Practical Ecommerce

The PEC Review: RateVoice Offers Product Reviews with Social Twist

Adding product reviews to your ecommerce site will boost sales, drive additional traffic, and help you optimize your product catalog.

In 2007, when PETCO added customer product reviews to its site, this purveyor of pet products enjoyed a 49 percent increase in sales conversions for its top rated products, according to a published report. What’s more, shoppers that used the product reviews spent some 40 percent more than other customers.

But not all customer review systems are the same. As a merchant, you want to choose a review solution that fits your business and your budget while providing the sorts of review features that increase sales, grow site traffic, and make the most of the products that you sell.

RateVoice is a social product review solution that lets shoppers comment on products, respond to others shoppers’ reviews, and post reviews on a number of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, FriendFeed, and Delicious. RateVoice is also easy to install and relatively inexpensive. For all of these reasons, I have awarded RateVoice four out of a possible five stars in this, “The PEC Review.”

“The PEC Review” is my weekly column aimed at introducing you to the products or services that I believe will help you improve your ecommerce business. This week, let me show you what I like about RateVoice.

A Social Focus Boosts Sales

One of my favorite RateVoice features is the ability to comment on other shoppers’ reviews, so that customers are not just posting their feelings or experiences with the product, but also interacting and having a conversation about the product.

There is a great example of this sort of conversation on Heels.com, wherein Lizzie from New York City reviewed a pair of Chinese Laundry-brand “Tripin” boots in black suede. The product has only one review, but that review has sparked several questions and comments.

A shopper named Meg used the review section to ask a question. “Thanks for your review-I love these boots, but I was wondering if they slouch at all? I’ve been looking for suede slouchy boots (thigh high) but it’s hard to tell if they’re stiff or slouch-able(?) by looking at a picture…if you could help me out on this I would so appreciate it,” wrote Meg.

Another shopper, Stephanie, asked whether the boots were tight-fitting or not. And so on.

On Edge Angling’s website, a single review of a fishing lure by a shopper using the screen name “HOTTUNA” started a short conversation about modifying the product to function as a “surface plug” versus buying a different lure that was designed to wiggle on the surface.

The point being that shoppers were using these sites and the RateVoice reviews to have a conversation of sorts. Each customer spent more time on the Edge Angling site, and the content he or she left behind is the rich, user-generated stuff that increases sales conversions and inspires trust.

Social Media Sharing for More Site Traffic

RateVoice also includes links to five social media sites on each product review, so that the reviews and conversations about the product can easily be posted on Twitter, Facebook, and other social sharing sites.

Status updates and tweets produce inbound links for the merchant using RateVoice, potentially increasing site traffic.

Tension Meter

RateVoice also includes a Tension Meter that lets ecommerce merchants monitor which products in the catalog generate the worst reviews. If a product is consistently being complained about, it may be time to considering removing that product from the catalog.

This sort of product optimization means that you can make adjustments to your offers so that the products you sell are likely to encourage positive reviews.

Four stars

Price

RateVoice is a software-as-a-service solution (SaaS). I would like a licensed option, too, but SaaS is currently all the rage. RateVoice’s most basic package starts at $29.95 per month, making it relatively inexpensive. There are three higher tiers, including a “Standard” solution at $79.95 per month; an “Advanced” version for $180 per month; and an “Enterprise” edition that starts at about $300 per month. All prices increase based on how much customization is required. A 30-day trial of RateVoice is free.

Other Features

RateVoice’s other features include automatic profanity filtering, which can be adjusted if profanity fits your brand; review moderation; a search-engine-optimization-friendly review site; and reporting and tracking tools, among others.

Summing Up

There are several good vendors to choose from when you are adding reviews to your ecommerce site. Certainly, you’ll want to compare many. But when you do that comparison, be sure to include RateVoice. It is a good choice for product reviews, which is why I awarded it four out of a possible five stars in this, “The PEC Review.”

Armando Roggio

Armando Roggio

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  1. Bostyon Johnson March 3, 2010 Reply

    Good morning,

    This issue has been raised in several instances. I can only agree to the census that was released earlier this week. Please see my website for more information on this issue and many more…

    Thank you,
    Bostyon Johnson

  2. cchobot March 3, 2010 Reply

    Great take on RateVoice in this post and thanks for linking to our website! Edge Angling decided on giving RV a try based on the suggestion of one of our other service providers. We’re thrilled with the service. The RV integration itself was seemless on our end, they created a module for our ecommerce platform so we didn’t have to configure and upload a product feed or anything like that (this was a stumbling block we experienced w/ another service provider). The RV service also sends out followup emails to customers and we now enjoy a steady stream of quality customer reviews.

    The data we’ve received from the reviews has had benefit to us, our clients and even our vendors, in one case a vendor responded to a customer review offering to send a replacement product out at no charge. RateVoice even came through for us on a key feature request for an rss feed that could feed product reviews into our forums so even more people got to see them.

    The guys over there have been available every step of the way and have plans for lots of great stuff in the near future. Like Armando said in the article, those thinking about putting a reviews system on their website do well to consider RateVoice.

    And thanks again for the link to Edge Anlging!