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Do People Write Reviews Differently on Their Smartphones? You Bet.

May 23, 2019 by Rahul Chadha

Are your shoppers leaving fundamentally different reviews on their smartphones than they would on PCs? Some new research from a few business professors suggests that’s exactly what’s happening.

In their paper, “Selectively Emotional: How Smartphone Use Changes User-Generated Content,” authors Shiri Melumad of the Wharton School, J. Jeffrey Inman of Pitt Business, and Michel Tuan Pham of Columbia Business School found that reviews written on smartphones were shorter than those composed on PCs—no surprise there.1

But the researchers also found that smartphone reviews had a higher amount of emotional content when compared with reviews from PCs.

Smartphone Reviews Tend Toward Positivity

Even more interestingly, the study revealed that user-generated content (UGC) written on smartphones tended to be largely positive in nature.

The researchers suggested that the trends they discovered were likely to be seen across a number of platforms and topics, and not just the ones they examined in their study.

In addition, they noted that previous research had shown that an increase in positive sentiment in Amazon reviews led to higher customer conversion rates.

They also offered a simple recommendation for companies: use a content collection strategy that encourages customers to submit reviews from their smartphones.

“Research shows that content that’s more emotional is more likely to go viral, or be shared and discussed by others,” lead author Melumad said in an interview on the Knowledge@Wharton podcast. “From the firm’s perspective, knowing that reviews have been written on phones–and thus more likely to be emotional—can help the firm identify which customer-generated content may be the most influential.”2

Key Takeaways from the Research:

  • Reviews written on smartphones, are shorter, have more emotional content, and are more positive than those written on PCs.
  • Other data shows an increase in positive sentiment in Amazon reviews led to a higher conversion rate.
  • Reviews with more emotional content are more likely to go viral or be shared.
  • eCommerce sites should consider encouraging shoppers to submit Customer-Generated Content (CGC) on a smartphone to take advantage of its more positive nature.

How to Capture Positive Sentiment

One key insight from the paper: eCommerce sites should ensure their Customer-Generated Content (CGC) collection strategy is optimized for mobile if they want to capture as much positive sentiment as possible.

One way online stores can do that is by making sure they use responsive web design—essentially ensuring that their web pages are being displayed correctly regardless of what device a shopper is on.

TurnTo, for example, gives users the ability to set configurable breakpoints in the widgets for our four products—Ratings & Reviews, Community Q&A, Visual Reviews, and Checkout Comments. That ensures product detail pages always look their best on smartphones, tablets, desktops, and laptops.

Not only that, but TurnTo’s review collection process identifies customers on smartphones and offers them a tailored user experience designed to make it as easy as possible to get content.

Another way TurnTo eliminates friction points is with our Inbox Submission feature that lets your customers submit reviews directly from the body of an email, instead of being sent to a browser.

That simple change has resulted in some significant gains for our clients; with the less intrusive approach, content collection rates can increase by as much as 200%.

Measurement matters too. That’s why TurnTo’s reporting tools include breakdowns by device. Say, for example, the word counts of your reviews drop, but overall positive sentiment spikes. With TurnTo reporting, you can analyze the data to see if the change resulted from an increase of reviews coming from mobile devices.

Want to learn more?

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Sources:

1 Selectively Emotional: How Smartphone Use Changes User-Generated Content; Journal of Marketing Research, January 2019

2 User-Generated Content: The Medium Impacts the Message; Knowledge@Wharton, May 2019

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TurnTo makes CIO Review Magazine’s Top 20 list of retail solution providers for 2015

December 16, 2015 by George Eberstadt

Each year at this time, CIO Review Magazine picks 20 technology solutions for the retail business that stood out during the previous year.  TurnTo was selected as one of them in their just-published 2015 list.  Here’s a link to their official citation.  Their explanation did a very nice job summarizing the changes that are taking place in shopper behavior and the resulting challenges and opportunities for online sellers.  Reprinting it here:

Product ratings and reviews have been a staple of eCommerce since Amazon introduced them in the mid-90s. But the basic model hasn’t evolved much, while the online environment has changed dramatically. Phones have passed computers as the primary means through which many people access the internet. Visual content has become far more important in the online product discovery and selection process. Social media has trained people to value 2-way interactivity over passive content consumption. Messaging has taught people to prefer their text shorter and shorter.

Set against this backdrop is New York-based TurnTo Networks, the fastest-growing provider of so-called “customer- generated content” (CGC) tools for top eCommerce businesses and brands. TurnTo’s mission has been to update the basic ideas of traditional ratings and reviews to address the changes in the ways people shop online and how they create and use CGC in the process. To accomplish this, TurnTo has developed an innovative suite of customer-content applications for eCommerce built around this new environment: mobile-first, highly visual, 2-way interactive, and short-form text.

TurnTo’s line-up includes an up-to-date take on traditional Ratings and Reviews, a Community Q&A product that enables shoppers to get their product questions answered by peers who already own the items, a “micro-review” gathered at the point of purchase called a Checkout Comment, and a Visual Reviews product built around the reality that many people would rather use their phones to take pictures and video than to fill in forms and type. Together, these products fulfill the basic promise of customer ratings and reviews while taking the value delivered by customer content to a new level

Not only do these new and updated tools better meet the needs of today’s shopper, they also help online sellers address important challenges that traditional ratings and reviews don’t solve well. For example, stores with “fast-turn” catalogs, such as fashion, often have trouble building up customer reviews before items go out of stock or out of season. But TurnTo’s Checkout Comments start generating content from the first moment an item is available for sale. Or consider highly complex products like cameras and electronics. It’s impossible for reviews or standard product information to anticipate all the questions a shopper might have before purchasing. For that, Community Q&A is an effective way to quickly get prospective buyers the information they need. Or how about the whole category of do-it-yourself–from home improvement to cooking to crafts? Stores often want to call attention to the results of the products they sell–the projects made with their tools and supplies. Text reviews of product features can never highlight these outcomes the way proud photos taken by real customers can.

“Traditional ratings and reviews remain very important, and it’s crucial for stores and brands to use a platform that collects the greatest volume while ensuring authenticity,” says George Eberstadt, CEO, TurnTo Networks. “But it’s no longer enough to stop there. Customer behavior has moved on, which has created great opportunities for sellers to use these new types of customer-content to create better experiences for shoppers while addressing some of their most important merchandising challenges.”