With the explosive growth of international markets, Bazaarvoice has expanded the Client Services team overseas starting with their first Community Manager, focused on the needs of its UK and European clients. Anna Skaya, our International Community Manager, gives us a quick look into the growing UK online community.

by Anna Skaya, International Community Manager

Londoners are huge talkers! On the mobile, at the tube stations, or in queue at the loo, there is a constant exchange of information on every level and in every direction. Plus – with the reputation of being the most international city in the world – it happens in every language! It is no surprise that I am finding that the online community in the UK to be just as vocal.

Word of mouth IS London. I know it firsthand – as a recent arrival, I already know where they serve the best Sunday Roast, or where to find the best tikka masala, or that I can get the coolest knickers at Primark (no kidding!) – all without ever opening a guidebook or patrolling the city.  Londoners LOVE to talk. On the tube and in the pub, as well as on blogs, and our client’s sites – everyone is doing their part to make me feel like a local.

So far, I have been genuinely impressed with my clients, and some of the biggest UK names like Screwfix, Wickes, Boden and Halfords are driving the UK online industry. Their fresh ideas and forward-thinking Ratings and Reviews and Ask & Answer branding is reaching the best audiences, and growing a fantastic online community. 
What I’ve learned so far…

Brits are positive about products! Our recent study proved that UK shoppers are even more positive than US shoppers when it comes to reviews. 88% of UK reviews have a  4 and 5-star ratings, and 80% of UK reviewers have written six or more online reviews – showing huge brand engagement. I love this stat – I think it shows that the market in the UK is smaller, allowing for more consumer loyalty with set brands. UGC makes that connection and loyalty with the brand even stronger! I knew this story really hit on something big when I saw it picked up in almost a dozen publications this week, including Internet Retailing, New Media Age, NetImperative, and more!

This is tremendous news for our client here – the need for word of mouth and the excitement generated by these stats truly show the importance and necessity of the customer voice in the industry. As we gear up for our Social Commerce Summit in Austin, look to the UK to be driving many of the new ideas on social media, blogging and consumer intelligence. And I’ll be bringing all the learnings back to the UK for our clients who can’t make the trip to across the Atlantic.

UK clients embrace multi-channel marketing! While use of reviews overall continues to build in the UK, what really sets this market apart are the fresh ideas and new brand voices – there is just so much room for creativity and innovation here!  Boden’s post-purchase email is a great example of how they extend their personal voice beyond their site while collecting more reviews, and their “weekend getaway” email is terrific – and so innovative that Kelly Mooney (author of The Open Brand) blogged about them!

My favorite frills and lace client, Figleaves, recently blogged on their uber-fun blogleaves to encourage customers to become their lucky 10,000th reviewer. Way to get the whole community pumped up about your milestone! And check out the ultimate use of multi-channel far beyond the website, even on a double-decker bus! 

This is only the beginning! We are rocking it in the UK – the energy is high, and there is so much to do! My favorite part? Meeting my UK clients in person and helping them innovate with their customer-generated content. It makes the 300 days of rain all seem worthwhile!

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