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“We limit selling to in-house banner ads and a link to the e-commerce section atop the pages,” says Gahman of B Space, where members on average visit once a day for six-and-a-half minutes viewing 15 pages. “With a social network, if I just want to hang out and show videos and pictures, I don’t want to have ‘Buy this, buy that’ constantly shoved in my face.”
So rather than constantly pitching products, retailers are letting customers do the job for them. Bodybuilding.com and Indigo Books & Music have integrated customer reviews with their social networks. Customer reviews are inherently social to begin with and have proven very successful at converting shoppers into buyers.
Bodybuilding.com’s BodySpace links to a new special section devoted to customer reviews. Indigo Community enables members to link from books on fellow members’ virtual bookshelves to customer reviews on the e-commerce site.
“We integrated reviews with BodySpace so people can literally see the reviewers,” DeLuca explains. “This helps people gauge how qualified a reviewer is with respect to particular products. For example, if a reviewer gave a muscle-building product 9 out of 10, you can see his goals and pictures and videos in his profile that show how that product has helped.”