W. Atlee Burpee & Co. is one of retail's oldest brands at 130 years. In spite of what that fact may imply about their willingness to embrace new technology, the retailer has been quick to adopt new tools and technologies to drive business growth, including email marketing, RSS, and Bazaarvoice's customer ratings and reviews solution.
Soon after deploying our customer ratings and reviews solution, Burpee saw an opportunity to leverage customer reviews in their RSS feed, which regularly showcases featured products. In early February, just two weeks after their first customer review submission, Burpee began incorporating excerpts from customer reviews in its email newsletter and RSS feed. Just days later, Burpee included two complete customer reviews as the primary content for a featured product, the Billy Biker Pepper! This simple reuse of customer review content enabled Burpee to extend the influence of customer word of mouth beyond Burpee.com.
Currently, Burpee includes a complete customer review alongside each featured product showcased in the RSS feed. Review content, unlike a simple product description, is highly actionable, providing RSS subscribers with authentic and relevant "customer to customer" messaging. Working with Burpee's Director of E-Commerce, Ethan Holland, we measured the average daily clickthroughs for the RSS feed and found that the days that featured customer review content had 43% more clickthroughs than the days that didn't feature review content!!
Needless to say, we were pleased but not altogether surprised to find that customers respond to other customers more readily than they respond to canned Marketing messages. This is what word of mouth is all about, and Burpee is setting an outstanding example for how retailers large and small can leverage WOM for marketing advantage.