Are syndicated product reviews good for retailers?
Review syndication, where brands basically share user-generated reviews with their retail partners, has apparently become fairly common and is promising to help retailers compete with the expansive review sections found on Amazon.com.
As an example, a USA Today article exploring the practice noted how a review first penned on thenorthface.com was also placed on rei.com and nordstrom.com. According to PowerReviews, one of the leading aggregators of reviews, retailers receive 58 percent of their review content from syndication.
For retailers, improving the number of reviews and the quantity of reviewed products provides consumers with more confidence to make a purchase. The same study found the average consumer reads seven reviews before trusting a business — up from six a year ago. PowerReviews’ research finds shoppers saying they’ll turn to a search engine (45 percent), Amazon (40 percent) or another brand or retailer (20 percent) if there aren’t enough reviews.
For brands, more reviews can boost sell-through on third-party sites. Brands generally pay an access fee and/or a co-op fee to merchants to support review syndication.
The three main aggregators and distributors of reviews — BazaarVoice, TurnTo and PowerReviews — claim to make it clear to consumers that the reviews first appeared elsewhere. A review of a Lego product on Walmart.com, for example, includes a tag reading, “Written by a customer while visiting shop.LEGO.com”
The reviews are also unedited, nor censored, brands are prohibited from submitting only favorable reviews.
One potential downside is that consumers don’t always know their review is being dispersed to other websites. Technically, reviewers agree to the terms in posting the initial review, but many don’t read the fine print.
In a blog entry, Jarod Karns, a digital marketing consultant, believes using syndicated reviews “looks fake,” particularly if consumers find duplicates across the internet.
But Bazaarvoice’s just-released Shopper Experience Index finds growth of visual content and mobile shopping making consumer-generated content (CGC) a more valuable part of the shopping experience. With more than 50 percent of product display page views now occurring on mobile devices, the study finds CGC becoming a more critical influencer of in-store sales.
- Local Consumer Review Survey – BrightLocal
- Retailers are using online reviews from other sites to fight Amazon – USA Today
- PowerReviews Joins Shopify Plus Technology Partner Program – PowerReviews
- User Generated Content Attracts Shoppers – MediaPost
- Syndicated Reviews Boost Sales For Underperforming Products At Adorama – Retail TouchPoints
- Unlocking The Power Of Review Syndication – Retail IT Insights
- Bazaarvoice syndication: How brands and retailers amplify consumer-generated content – Bazaarvoice
- Why Review Syndication is a Bad Idea – Jarod Karns
- Bazaarvoice Introduces Shopper Experience Index 2018 – Bazaarvoice
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see review syndication helping retailers even the playing field with Amazon? Do you have any qualms around retailers running reviews first posted on their brand partner websites?