June 19, 2019 by Rahul Chadha
It’s no secret that the retail industry is in the midst of a massive sea change spurred by the rise of eCommerce.
That’s created some new challenges for brands, who can no longer bank on getting adequate shelf space at brick-and-mortar retailer locations to drive sales at the same level as in the pre-internet world.
Consequently, it’s become even more important for brands to make sure they’re getting adequate digital shelf space—for some brands a digital presence is even more important than a physical one.
Smart Brands Are Doubling Down on Ecommerce
The strategy appears to be working for brands that have prioritized their eCommerce efforts, and are now seeing some solid gains as a result.
In May 2019, Internet Retailer reported that 127 of the top 500 North American online retailers were consumer brand manufacturers. This group has seen their web sales increase by an average of 17.9%. That’s a growth rate that outpaces all other merchant groups, with the sole exception of digitally native pure play retailers.1
Internet Retailer cited sneaker icon Nike as one the larger brands that’s seen success with its online efforts—the company reported a 25% spike in ecommerce sales in 2018, for a total of $2.75 billion. Nike also set an ambitious goal for itself, hoping that web sales will reach $20 billion by 2020.
Some brands have improved their direct sales by embracing an omnichannel approach to retail that includes eCommerce, brand-owned physical stores and the store-within-a-store model.
Nike, however, hopes to achieve its goal largely by doubling down on its online footprint. Part of that strategy includes forming stronger relationships with multibrand retailers. In one such initiative, Nike opened a branded storefront on the site of Walmart-owned retail site Jet.com.
How Syndication Can Help Brands Increase Online Sales
One key way that brands—even large ones like Nike—can improve their online sales on retailer sites is through the syndication of online reviews. Syndication is simply the sharing of Customer-Generated Content like ratings and reviews between brands’ online stores and online retailers.
Syndication makes it easier for a shopper to see all of the Customer-Generated Content for the same product, regardless of whether they’re on a brand or retailer site. It’s a highly effective way for brands to connect with more customers.
Not only that, but research shows that products with more reviews sell better. A product with a high number of reviews is a sign that a lot of other shoppers have already bought the item—it’s social proof that can help alleviate customer hesitation about making an online purchase.
Simply gathering more product reviews can have a dramatic impact on your bottom line. A study from Northwestern University’s Spiegel Research Center found that a product with five reviews was 270% more likely to be purchased than a product that didn’t have any reviews.
Brands that syndicate their content also benefit with more exposure on digital channels, improved sell-through value, and search engine optimization (SEO) credit.
TurnTo’s Open Review Syndication Can Help
Unlike other platforms, TurnTo offers its Open Review Syndication service to all brands at absolutely no cost—even if they use a competing platform for their Customer-Generated Content.
TurnTo’s approach also requires no technical work on the part of brands. We scan brand sites for product reviews using a highly accurate web crawler, similar to the way Google’s web indexing search crawler does. These reviews can then be displayed on retailer sites within a day or two.
Brands are also given access to a dashboard that shows which retailer sites in TurnTo’s network are receiving the reviews. And control over syndication always remains in the hands of brands; TurnTo doesn’t require a term commitment for syndication.
To find out how to get started with TurnTo Syndication, get in touch.
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1 Consumer Brands Make Big Bets on Ecommerce; Internet Retailer, May 2019
October 16, 2008 by George Eberstadt
The communications agency Universal McCann recently published a report called “When Did We Start Trusting Strangers?” looking at how much more influential the advice of strangers has become in purchase decisions since the rise of social media. Brands better not ignore this call to action — like it or not, the phenomenon is real and powerful. And in many ways it’s a good thing, putting more pressure on brands to produce superior products instead of just superior marketing.
But it’s not entirely a good thing. To the degree that these anonymous interactions replace authentic, personal ones, they represent lost opportunities. We end up with better stuff and fewer friends. When we get advice from strangers on a blog instead of calling our friends, is it because we trust strangers more? Because we enjoy the experience more? Or just because it’s so easy? Hey, there are a lot of strangers in the world – some have already written down their opinions on whatever product you want to know about.
But if it were just as quick and easy to find advice from friends as from strangers, which would you ask? If you said “friends”, why? Because you trust friends to give it to you straight? Because you know them well enough to calibrate their advice? (e.g. I know Gwen is picky, so if she says it’s good, it’s good.) Because it gives you a reason to check in with someone you care about? Even in the McCann study, in response to the question, “How I share opinions of products, brands and services”, the personal forms of communication (e-mail and IM) rank 50% higher (!) than the impersonal ones (blogs, reviews, comments). (Page 29.)
In the next phase of the web, we’re going to see our real world relationships woven into our on-line experience everywhere we go. (Charlene Li says social networks will be like air – they’ll just surround you.) And when that happens, we’ll see the pendulum swing back from stranger-advice towards friend-advice. And that will be a good thing, too.