Ratings, reviews & ROI: how leading retailers use customer word of mouth in marketing and merchandising

Brant Barton
Business Development of Bazaarvoice


Online word of mouth takes many forms, from individual blog posts to threaded message board conversations, but one particular form is quickly emerging as the new consumer-generated media of choice for leading online retailers and e-commerce sites focused on extracting both immediate and long-term ROI from their marketing efforts: customer ratings and reviews. Highly successful retailers like CompUSA, PETCO, and Burpee are leveraging customer ratings and reviews to enhance their existing online marketing, merchandising, and brand building efforts, including search marketing, email marketing, online display advertising, data-driven merchandising, blogs, and RSS. These retailers and others have discovered that customer ratings and reviews are a highly desirable and effective form of word of mouth for multiple reasons. Ratings and reviews are highly focused on the objects of the purchase task, frequently sought out by consumers, and highly measurable.