October 1, 2010, 11:07 AM

Retailers like having Facebook profile data in customer reviews

Several retailers are  importing onto their e-commerce sites product review content from the Facebook profiles of their customers.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

What do e-retailers Diapers.com, Campmor and Abe’s of Maine have in common? They’re all using a new application that lets them import onto their e-commerce sites information from Facebook profiles of customers that write online product reviews.

The tool, from consumer ratings and reviews vendor PowerReviews Inc., enables willing shoppers to integrate their Facebook profile content, such as gender and age, into their reviews and their reviewer profiles on e-commerce sites. Diapers.com, Campmor and Abe’s of Maine all have begun using some of the features of the new application.

Most Facebook tools on retail sites allow shoppers only to push information to Facebook, instead of pulling it from Facebook to a retail site, PowerReviews says.

Shoppers also can post their reviews to Facebook using technology from PowerReviews. The reviews will appear on a consumer’s Facebook Wall as well as in her friends’ newsfeeds. Reviews posted on Facebook also now include a product picture, the number of stars the product received, a snippet of text from the review, and a link back to the merchant’s product page.

Other new Facebook services from PowerReviews enable retailers to group together and show the history of reviews written by a Facebook user, and ask a reviewer if he wants to make a comment about a product on Facebook after he has written a review. If he says yes, that comment will show up in his Facebook newsfeed.

“We’re moving to a world where user-generated content needs to be able to move freely in all directions, and we continue to innovate based on this principle,” says Pehr Luedtke, CEO of PowerReviews. “Our Facebook integration is a prime example of the power of the Open Graph. We are leveraging the world’s largest social network to benefit our retailers and brands, enabling them to use customer-generated content in a way that drives consumer loyalty, and, ultimately, sales.”

Facebook’s Open Graph is a series of plug-ins that retailers and other web site operators can use to weave elements of the social network, such as Facebook’s Like button or profile information, throughout their sites. The information is then shared both on the retailer’s site and the social network.

Some experts say Open Graph may shift online advertising to Facebook because it allows marketers to present highly targeted ads. If a Diapers.com shopper shares her review of a high chair on Facebook, that information plus the consumer’s Facebook profile information—which often includes likes and interests—can pack a more powerful advertising punch. Not only can a Facebook advertiser reasonably predict that a consumer is a mother of a young child, it also could know that she is an accountant, a runner and loves pizza.

katie@verticalwebmedia.com

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