NOT CUSTOMERS, BUT POETS

Let them write and they will come! This week we’re looking at the dreaded return of ‘customer reviews’.

Puppies never had it so good Forget Shoreditch, it’s Hampstead in leafy north London that’s turning into a real e-comm powerhouse. My lovely neighbours, Lily’s Kitchen have just bagged a few million in funding from Catterton for expansion of their fast-growing deluxe pet food brand. Delights like “Mini Slow Cooked Lamb Hotpot for Dogs” and “Herb Chicken with Carrots and Peas” have brought thousands of loyal furry customers to Lily’s. But we can let you in on the real secret – it’s not just the cooking, it’s the Feefo.com review box on each of Lily’s products that makes the site so ‘sticky’. The customers post comments on their pet’s satisfaction level and create lovely, heartfelt copy for every product page which becomes great narrative content for the site. The bonus is that, although the reviews are anonymous, with time the reviewing owners get to know each other, make contact offline and many have formed dog-walking circles after meeting on Lily’s Kitchen review pages, creating a kind of Facebook for discerning pet owners! Congrats on the funding and making pet ownership even more fun!

Follow the stylist Feefo is also a big factor in the success of TK Maxx, as the product reviews come in on a rolling, minute-by-minute basis. Here, the customers share their love for a bargain and often drop in comments not just on a specific dress but also their tips on other companies’ offerings, making it compulsive reading. The added value is that Feefo publishes (anonymously) which combinations of products have been reviewed by the same customers. If someone commented on a dress, bag and shoes combo it may pay to see if that particular outfit is something worth recreating for yourself. A tip: we found some great stylists floating on Feefo and cut down our shopping time by just copying what they bought. Good when you’re in a hurry (which is pretty much everyone all the time these days).

Suits you, sir! Just over 22% of male fashion is influenced by online reviews and that tends to increase with the more pricey items like coats or suits. Moss Bros. invites buyers to review their service and suits not just online but also in-store; they even ask you to include the name of the assistant that helped you (for many, the first suit buying process is high on the horror scale of right-of-passage traumas). Staff have noticed the impact and are working hard on becoming as knowledgeable and helpful as your best Victoria’s Secret in-store angel. Other suit retailers would do well to follow Moss Bros. as it not only improves sales and helps SEO (Google loves honest reviews) but also motivates staff and provides cracking insights in real time. Suits us.

Waitrose’s big cheese Followers of Retail Bytes know that we are partial to British cheese, and in particular to native Stiltons. You can’t go wrong if you’re following Waitrose’s cheese reviews – we unearthed a sterling 5 star write-up of Cropwell Bishop White Stilton. This is a super cheese, a winner at the International Cheese Awards held in France, where Waitrose’s wonderful buyer Chris Dawson has been awarded with membership of the Guilde De Fromage de Sain Uguzon (a big deal for a non-French cheese buyer). The Waitrose reviews platform is powered by Authentic Reviews (aka Bazaarvoice.com) and is considered to be particularly strong on verification as to whether the feedback has come from real customers (and not just the owner’s mates). Good call on the platform as well as the cheese – our Cropwell has just arrived. Bon appetit!

No more bad hair (dye) days! Hair colouring disasters are folk tales passed around many a girls-only dinner, with each of us having suffered a trauma or two after picking up the wrong product. It’s no wonder reviews on hair care and beauty products influence over 56% of purchases. The value of the product is low(ish) but the risk is high as nobody wants to sport green hair when aiming at lovely copper, like Anne of Green Gables. Superdrug’s kamikaze strategy of posting un-moderated hair colour reviews, warts and all, on their hair product pages seems to be paying back, as the word on the street is that Superdrug is honest enough to be trusted!

Contact us for help in selecting and installing your own review platform as the social aspect of shopping makes a comeback.