High Performance Marketing On Product Review Sites
By Peter Prestipino
Customer reviews are an integral part of the online shopping experience today. A December 2008 Nielsen study found that 81 percent of online shoppers read product or retailer reviews by other customers when holiday shopping. Additionally, 71 percent agreed that consumer reviews make them more comfortable they are buying the right product. Try conducting a few product searches and you’ll also find that customer reviews are increasingly included in natural results.
But obtaining reviews can require a monumental effort — the Nielsen study found that 63 percent of respondents evaluate customer reviews based on multiple ratings. So how do you solicit multiple, high-quality ratings and reviews without a time-intensive customer relations campaign?
By leveraging platforms whose sole purpose is for users to rate and review merchant products, the opportunity for driving an incredible amount of natural traffic, as well as increase conversions is within reach.
Where do consumers end up after conducting a search? Increasingly, shoppers land at vertical sites and, in the case of e-commerce, they are going to shopping engines. Review traffic and user engagement reports for 10 of the most popular shopping engines at Website Magazine, keyphrase “shopping engines.”
What follows are several popular product review websites. These sites take much of the work out of identifying worthy reviewers, but merchants must be open to sharing in the dialogue, and willing to accept the good with the bad. Some are affiliated with top comparison shopping engines, so you may already be listed in some places if you have added your product to those advertising and marketing services.
Epinions.com is a service by Shopping.com (an eBay company) that provides consumer-generated reviews, buying tips and advice, ratings and price information, and is searchable in a variety of ways from price to product type. Merchants must be using Shopping.com to have their listings appear at Epinions. Another important note is that Epinions compensates its members for their reviews of products.
Sazze.com is a product review site with a heavy social component. The service is based on a reputation system that takes the idea of giving and receiving positive feedback as an incentive for increased interaction between users. There is no obvious way for merchants to have their products listed or reviewed, but genuine participation in the burgeoning network could yield benefits for retailers.
Buzzillions.com is a product research portal that leverages tagbased reviews from parent company PowerReviews’ clients, which reads like a who’s who of Internet retailers including REI, Toys ’R Us, Radio Shack, and others. Merchants can include products and verify reviews for items sold through their online catalog. While large merchants will pay thousands of dollars per month for the privilege of appearing at Buzzillions, merchants looking to test the waters can use the PowerReviews Express service (PowerReviewsExpress.com) to get listed at Buzzillions, starting at $80 per month.
BuySafeShopping.com is the product review service of the bonded seller program BuySafe. Users buy products from trusted merchants who are required to fulfill certain qualifications before getting listed. Merchants interested in being listed can become a bonded seller and get direct access to buyers looking to purchase from trusted stores in a trusted marketplace. For merchants using BuySafe, a listing is free.
Mpire.com is a product review and comparison shopping portal that allows users to find popular brand name products through its proprietary metasearch, pricing and relevancy technology. Merchants can get listed through one of several affiliates including Amazon.com, Overstock, eBay or Buy.com. Mpire also offers WidgetBucks (which uses a contextual technology dubbed MerchSense), an e-commerce advertising network of shopping widgets for Web publishers.
Keep in mind that there are hundreds of quality product review sites (such as ReviewCentre.com, ResellerRatings.com and Wize.com) on the ’Net and that this list is merely a sample of the many available to merchants. The benefits of having products listed, rated and reviewed are numerous. In addition to the additional exposure, a new opportunity to acquire feedback by actively participating in a community presents itself through the use of these sites. While there is most definitely a cost involved in adding these services to an online marketing campaign, the cost of not doing so may be even greater.