For all of the discussion about product ratings and reviews in the past year, their widespread adoption by the world’s most upscale retailers has not gained much mention – until now.
Just in time for the holiday rush, Saks Fifth Avenue is rolling out its new ratings and reviews system powered by Bazaarvoice on Saks.com. While the larger shift toward ratings and reviews throughout the e-commerce industry has been discussed here often, Saks’ move is indicative of a more recent trend among some of the world’s most established retailers of luxury items.
Later this month Saks will unveil its five-star reviews platform, similar to the Bazaarvoice-powered system that was implemented by Nordstrom at this time last year. More recently, Bloomingdales and Nieman Marcus have installed their own online reviews platforms in which customers can share their opinions about products ranging in price from a few dollars for cosmetics to several thousand dollars for designer shoes, dresses and handbags.
It is an interesting and perhaps significant new relationship between upscale retail and the increasingly effective online selling mechanism of user-generated reviews. With Internet sales improving at a faster rate than their in-store counterparts, ratings and reviews platforms are a way for retailers to generate more e-commerce revenues for the holidays and beyond.
But the marriage between customer product reviews and luxury retailers may take some getting used to for some. Already, fashion designers and certain brand’s executives have expressed the need for some changes in their own attitudes if their products and creations are to be open for online appraisal and not just reviewed more intimately by an elite group of journalists and consumers.
The fact that Saks, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales and Nieman Marcus have gone in this direction reflects their assertion that e-commerce is vital to the success of their businesses and that of the brands they carry, and that ratings and reviews are vital to their success in e-commerce. The next step is determining if the two are, in fact, the right fit.
Bazaarvoice is one of the leading providers of product ratings and reviews, and – on the other end of the retail spectrum – has also just announced Walgreen’s as the newest high-profile partner to implement its successful platform. Other leaders in the space include PowerReviews, RatePoint and RateVoice, all of which will be examined in the upcoming December issue of Website Magazine.