Guest-written by Leah Chaney, Bazaarvoice Community Manager

Alex Miller, Director of Programming at QVC, talks about the company’s experience with Bazaarvoice Ratings & Reviews and specifically their use of “top-rated” products.

1. What has your experience been with Ratings & Reviews? What made you decide to feature customer favorites on the air?

QVC deployed Bazaarvoice Ratings & Reviews in April of 2007, and while I understood we had a passionate and engaged community of shoppers, I was still surprised by the customer response that we received. QVC had over 10x our expected daily review volume, providing – almost overnight – a new product information resource for our customers and a gold mine of great user input for our own teams. Like any good retailer, we looked for ways to use this information to help drive sales, and after testing some Customer Top Rated promotions online, we decided to highlight highly-rated products on air. This started at an item level and eventually led to a full one-hour show that debuted this past June.

In June 2008, QVC Featured “Customer Choice,” a show focused on top-rated products. Here’s how they promoted it…

Customer Choice: We asked, and you told us what you want to see on QVC®! You’ve already made some of our best products Customer Top Rated by giving them great reviews on QVC.com, and now you can find a special selection of these all stars in an exciting show called Customer Choice. As a QVC customer, you’ve proven yourself to be among the savviest shoppers around, and we’re thanking you by letting you pick the items that we sell in this show! You won’t want to miss this – tune in for great products, opportunities to interact with the show, and lots of fun during Customer Choice.

2. How has user-generated content amplified your community and their involvement with QVC?

We knew that featuring top-rated products would increase sales for those products, but were concerned that it would have a negative impact on the products that were not labeled “Top Rated.” We also knew we needed to make sure we had a process internally to deal with our low-rated products before we could leverage our top rated product.

Once we had that in place, we wanted to make sure the customer would understand an endorsement from a QVC Host or Guest versus their own endorsement. When we first used this on air we made sure the graphic read “Customer Top Rated” to reinforce the idea that this is a label that our customers have assigned to this product, not the merchants. Leveraging lessons learned from our live testimonial calls on air, we took excerpts from the reviews and displayed them on air, unedited, to reinforce the Customer Top Rated label.

Customer reviews have now become an important tool and resource in our programming and merchandising strategies. They reinforce the trust our customers have with QVC and help to take our customers one step closer to an experience of shopping with their friends.

Something that’s currently got the team excited is the information we’re gathering from some of the contextual questions we added to our product reviews. Recently, we started asking customers whether they would recommend the item as a gift and for whom when they complete a product review. We hope to see customers using this feature to help recommend gifts to each other and to be able to leverage this feedback to help us plan on-air and online promotions.

Assuming all goes as planned, keep your eye out for a “Customer Gift Picks” show on QVC in the future, just in time for the Holidays.

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