July 17, 2015 by John Swords
Collecting great customer-generated content (CGC) is only half the game. Figuring out how to use it for maximum impact is the other half. Here’s an example of a brand using a particular type of CGC – what we call “Checkout Chatter” – to power a great email campaign. Tip-of-the-hat to Sur La Table for their creativity. We think you’ll find this inspiring.
Here, Sur La Table is building the email around a selection of the checkout comments from their “Cart Talk” pinboard. They are not only introducing the Cart Talk function of the site, they are making a range of their products look super attractive by augmenting the product images with this particular type of CGC, providing endorsement and social validation. While customer reviews can be difficult to work into outbound messaging without undermining their authenticity, checkout comments have a different feeling – an immediacy – that makes them well-suited for promotional uses.
Sur La Table’s “Cart Talk” captures customer sentiments at the time of purchase with the simple question, “Why did you choose this?” and turns it into a social share on the site for those still browsing. Because it is captured at the point of purchase, the sentiment is consistently positive and it is a great asset to build enthusiasm around products – not to mention SEO.
It’s just one piece of the ongoing strategy Kevin Ertell, SVP of Digital at Sur La Table has for building community with customers leveraging product insights contributed by the customers themselves. You can read and hear more about that in our previous blog entry.
Our clients using Checkout Chatter capture these checkout comments from shoppers on up to 15% of all orders. What brand wouldn’t benefit from massive amounts of positive-sentiment user-generated comments about their products that could be easily sprinkled throughout their site? Empowering customers with the ability to share their thoughts or experience with purchased products helps reassure their fellow shoppers that they will be making a wise decision. And that leads to increased conversion rates.
January 31, 2010 by George Eberstadt
The Economist has a special section this week on social networking. They include the chart below pointing out that friend recommendations are the most trusted source of product information. What’s interesting here is just how far ahead friend recommendations are from the next closest source; eyeballing the “trust completely” bar, the factor appears to be almost 3X.
So if trust is important in your sales and marketing, you really need to be thinking about how to harness the power of social networks.
June 22, 2009 by George Eberstadt
Word-of-mouth has a radically greater impact on purchase behavior when it comes from friends than from strangers (like bloggers), according to a Mintel survey of buying behavior, just cited in eMarketer,
eMarketer says: “While bloggers may bring buzz to a product, converting the buzz to sales is another matter.”
“It’s interesting to find that as much time as we spend online, we still prefer a personal recommendation from someone we know and trust,” said Chris Haack of Mintel.
Here’s their data:
April 23, 2009 by George Eberstadt
There are lots of reasons why advice from friends is so much more influential than advice from strangers. Trust is a big one. The Wall Street Journal today has a piece about the growing sway marketers have over product recommendations online. “Paid to Pitch: Product Reviews by Bloggers Draw Scrutiny.” I was particularly struck by the marketer who requires bloggers he hires to use a seal that says “Sponsored Post. 100% Real Opinion.” It’s so murky. Even if the overwhelming majority of amateur reviewers have no commercial interest (or hope of one in the future), the fact that some do undermines trust in the rest. There is always something comforting about knowing that the person you’re getting advice from is putting you first.
December 12, 2008 by George Eberstadt
A couple recent studies by BIGresearch that look at purchase influence factors across all media – traditional and online – shed further light on the importance of the personal advice network. As a pair, they paint an interesting picture: person-to-person product recommendations are the #1 influence factor on buyers (at least for a number of product categories), and they are the preferred way for recommenders to deliver their advice.
One study, conducted for the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, shows that word-of-mouth is the top influence channel for electronics (44.4%) and apparel purchases (34.3%). In electronics, product reviews came in second (36.8%) and retail advertising inserts came in third (29.2%). In apparel, retail advertising inserts came in second (33.3%) and in-store promotions came in third (30.4%).
The other, reprinted in eMarketer, shows that across all age groups, the primary means through which people communicate product recommendations are the traditional ones – face-to-face, email, and phone – with blogs and communities far behind. What’s significant here is that the leaders are primarily point-to-point channels, not mass communications channels, highlighting that people with advice to offer prefer to deliver it directly to the person who needs it. (OK, people could be email blasting their product recommendations to their friends, but I suspect the dominant mode here is more targeted.)