It's common for your favourite e-commerce website to have reviews of products. In fact, consumers are increasingly using reviews and other user-generated content to make their purchase decisions. As a result, social commerce has become a critical asset to e-commerce.
Our Manifesto was recently dicsussed on Radio 4's consumer affairs show, You and Yours, where the in-house consumer advocates seemed impressed by our commitment to publishing all reviews - good or bad, 5 or 500.
You can listen to the program again on BBC iPlayer (starting from 23.35 minutes in), or read the transcript:
Social commerce, like all commerce, runs on a currency of trust. That trust has been damaged in recent years by public scandals around businesses faking reviews, deleting negative reviews and paying for positive feedback.
As well as being illegal, this unscrupulous manipulation of social commerce negatively impacts every business and every consumer using reviews, consumer Q&A or other social commerce content. Consumers lose faith in one of the most popular and useful shopping tools; while businesses lose the boosts to sales and consumer loyalty social commerce can deliver.
More and more companies are waking up to the business benefits of transparency. Honesty is frequently a legal requirement, but transparency takes being honest with your customers one step further, sharing more information with them than is legally necessary.
This may seem like a big risk in an ever more competitive marketplace, but there are some surprising business benefits to transparency.
Choosing the wrong type of review system can open the floodgates to negative reviews, misleading consumers and damaging your brand.
Passive review systems make no effort to solicit reviews from customers, instead relying on site visitors to leave reviews, without checking if they actually are customers. These systems rely on customers being sufficiently motivated post-purchase to spontaneously return to your website to write a review. Anger and disappointment are great motivators, so unhappy customers are far more likely to write reviews in passive systems than happy customers.
Guy Kawasaki’s Enchantment is already one of this year’s most talked about business books. There are few people better qualified to talk about enchanting consumers than Kawasaki, who cut his teeth as a marketer for Apple, a company with a real knack for turning customers into fierce, loyal brand advocates.
New regulations come into force today that bring online marketing messages under the Advertising Standards Agency’s remit. We’ve known about this for a while, but last week it was revealed that the ASA now considers user generated content on social networks and on brands’ websites to be within the scope of the updated code.