This blog post is guest-written by Lisa Tu, Bazaarvoice Community Manager.

Urban Outfitters, one of the world’s more innovative apparel retailers, is known for creating a unique connection between their product and customer. They build this connection by providing artistic and distinctive messaging that captures the customer’s attention and leaves them wanting more. Urban Outfitters has always been an innovative client that pushes our best practices to the next level. Instead of sending a Top Rated email that features reviews, they decided to create buzz around their Top Reviewers, ultimately fostering a sense of community engagement.Urban Outfitters' Top Reviewers email

The email featured six of their Top Reviewers, ranging from the Top 25 to Top 1,000. Each reviewer is represented by a photo linking to their Reviewer Profile, and the email also features a few Customer Favorites. The campaign received a fantastic response, encouraging more customers to write reviews for a chance to get noticed as a true brand advocate.

In a recent interview with the Marketing Team at Urban Outfitters Direct, they were able to shed some light on the inspirations and outcomes of this campaign:

How effective has Ratings & Reviews been for your business? What do Top Reviewers mean to you?

Megan Goldberg (Marketing Manager): Ratings & Reviews effectively give us the opinions of our customer. Our Top Reviewers are the people who are not only purchasing our merchandise, but care enough to comment on it for the rest of our customer base to see. They are our biggest supporters as well as our biggest critics. Even negative reviews allow us the opportunity to make product quality adjustments, change the way items are shown on the site, update product descriptions, and enhance the overall brand experience.
What was the inspiration behind this campaign?

Megan: During the holiday season we delivered a “Top Rated” email that showcased nine of our highest rated items on the site, and it performed extremely well. This time around, we were looking for a unique way of highlighting the R&R functionality on our site. Instead of focusing on the merchandise, we looked toward our top contributors for inspiration. Turns out, our customers take ratings & reviews very seriously and luckily, it comes across in the photos they upload to our site.

All of the reviewers featured in this email have a unique sense of style. How did you select these reviewers?

Megan: I personally went through all photos submitted by our top contributors. I was pleasantly surprised to see how cool our contributors were – they are consistent with our aspirational customer. They are trendy, smart, creative – everything we expect out of our customers and more.

Did this campaign perform to your expectations?

Mya Gupta (Marketing Coordinator): After the campaign launch, we initially saw a 139% increase in reviews per day (86-203 reviews per day). To this day, we still have not seen the amount of daily reviews drop below 130 reviews per day. In reference to photos uploaded, we saw an increase of 239% in photos submitted per week (18-61 photos) since the email delivered. The amount of photos submitted within a week has not dropped below 35, which is double the amount we were used to seeing before the email.

You’re currently preparing to launch Ask & Answer; how do you plan to use A&A to expand your social strategy?Urban Outfitters' "The Way They Wore It" campaign

Mike Isabella (Marketing & Business Development Manager): We see Ask & Answer as a compliment to Ratings & Reviews. We plan to incorporate it into our product detail page and encourage customers to enter into a conversation with each other. It’s already happening naturally at the R&R level, and with a little encouragement, we see A&A possibly growing larger than R&R. Given the positive response to R&R and our other “show us how you wore it” campaigns, A&A seems like a natural forum for our fashion forward and advice seeking crowds.

Urban Outfitters will always push the envelope with marketing user-generated content to build a strong community base. You can stay up to speed with them by checking out on their Blog, becoming a fan on Facebook, or following them on Twitter. Stay tuned for what’s to come next.UrbanOutfitters.com