As consumers, we’re constantly looking for information to validate our purchase decisions. Does this tablet have the right screen size and computing power? Exactly how brown is this “chocolate mocha” dining room set? Will these shoes match this purse, and are they true to size?
Product reviews have become a critical part of the consumer purchase process and have the power to turn hesitant consumers into confident buyers. Even Google has recognized the value of reviews, recently introducing a five-star rating system into its Product Listing Ads (PLAs) to make review information more readily available to consumers as they search for products.
Brands must ensure product and review information is easily accessible to those curious consumers at the moment of purchase. As consumers’ purchase behaviors continue to evolve with new channels, more brands are looking to increase visibility of their products through the syndication of product reviews to retail sites and search engines.
Here are the three most important reasons brands should maximize their reach through review syndication:
1. Participate in the consumer conversation. Many brand websites act as a hub for consumers to share reviews, testimonials and their overall experience with a product. These sites often attract the most passionate fans who create loads of rich, incredibly valuable content. However, many brand pages aren’t transactional or are just one of many places consumers can purchase a brand’s products.
With syndication, brands can ensure that all consumers have access to the rich content and reviews housed on the brand page, and thereby insert themselves into the consumer conversation wherever a brand’s products are sold. For example, L’Oreal’s website lorealparisusa.com is a consumer engagement tool educating visitors on fashion, beauty and its product offerings while collecting reviews on its complete line of products. Those reviews are then syndicated to other retailers like ULTA and Walgreens. By syndicating reviews, more consumers are exposed to the customer experiences of others when making purchase decisions.
2. Create a personalized buying experience that’s easy to navigate. While one consumer may want a compact DSLR camera with the newest auto-stabilization technology, another just needs something with a long battery life. At the same time, not every product can be the fastest, biggest, newest, cheapest and best. That’s where tags come into play. A tag-based review system scans all product reviews for commonly used words and phrases to put together a quick snapshot of the most referenced product characteristics as well as pros and cons. When reviews are tagged based on product attributes (e.g., this desk might be less expensive, but the trade-off is that it takes a long time to assemble), the shopper gets a clearer idea of what they’re buying.
Not every product is going to be a perfect fit for every consumer. However, a tag-based review system can help match the consumer to the right product for them, which results in a more personalized, authentic experience with the brand.
3. Better understand your audience. As mentioned above, it’s the most passionate fans that frequent brand pages. Therefore, when brands syndicate their reviews, they can see the native content from those avid customers in line with the reviews collected on retailer sites. With proper analysis, brands can track how the two batches of reviews compare.
Are customers purchasing from one retailer looking for different features and functionality than those purchasing directly from the brand page? Understanding the nuances in customer expectations can help brands improve their products and optimize product pages in order to properly appeal to each audience.