Today JupiterResearch released and announced a report on user-generated content for retail — specifically the use and impact of ratings and reviews for retailers. We launched our own release with more detail, below.
This is exciting for us because this independent study validates what we've seen in actual results with our clients. In the words of Patti Freeman-Evans, the analyst on this report,
"Shoppers who find user-generated reviews and ratings useful tend to spend more heavily online than average online buyers do. Moreover, they are more likely to say they are highly loyal to, buy more frequently from, and return their purchases less frequently to stores that feature user-generated product reviews. This is the winning trifecta of positive results from reviews and ratings features and speaks to the overall value of such a program in terms of profitability and customer retention. "
Leading Retail Analyst Shows Retailers Can Gain Market Share
Through Consumer-Generated Product Ratings & Reviews
Leading analyst firm says product ratings and reviews achieve a “winning trifecta” of increased loyalty, purchase frequency, and reduced returns for online retailers
Austin, TX – August 15, 2006 – Bazaarvoice, an innovator in helping brands use online word of mouth to build their businesses, today announced that JupiterResearch recently issued a study that shows retailers can drive sales by adding user-generated ratings and reviews to their Web sites. The report, entitled Retail Marketing: Driving Sales Through Consumer-Created Content, cites user-generated ratings and reviews as the second most important site feature behind search, and says that retailers who adopt ratings and reviews as a differentiator and retention strategy will gain market share.
“The recent report from JupiterResearch supports exactly what we’ve been seeing in the market,” said Brett Hurt, founder and CEO of Bazaarvoice. “Online retailers are adopting customer reviews as a way to create brand loyalty and increase sales. Our clients tell us that launching consumer-generated reviews is their important site initiative of the year, and we’re working closely with each of them to ensure it’s also the most successful.”
Reviews are Exploding
Trust in “someone like me” for advice and referrals has exploded from 20 percent to 68 percent in the last two years. (Edelman, January 2006). Recent surveys of top retailers from Shop.org and MarketingSherpa found that customer reviews were a top merchandising tactic. The recent report by JupiterResearch found that the number of online buyers who cite customer ratings and reviews as the most useful shopping site feature has more than doubled from 2005 to 2006.
Reviews Create Loyalty & Drive Sales
In addition to rising demand for consumer reviews, JupiterResearch also found that online shoppers who find user-generated product ratings and reviews useful are heavier online spenders than average online buyers. For example, online buyers who write a lot of product reviews make up only 20 percent of the online shopping population, but account for 32 percent of online sales. JupiterResearch also found that shoppers that find reviews useful are more likely to say they are more loyal to, buy more frequently from and return their purchases less frequently to stores that feature consumer-generated product reviews and ratings.
“Across the board, Bazaarvoice clients are finding that reviewers are their most valuable customers,” Hurt continued. “By increasing the loyalty of these influential, high-spending customers, retailers will significantly grow sales by enabling this feature.”
Reviews Are Positive
All retailers want to understand how negative reviews will impact their business. Recent research suggests that there is less to be concerned about than many retailers might imagine. According to research by KellerFay Group, 63 percent of all word of mouth is positive. Across all of Bazaarvoice clients, 80 percent of product ratings are 4 or 5 stars out of 5. As a third confirmation, JupiterResearch’s study concludes that 60 percent of online shoppers provide feedback about a shopping experience, and are more likely to give feedback about a positive experience than a negative one.
“I know the level of expertise and customization that is required to service large retailers, which is why Bazaarvoice offers a hosted and fully managed solution for on-site customer ratings and reviews,” says Sam Decker, vice president of marketing and products for Bazaarvoice and the former manager for Dell.com’s consumer web site. “We work closely with every client to help them customize a review program, manage the complete reviews process, and help them leverage reviews in their marketing and merchandising programs.”
In the JupiterResearch report, author Patti Freeman-Evans says that the “license model offers expertise and flexibility at a moderate cost.” Bazaarvoice offers hosted technology, full community management services, a dedicated account team, deep community analytics and syndication services to retailers for a fixed monthly subscription cost.
"This model, most notably offered by Bazaarvoice, allows retailers to take advantage of a great deal of vendor expertise, while retaining a good deal of flexibility in customizing the site experience to their individual needs,” writes Freeman-Evans, retail analyst at JupiterResearch. “The vendor takes on the responsibility of looking over the reviews for publication and provides services that assist retailers with optimization and marketing efforts.”
For more information about the Jupiter report, Retail Marketing: Driving Sales Through Consumer-Generated Content, please visit http://www.jupiterresearch.com or contact Bazaarvoice at http://www.bazaarvoice.com.
Based in Austin, Texas, Bazaarvoice offers outsourced technology, community management services, analytics, and syndication to encourage and harness word of mouth marketing, and bring it closer to a company’s brand and customer experience. The company’s flagship hosted and fully managed customer ratings and review service allows businesses to enable, encourage, and analyze customer ratings and reviews on their website. With Bazaarvoice, companies can empower their customers to share honest opinions and influence each other to make more informed and rewarding purchase decisions. Clients like CompUSA, Overstock.com, and PETCO benefit from a credible and reliable customer-to-customer community, without having to delve into complex IT work or the laborious process of community management. Bazaarvoice is a winner of the “Red Herring 100 North America” award by Red Herring magazine. For more information, please visit the company’s website at www.bazaarvoice.com or email document.write('firstname.lastname@example.org<\/a>'); email@example.com .