviews are changing the way consumers shop and the way companies market their products?
Brett Hurt writes that this is a unique time in the history of advertising, because companies are literally using their customers’ word of mouth as a digital marketing asset to create entirely new forms of multichannel campaigns.
Here are some ways that large brands are using customer reviews beyond their websites:
Boost email results. Bath & Body Works brings customer-generated ratings and reviews content into its email campaigns. The retailer recently recorded a 10% lift in average order value for customers who received emails with integrated review content.
When US-based Golfsmith sent customers emails themed around top-rated products, revenues per email rose by 42.4%.
Put reviews into print. More and more people are shopping online, but millions of consumers still flip through the national Sunday newspaper adverts that appear.
Electronics retailer Best Buy recently published examples of user-generated reviews in a national newspaper circular, highlighting the digital cameras people rated most highly and directed readers to a reviews landing page, featuring all of these cameras. This gave prospective customers a compelling reason to save the circular and go online to learn more.
Display ratings in-store. I’ve seen dozens of ways to use customer ratings and reviews for in-store promotions. Add them to shelf fact tags, at the bottom of receipts, on the front page of in-store circulars, on posters and signage.
Retailers like Fair Indigo (US clothing retailer) and Cabela’s (US outdoor/sporting goods brand) even place kiosks in their stores to let customers browse and contribute ratings and reviews while they shop. President’s Choice, Canada’s largest food distributor has one the most imaginative in-store use of customer ratings and reviews.
Last year, it kitted out 135,000 employees with t-shirts that read “Rate our products at pc.ca”. The campaign was so successful that President’s Choice now features review content prominently in its seasonal Insider Reports, weekly flyers, in-store signs and on the pc.ca site.
It’s a fact. User-generated reviews are rapidly becoming one of the most important multichannel marketing tools around because consumers trust and agree with the opinions of ‘people like them’.
I can think of no more valuable marketing asset than this - it is digital, infinitely leverageable, authentic and unique.
According to analyst comScore, some 97% of consumers who made a purchase based on an online review said they found the review to have been accurate.
By amplifying the voices of your customers, you can cut through advertising clutter to drive customer awareness, satisfaction and sales both on and offline.
Brett Hurt is the CEO of Bazaarvoice .
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