Friday, February 22, 2008

Offer user reviews instead of discounts? Maybe

Why do so few business to business Web sites load user reviews of individual products online?

Is it lack of time or volume? Do you know some good examples? Please let me know. See below to hear the view of one of our readers Jim Hare of

Because all the results from consumer Web sites seem to imply that there isn't much downside to posting reviews (unless all your products suck. And that would never be the case, would it?)Even occasional negative reviews seem to have a benefit, according to this interesting case study at Bazaar Voice's blog.

Since adding ratings and reviews to its site,’s seen a direct correlation between conversions and reviews. Products with more than 10 reviews have conversion rates greater than 20%. Products with five or morereviews average a 12% conversion rate.There's also another new study, by BazaarVoice's rival, PowerReviews, that says 64% of online buyers want reviews more than anything else.

In fact, this chart just below shows online buyers value reviews by other customers more than coupons, sales, discounts, videos, etc.

So you could save money by attracting buyers with reviews instead of discounts, etc. (I am not convinced. Wearing my consumer hat, I want both!)

There's lots of other interesting things too, including details on how many reviews buyers want (hint: a lot).Read more at eMarketer.

And what about b2b?

So why don't b2b firms use more reviews? I asked Jim Hare, marketer at, and a man with a deep well of great sayings for all occasions.

He replied: "As a consumer, I vastly prefer '"user" or "owner" reviews of a product to editorial reviews by mags or other web sites. For example, I use whenever I can, before a major purchase or any kind of significant dollar outlay.

"In terms of B2B sites and why they so rarely use reviews, I think it's just because it's never been an accepted component of them - there's certainly no logical reason why a B2B site shouldn't highlight favorable user opinions (we do have several user testimonials on our site)

"I guess in the early days, B2B sites were little more than extensions of a yellow page ad or a trade mag ad, and it was more a "here's all our stuff, call a salesperson to order it" presentation as opposed to a "here's why our stuff is better than the other guy's stuff" idea.

"B2B sites tend to be less cutting edge, more conservative than a B2C site.

"I've often said that a satisfied customer is our best salesperson. Probably 75% or more of our sales and rental transactions are from prior customers or from a recommendation from a colleague in the industry. Nearly every business issues the platitudes about "we go the extra mile" or "we want to exceed your expectations" but very few of them really do so. And the public is getting wise to it. As the Packard Automobile Company used to say (and look where it got them.. lol) "Ask the Man Who Owns One..."

Meanwhile, for another take on social marketing, visit this blog by social media researcher Joshua Porter about the problems with social media marketing. He write it's better to think of social media tools as "amplifying customer opinion rather than improving it."

Posted by Internet Marketing Report editor Julie Power Friday February 22 at 8 a.m.


1 comment:

Dave J. said...

From my, blog-post in response:

Admit it, we all love the product reviews at Amazon. So, Julie asks a great question: Why not?

1. Fear. Your team, CEO, and salespeople will 'what if' you till you scream and give up.
2. No alternative products: We aren't distributors with multiple brands to select from.
3. Its personal. I don't want anyone dissing them publicly on my website!
4. Cases vary. Successful application of many B2B products depends on the skill of the user and the actual usage.
5. Customized products.
6. Loss of control. What do you do when a salesperson calls saying he lost a sale due to what a review said?