September 7, 2006, 12:00 AM syndicating customer product reviews to shopping engines

CompUSA saw a 40% increase in conversion of reviewed products after it launched ratings and reviews from Bazaarvoice on-site last year. Now, it’s leveraging those reviews beyond the site., an early user of a new service that syndicates user-generated product reviews that originate on its own site to portals and comparison shopping engines, is anticipating long-tail results in terms of sales lift from the service, SyndicateVoice from Bazaarvoice, senior director of e-commerce Al Hurlebaus tells Internet Retailer.

“If you consider that someone reading reviews and clicking a link from a review is probably still in the consideration phase of the buying cycle, sales are not likely to occur within the same session as the click to the review or product,” says Hurlebaus of SyndicateVoice, which went live on in early August and currently syndicates reviews on the site to and Froogle. However, he notes, recent data from comScore Networks show that the tail for search resulting in a purchase stretches for as long as 90 days after an initial search.

CompUSA, No. 39 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites, already has seen results from the ratings and reviews feature it launched on its site from Bazaarvoice last year, which allows customers to create and post product reviews on the site. Since that implementation in October 2005, CompUSA has seen a 40% increase in conversion from customers that read the reviews and a 20% increase in average order size among customers that purchase after reading the reviews.

About one-quarter of the 80,000 products on CompUSA have been reviewed. “That’s fairly significant when you consider how many small items we have on the site that you wouldn’t think to review, such as adapters and wire cutters. Hurlebaus notes that the number of reviews on the site has increased significantly since the initial implementation and that CompUSA’s top-selling products are the products that receive the most reviews.

“We have some of the smartest and most knowledgeable customers who are willing to share their views and opinions on products we sell. By sharing our user reviews with sites that subscribe to the SyndicateVoice service, we’re extending that knowledge beyond our borders to a larger audience.

SyndicateVoice, launched in August as an optional extension of Bazaarvoice’s hosted customer ratings and review service, also distributes the reviews that originate on retailer sites to MSN and in a syndication network it’s still building. The service also includes a reverse syndication option allowing retailer sites to receive product ratings and reviews generated elsewhere in the SyndicateVoice network for posting on their own site, in exchange for linking back to the site of origination or payment for the outside review content.



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