I recently sat down with David Seifert, director of direct marketing operations at BassPro, to discuss how he and the BassPro merchandising team considered Ratings and Reviews…as well as how they impact the business with the customer voice now and in the future.
A concern of many Retailers is around Negative Reviews. How did you convince your peers and management to move forward with reviews despite this concern?
We showed them examples that indicated there aren't normally that many negative reviews. And if there are, they are isolated to small number of items. In fact, I have heard that Amazon initially thought they were going to have issues with negative reviews, but it turned out the resulting conversion rate was overwhelmingly positive. So even if there are some negative reviews, it made sense to put reviews on our site.
What was critical to BassPro and merchants in your choice of ratings/review solution?
They thought it was important the customer reviews were proofed before published. Everyone was open to constructive feedback on products which genuinely help other customers, but it isn't an appropriate forum for competitive comparisons or venting customer service issues. Overcoming that objection was easy with the focus Bazaarvoice has in this area.
What benefits did Merchandisers see coming from ratings and reviews?
They are very interested in the impact to returns. You don't necessarily know why people are returning the product. Reason codes aren't real and not specific. People don't think you'll accept the return, so they'll always choose “defective” or “wrong size”, even though the real reason is they didn't like a feature or shortcoming of the product.
How do you expect your merchandiser to use this data?
Some are extremely interested in this data, and others are just starting to look at it. We've seen buyers who are looking forward to getting the Bazaarvoice reports to determine what are people saying they really like, because you can look at expanding assortment in those categories.
For a couple items that we've seen significant negative reviews for, customers are commenting on the design. So merchandisers can use this data on where they should resource this type of product as well as evaluating our suppliers.