By now, most brands and retailers syndicating reviews to the PowerReviews Open Network are aware that the four-year court ordered cross-network syndication agreement between PowerReviews and Bazaarvoice entered a one-year, wind-down period in July. As previously announced, PowerReviews secured direct syndication relationships with 25 of the largest retailers in the world 18 months ago and is continuing to accept and share review content from brands using Bazaarvoice during the wind-down period.
Unfortunately, Bazaarvoice over the objection of their retail clients and the market stopped accepting new content from brands using PowerReviews in October. To minimize disruption for brands and retailers, PowerReviews created pre-matched, pre-moderated files for all direct syndication retailers using Bazaarvoice. PowerReviews is offering retailers and brands an immediate solution with no cost and no technical work to syndicate reviews to retailers’ sites.
During November, many of Bazaarvoice’s largest retailers gave them an ultimatum: Either import the files to re-start review syndication, or they will develop a workaround or switch to a platform that will enable open review syndication. Thus far, Bazaarvoice has chosen profit motives over ensuring their retailers have the best review coverage possible.
PowerReviews will continue to work with small and large players in the industry to provide a truly open alternative that puts the retailers and brands in control, and doesn’t attempt to profit by limiting review syndication at the expense of retailers and brands.
As we work with brands and retailers to move to an open network, here are some key points to keep in mind:
- The 150 retailers participating in the PowerReviews Open Network reach 1 billion shoppers each month and represent more than $100 billion in online sales.
- PowerReviews has publicly committed to accepting content from any new brand or syndicating content to any new retailer regardless of what platform they are using. We recently welcomed Dollar General to the PowerReviews Open Network, along with five other retailers accounting for billions in online sales. There are no technical obstacles on behalf of retailers or brands to enable direct syndication.
- There are 900+ brands participating in the PowerReviews Open Network, representing $250 billion in annual revenue. In the last 90 days alone, eight of the top 10 CPG companies in the world have signed agreements to work with PowerReviews.
- PowerReviews continues to accept content at no charge from brands using Bazaarvoice during the wind-down period, despite the fact that Bazaarvoice has chosen to stop accepting content until exorbitant access fees are paid. We have seen quotes as high as $20,000 per brand per retailer to syndicate. This is resulting in syndication-only contracts that are double or triple the total fees a brand pays to work with a UGC provider.
- With competition and open networks come innovation that benefits retailers, brands and consumers. PowerReviews is now also offering Q&A syndication, image syndication, improved match rates and the ability for brands to respond to reviews and questions on retail sites.
- We are also excited to announce that for the first time, retailers who join the PowerReviews Open Network are now able to access content from a community of 1+ million reviewers and influencers who participate in the BzzAgent sampling programs and create highly valuable content beyond reviews, such as images, video and social content for hundreds of brands.
PowerReviews will continue to take an open and innovative approach to review syndication. Offering better value to brands and retailers through the PowerReviews Open Network is our #1 organizational goal. We will continue to provide new developments in the growth of the PowerReviews Open Network.
If you are a retailer impacted by the recent policy change at Bazaarvoice, review content from 900+ syndicating brands is ready to be shared and displayed. We will continue to work through this transition and ensure your review content is available and up-to-date.
Simply fill out this form or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for your syndicated reviews file, and get syndicated reviews within 1-2 weeks.
By now most brands and retailers know that for the last six years, PowerReviews and Bazaarvoice have “cross-syndicated” brand content to our respective retailers. Bazaarvoice was compelled to do so after a court determined they had violated the law and acted anti-competitively when they acquired and were subsequently forced to divest PowerReviews nearly four years ago.
As of July 3, 2018, the cross-network syndication agreement started a one-year, wind-down period to ensure a smooth transition to an open network where brands are able to syndicate directly to retailers without paying access fees. As previously announced, PowerReviews will continue accepting and sharing review content from brands using Bazaarvoice during the wind-down period. Unfortunately, Bazaarvoice, over the objection of their retail clients, stopped accepting content from new brands using PowerReviews on July 1, 2018, and recently stated they stopped accepting new content from existing brands as of September 30 unless brands signed an agreement to pay them access fees. We have recently seen evidence of Bazaarvoice attempting to charge brands double or triple the total fees that brands pay to use the PowerReviews platform and participate in the PowerReviews Open Network.
Fortunately, PowerReviews is offering brands and retailers an open alternative that is both technology agnostic and free of access fees. The PowerReviews Open Network is open to brands and retailers regardless of their review platform and it does not impose access fees. In addition to the 150+ retailers using the PowerReviews platform, 30 of the world’s largest retailers using other platforms have agreed to participate and accept brand content directly from PowerReviews. Retailers participating in the PowerReviews Open Network account for more than $1 trillion in total sales, $70 billion in online sales, reaches billions of shoppers and includes content from 1,000+ leading brands.
Despite having agreements in place with retailers, Bazaarvoice is telling the market that they control what content appears on their retailers’ sites. This is simply false. The retailers decide what content appears on their site, not Bazaarvoice nor any third party.
PowerReviews has a no cost, simple solution to ensure continued syndication for brands and retailers
PowerReviews has created pre-matched, pre-moderated files for nearly every major retailer using Bazaarvoice. Those files will continue to be updated on a daily basis with new review content from brands at no cost. There is no technical limitation to ingesting these files. PowerReviews has been sharing files with Bazaarvoice via direct feeds to syndicate review content for the last seven years. We can accept these files. So can Bazaarvoice. This is why review syndication between Jet and Bazaarvoice’s largest retail customer remains uninterrupted between Bazaarvoice and PowerReviews. Should Bazaarvoice not accept these files, PowerReviews will continue to work with retailers to provide them several options to accept brand content directly at no cost.
PowerReviews has industry leading moderation and authenticity standards. Those standards have been approved by the largest brands and retailers in the world, and have been accepted by Bazaarvoice for the last 7 years. These standards will continue.
More Benefits of The PowerReviews Open Network
As many of you know, last year PowerReviews received overwhelming industry support for an open syndication network. Brands and retailers were clear and unanimous in their desire for an affordable and accessible review syndication network. The PowerReviews Open Network was built to provide faster setup times, better product matching capabilities and new content types for syndication such as Q&A, images and video, all with no access fees for brands.
With this open and innovative approach, the largest retailers in the world signed direct agreements with PowerReviews. Today, the PowerReviews Open Network impacts more than $1 trillion in total sales and has 1,000+ leading brands participating including GlaxoSmithKline, The North Face, Ugg and World Kitchen and more. More than 25% of the top 100 CPG companies in the world use PowerReviews.
We are actively working through this transition with retailers on the Bazaarvoice platform, and we will continue to make content available.
Winning the digital shelf
Brands and retailers understand the importance of having great user-generated and brand content for their products to succeed in a hyper-competitive ecommerce channel. Great content drives more reach, shopper engagement, conversion and sales – and is the key to winning the “digital shelf.” One of the ways retailers compete in an hyper-competitive Amazon world is to work with brands to accept their syndicated content to ensure great coverage.
Reaching one billion ecommerce shoppers
PowerReviews has had a unique opportunity over the last four years to ensure that syndicating reviews and other user-generated content remain open, accessible and affordable. We created the PowerReviews Open Network to make it possible for brands and retailers of all sizes to reach more than one billion consumers wherever they shop each month.
This open and industry-friendly approach persuaded more than 800 brands to adopt the PowerReviews platform. At the same time, more than 25 of the world’s largest retailers joined hundreds of other retailers using the PowerReviews platform to participate in an open network.
Managing the transition to an open network
Recently, Bazaarvoice announced that on September 30, 2018, they will seek to require brands using PowerReviews to sign syndication agreements and pay exorbitant, unnecessary access fees to continue syndicating content to retailers using their platform.
PowerReviews has secured direct relationships with the largest retailers in the world not using our platform. PowerReviews will match content from brands that use our platform at no cost and provide retailers with an easy-to-ingest file. These direct relationships make signing new agreements and paying extra fees unnecessary. We can add new retailers quickly and easily upon request.
PowerReviews will also add additional value to brands by providing faster setup, up to 80% increases in product matching and enabling syndication of new content types such as Q&A and images.
Should Bazaarvoice attempt to block content against the wishes of their largest clients, it would be to the detriment of brands, retailers and consumers.
To be clear, let’s review the facts:
- PowerReviews has 1,000+ leading retailers and brands on our platform (including leading retailers such as Jet, Ulta, Dillard’s, Ace Hardware, and BJ’s Wholesale) accounting for billions in online sales and 500 million shopper visits.
- PowerReviews signed agreements with 25 of the largest retailers, reaching 1 billion shoppers using other review platforms (including in-house platforms) 18 months ago to directly syndicate content from brands using our platform.
- These retailers collectively reach more than one billion shoppers monthly, and represent the majority of the syndication network in terms of shopper visits and sales.
- PowerReviews has already started sending retailers fully matched and moderated files with millions of reviews from the 800+ PowerReviews brands.
- PowerReviews can onboard new retailers in 2 to 4 weeks, much faster than the current process.
This is a moment of truth for the market. Will Bazaarvoice defy the requests of their clients in a last-ditch effort to exert pricing control over a closed and proprietary network?
Will there be any disruption to network syndication?
Our goal is to minimize any disruption created by Bazaarvoice, particularly before the critical holiday shopping season. All retailers using PowerReviews will remain open and accessible to all brands without premium access fees. There are some retailers that are not yet accepting directly syndicated content. PowerReviews will work with any retailer to quickly onboard them at no cost on behalf of our brands and be fully transparent throughout this process.
The team at PowerReviews is working tirelessly on behalf of our clients and the industry to ensure an open syndication network for all. Brands and retailers need a competitive and open network that delivers more content coverage, reach, and innovation. We’ve heard from many of you and I want to personally thank you for allowing us to advocate on your behalf. Here are FAQs to answer questions immediately. For any additional questions, please contact our VP of Network (Jim O’Brien) and VP of Client Success (Jessica Teji).
What is cross-network syndication?
For the last six years, PowerReviews and Bazaarvoice have syndicated content from brands to retailers using our respective platforms. Cross-network syndication originally started in July 2012 when Bazaarvoice attempted to acquire PowerReviews. It was continued by order of a federal judge after Bazaarvoice’s attempted acquisition was found to be anti-competitive and was forced to divest PowerReviews. Prior to this time, Bazaarvoice operated a closed network and did not syndicate third party content. We estimate that Bazaarvoice has charged brands at least $100 million for access to retailers using their platform.
What is the PowerReviews Open Network?
In March 2017, PowerReviews announced the extension and expansion of the PowerReviews Open Network to provide syndication of content to any retailer seeking access to millions of reviews from more than 800+ brands using the PowerReviews platform. As always, any retailer using the PowerReviews platform can accept content from any brand regardless of the reviews platform the brand uses.
In January 2018, PowerReviews announced five new syndication capabilities and in June 2018, announced the elimination of access fees. The open network approach and benefits of competition is evident, and recognized by many of the largest retailers.
What’s happening to cross-network syndication as of July 3, 2018?
As of July 3, 2018, the cross-network syndication agreement ended and PowerReviews and Bazaarvoice entered a “wind-down period” where either party could choose to accept syndicated reviews for up to a year. PowerReviews will continue to accept new content from brands using Bazaarvoice to prevent any disruption.
Bazaarvoice notified PowerReviews on July 3rd they would no longer accept cross-network syndicated content from new PowerReviews clients. On July 16th, some PowerReviews clients heard from the Bazaarvoice sales team that Bazaarvoice plans to stop syndicating all new content from PowerReviews brands to Bazaarvoice retailers starting on September 30th, 2018. PowerReviews has not been directly notified of this change.
To be clear, due to market pressures, Bazaarvoice will accept content from brands not using their platform for a “premium access fee” which will amount to millions dollars being charged to brands to appear on retailer sites. Despite claiming $7,000 entry-level syndication pricing for a brand, Bazaarvoice is already quoting fees at $50,000 or more for a single brand looking to purchase syndication alone. As explained in January 2018, Bazaarvoice continues to believe they have the right to control and profit from content syndicated to retailers using their platform. This is where PowerReviews has a fundamentally different approach, and as it turns out, so do many of the largest retailers in the world.
What is PowerReviews doing to make sure there is minimal disruption for clients?
Eighteen months ago PowerReviews signed agreements with 25 of the largest retailers in the world, accounting for $60 billion in online sales. Direct syndication enables better match and coverage rates, faster set-up times, access to a bigger network, more content types, more transparency and more control. PowerReviews will continue to operationalize direct syndication to retailers providing our clients with additional reach.
PowerReviews is committed to working with our brand clients to make their content available to any retailer using the Bazaarvoice platform. We will match content from brands that use our platform at no cost and provide retailers with an easy-to-ingest file. These direct relationships make signing new agreements and paying extra fees unnecessary. We can add new retailers quickly and easily upon request.
How is direct syndication different than cross-network syndication for retailers?
With direct syndication agreements, PowerReviews uses the retailers’ product catalog to match content supplied by brands that use the PowerReviews platform. Previously, Bazaarvoice would perform this function for PowerReviews brands and PowerReviews would perform the same function for Bazaarvoice brands.
Operationally there is no difference to the retailer or the brand. The major change is that PowerReviews is taking on the cost and effort of matching reviews to products. The process for a retailer to receive directly syndicated content from PowerReviews is simple:
- Sign a simple no cost one-page agreement.
- Provide an up-to-date product catalog.
- PowerReview will match the content and send the already-matched file to the retailer, and Bazaarvoice need only ingest and display the content.
What’s the average timeline to enable direct syndication to a retailer?
Previously with Bazaarvoice, implementing review syndication relationships from PowerReviews could take up to 4 to 6 weeks. However, working directly with PowerReviews, we can implement a direct syndication brand or retailer in as little as 1 to 2 weeks for initial results and 2 to 3 weeks for a full implementation.
Will there be an interruption to my reviews after September 30th?
Our goal is to minimize any disruption of content syndication by Bazaarvoice, particularly before the critical holiday shopping season. All retailers using PowerReviews will remain open and accessible for all brands without premium access fees.
There will be other retailers that are not yet accepting directly-syndicated content. Upon signing a no-cost single page agreement, they can be up and running in a few weeks. PowerReviews will work with any retailer on behalf of our brands, and we will be fully transparent through this process as we establish direct syndication relationships with retailers our clients wish to syndicate reviews to.
Can you summarize the benefits of direct syndication through the PowerReviews Open Network?
- No access fees: We have eliminated cost-prohibitive access fees, which has made review syndication affordable for thousands of brands.
- $90 billion retailer network: Over a year ago, the largest retailers in the world not using our platform pledged to continue accepting our content. This is in addition to the hundreds of retailers using PowerReviews such as Jet, Ulta, Dillard’s, Ace Hardware, Thrive Market, Zappos, Overstock, Wayfair and more.
- 800+ syndicating brands (and counting): In the last year alone, PowerReviews has signed more than one new syndicating brand each day to the benefit of retailers participating in the PowerReviews Open Network. Our CPG brand clients alone represent $350 billion in annual revenue, and 25% of the 2017’s Top Consumer Goods Companies.
- Better matching services: PowerReviews’ combines a fully dedicated team and AI-powered matching technology to help clients drive 80% increases in products matched and 13% lift in total number of reviews syndicated.
- More content types for syndication: PowerReviews is enhancing review syndication by now syndicating questions, answers, social content such as images, video and more not previously available to brands and retailers. This includes our direct syndication partners.
In March 2017, PowerReviews announced the extension and expansion of the Open Network to ensure the open and competitive syndication of product reviews collected on brand sites and syndicated to leading e-commerce retailer sites. At the time, many of the largest retailers and brands publicly committed to participating because they recognized that an open network would offer more competitive pricing, greater innovation and more opportunities for brands of all sizes to participate in review syndication.
Now, just over 12 months later, PowerReviews is pleased to announce several additional milestones that reinforce the benefits of the Open Network.
Greater innovation through the Open Network
- In January 2018, PowerReviews announced the ability to syndicate Q&A content, and native and social visual content like images and video, capabilities that were not previously available to brands and retailers.
- In February 2018, PowerReviews announced the availability of Brand Engage, a service that allows brands to respond to reviews and answer questions on retailer sites. For the first time, brands are now able to pre-seed questions to anticipate what questions shoppers might have about their products. In the first 60 days alone, more than 100 brands have signed up and answered thousands of shopper questions on their retail partners’ sites. We expect to have thousands of brands sign up this year.
- In March 2018, PowerReviews began rolling out next-generation moderation capabilities that allow moderators to make more detailed observations about review content. Observations can determine publication and sharing rules to accommodate the regulatory, privacy and authenticity needs of our customers.
- In April 2018, PowerReviews introduced our cutting edge Product Knowledge Graph to power the next-generation of Artificial Intelligence product matching algorithms that address the rapid rate of change with product catalogs, and the need to match to related products and address data quality issues. Overall, brands who work with PowerReviews have experienced an 80% increase in products matched and 13% lift in total number of reviews syndicated.
- In May 2018, PowerReviews announced the availability of new and improved review and image sharing to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
- In June 2018, PowerReviews made available Social Suite, a new product that helps clients pull in images in from social media, map them to specific products and request user permission to use the image and syndicate those images to retailers across the Open Network.
Greater participation opportunities for brands of all sizes
- PowerReviews has recently reached the milestone of 800+ major brands syndicating content across the Open Network. 395 of those brands joined in the last 12 months, at the rate of more than one new brand added to the Open Network each day. Those 800+ brands are now collecting, displaying and syndicating reviews to more than one billion monthly shoppers across the Open Network.
- Hundreds of the world’s largest e-commerce retailers accounting for $90 billion in e-commerce sales, representing nearly 50% of the non Amazon e-commerce market and approximately 80% of the retail market currently accepting syndication have signed direct syndication agreements and are actively syndicating content (reviews, images, video and questions & answers) from brands using PowerReviews.
- More than 100 major brands participated in the PowerReviews’ Sampling + Syndication program that offers brands the opportunity to distribute samples to consumers to write reviews that are then syndicated to more than one billion shoppers across the Open Network.
Greater market benefits thanks to competition
- In January 2018, PowerReviews announced the elimination of access fees, which ended a practice that made review syndication cost prohibitive for thousands of brands, and hurt retailers by limiting the amount of review content that could be syndicated to their e-commerce sites. PowerReviews will also accept syndicated reviews directly from brands using 3rd party reviews providers. Eliminating cost-prohibitive access fees for brands will lead to significant increases in the amount of reviews available to retailers in the Open Network.
In conclusion, we’re proud of the progress and milestones achieved around the Open Network. PowerReviews will continue to stand by our commitment to brands and retailers, and drive competition, innovation, and choice in our industry — in pursuit of a better, and more open network for all.
For more information please see our Open Syndication Network position paper and fill out this form to learn more. For current clients, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Client Success Director.
Recently our competitor, Bazaarvoice, made an announcement that implied they, and not retailers, control what consumer review content appears on retailers’ websites. They announced that an “Open Network” is one where they continue to control access and charge access fees to the retailers in their network. PowerReviews defines an Open Network as one that permits content to flow without a gatekeeper and without access fees.
With so many eyes focused on the Open Network, I want to take this opportunity to provide clarity and certainty to the industry on how PowerReviews plans to protect the broad availability of consumer reviews.
Here are the facts.
What is well understood about review syndication?
As most brands and retailers know, review syndication is an important best practice that ensures optimal review coverage and depth. Brands collect reviews from their customers and syndicate those reviews to retailers for the benefit of consumers, the retailer and the brand. Brands and retailers count on companies like PowerReviews and Bazaarvoice to perform the mechanics of collection, moderation, syndication and reporting.
Most brands and retailers also know that for the last six years, Bazaarvoice and PowerReviews have “cross-syndicated” brand content to our respective retailers. And the industry is generally aware that Bazaarvoice was compelled to do so because a court determined they had violated the law and acted anti-competitively when they acquired and were subsequently forced to divest PowerReviews nearly four years ago.
What is not well understood about review syndication?
What most of the major retailers never fully understood or specifically agreed to, was Bazaarvoice’s practice of charging brands “access fees” for their reviews to appear on retail sites. These fees resulted in many brands not being able to afford syndication — and retailers, brands and consumers missing the benefit of better review coverage. It is common for retailers to charge fees to brands, it is unheard of for a third party technology company to do so without the explicit consent and knowledge of the retailer.
I liken this practice to a vendor who supplies shelves to a retailer and then decides, without consulting with the retailer, they are going to charge slotting fees to brands. Or an e-commerce technology platform vendor telling a retailer that brands that sell on the retailer’s site must pay the vendor a fee. Both of these examples seem absurd, but this practice of charging brands for access has been the Bazaarvoice business model for years. In fact, we estimate that Bazaarvoice has charged brands at least $100 million dollars in access fees over the past six years.
Not only has Bazaarvoice been charging exorbitant access fees to brands without informing the retailers of the practice, but for years they also required brands to use the Bazaarvoice collection platform if the brand wanted to syndicate review content. Under competitive pressure from PowerReviews and the industry, Bazaarvoice only just recently announced they would syndicate content from brands not using their platform.
But here’s the thing. It is really not up to Bazaarvoice to decide on behalf of the retailer what content will and will not appear on the retailer’s site — it is up to the retailer. And the majority of Bazaarvoice’s largest retail customers agreed nearly a year ago to continue accepting content from brands using PowerReviews. And we expect the rest of the major retailers to follow suit in the coming months. The fact is, retailers want the most content possible on their site.
They don’t want their technology vendors trying to lock their brands in to a specific technology platform, and they certainly don’t want their technology vendors charging exorbitant access fees which ultimately prevent them from receiving as much content as they could from their brand partners.
So what is PowerReviews going to do about it?
PowerReviews is making the following commitments to retailers and brands:
- PowerReviews will not charge access fees
- PowerReviews will continue to syndicate brand content to retailers who do not use our platform
- PowerReviews will continue to accept syndicated content from brands that do not use our platform
- PowerReviews will drive innovation and competition in this space
Should Bazaarvoice attempt to block access to review content we will work directly with retailers (as we already have been) to ensure they have access to the content, and we will make sure brands using Bazaarvoice’s technology have access to retailers using our technology. Our simple message to Bazaarvoice clients is “Bazaarvoice does not own your content and does not control what content appears on your site. You do.” Period. Full stop.
The agreement we currently have in place with Bazaarvoice has established methods of exchanging content, and we pay each other for basic services such as onboarding clients, moderating content when needed and product matching. We have nearly six years of operational experience with these methods. We have provided them with a proposal months ago to continue this relationship beyond July and thus far they have not responded.
We hope and expect that pressure from retailers and brands who do not want to see any interruption and see the power of choice and competition, will persuade Bazaarvoice to eventually agree to extend this agreement. However, for now it appears they are retaining a position that they can return to the old way of charging access fees.
So, to ensure continued syndication without access fees we are establishing direct connections with retailers and brands, and will be providing a solution that eliminates access fees and helps more brands and retailers benefit from syndication.
Some things you should know about PowerReviews
- PowerReviews has over 1,000 customers who reach more than 500 million shoppers each month. We currently syndicate 60 million pieces of content, across 4 million products, from more than 500 brands, to more than 500 retailers. Brands and retailers that use our platform represent hundreds of billions in sales.
- The direct syndication partnerships PowerReviews has in place with major retailers that do not use our technology help us reach another 500 million shoppers each month.
- The PowerReviews platform is capable of efficiently and affordably servicing the smallest to largest retailers and brands. We are proud of our ability to handle global clients with hundreds of sites and brands while also working with new, innovative and emerging brands. Our goal is to introduce tens of thousands of brands and retailers to content syndication.
- PowerReviews is based in Chicago, has 150 employees and has been in business for eleven years. We have an intense focus on the needs of our clients and a passion for the value of reviews and user generated content and feedback. We believe passionately in the power of transparency and accountability. And we have seen 95% net retention of our clients.
- Nearly 200 Bazaarvoice customers have switched over to the PowerReviews platform over the last three years.
- Over the last four years, PowerReviews has made substantial investments in the flexibility and sophistication of our moderation and matching technologies and services. We consider our capabilities to be best-in-class. And we have some new and innovative network-based services being released this year. We look forward to sharing those with you soon.
In conclusion, PowerReviews will operate a truly open syndication network that does not charge access fees, respects brand relationships with retailers and does not dictate to retailers what content can appear on their sites. We will accept content from brands that do not use our platform and we will syndicate to retailers who do not use our platform. This approach will benefit retailers, brands and consumers alike by encouraging competition and choice.
For more information please see our Open Syndication Network position paper and fill out this form to learn more. For current clients if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Client Success Director
Today’s consumers expect on-demand information and transparency. And they trust other consumers more than they trust brands.
In this 30-minute webinar recording, PowerReviews CEO Matt Moog explores the democratization of communication and how you can provide a platform for brand advocates to share trusted information with other shoppers.
During this on-demand webinar, Matt shares information on:
- The effect of trust and authenticity on consumers’ decision journey
- Strategies to identify, nurture, and reward potential brand advocates
- Loyalty programs that go beyond transactions and encompass engagement and advocacy
- Utilizing Ratings and Reviews and Q&A to drive web traffic, increase average order value and improve conversion rates
Increasingly, brands and retailers are adopting engagement-based loyalty tactics to evolve in tandem with the way people shop. While transaction-based loyalty programs — where purchases are linked to rewards — are successful at driving repeat sales from a single customer, engagement-based programs work to foster meaningful relationships with customers at large.
With engagement-based loyalty initiatives, customers engage with a brand or retailer in a variety of ways: Contributing content such as user photos, writing reviews, giving feedback on their experience and participating in online communities to answer questions from other consumers. When executed correctly, engagement-based loyalty initiatives provide brands with a steady stream of feedback and user-generated content about their products and services.
As more brands and retailers adopt engagement-based loyalty programs, there are several best practices to keep in mind.
- Align with branding. Engagement-based loyalty programs need to align with the organization’s overall branding strategy. From graphics to program components, such as badging systems, every element of your loyalty initiatives must seamlessly integrate with your online and offline branding.
- Identify desired outcomes. During the development stage, it’s important to determine the desired result, specifically looking at which customer behaviors you want to promote, and then tailor the initiative accordingly. For example, if you want to encourage the creation of product reviews, your approach should be different than if you want to motivate customers to share user-generated images over social media.
- Think long term. Your engagement-based loyalty initiatives need to keep people engaged with your brand over a long period of time. Rewards and game levels should be achievable — but not too easy. Ideally, your initiative will remain active online for years to come, so customers shouldn’t be able to hit peak levels within a month or two.
Finally, one of the keys to successful engagement-based loyalty is that your initiatives must have a direct and clearly communicated benefit for consumers. Why should they participate in this program? When you invite people to participate in an initiative, make it crystal clear what the person stands to gain in terms of reciprocal value.
For many brands and retailers, the right loyalty mix is a strategy of both transaction-based and engagement-focused initiatives. In 2015, consider adopting an engagement-based loyalty strategy for your brand and stay ahead of the curve, identifying your most engaged customers and improving your ability to turn them into brand advocates.