Customer ratings and reviews on a marketer’s site are an asset with marketing utility far beyond the site, according to vendor Bazaarvoice, which says marketers are finding multiple ways now to leverage the reviews.
Sam Decker, vice president of marketing at Bazaarvoice, which provides ratings and review tools for use on retail sites, notes that ratings and reviews are the most widely read user-generated content on the web. “Why limit this to the product page?” says Decker, who adds the Bazaarvoice customers are using or testing reviews and ratings in e-mail and beyond.
Burpee.com, for example, had a 43% higher click through on RSS feeds to which it added customer reviews. When another client, Petco.com, featured top-rated products with a rating icon and snippets of the review right below it, they increased the click-through rate on that e-mail by a factor of five times, Decker says.
“We believe that the interest, attractiveness and compelling nature of customer-created content are equal on any marketing channel,” he adds.
One Canadian client, a grocery chain, put customer reviews and ratings gathered online into its weekly offline circular, boosting store sales of top-rated products. Some clients are testing similar identification of top-rated products in their catalogs. Bazaarvoice has done some testing with clients who have put top-rated products in online text and banner ads. Feeding affiliates top-rated products is another way to make affiliates more effective, he adds.
Decker also sees other possibilities for leveraging ratings and reviews in online marketing, such as e-mailing customers with a sweepstakes offer and reminding them to write a review by a designated date; or creating a search engine marketing campaign for top-rated products by category.
“When you think about ratings and reviews, you think product page at first,” says Decker. “But when you think about the fact that so many people want this authentic, relevant and credible content, you want to use it everywhere.”