You should all know the rationale for retailers putting customer reviews on their websites. What is less explored is how customer ratings & reviews can be integrated with content from independent experts, respected industry voices whose opinions influence the masses.

Media sites are great at providing expert reviews and news content but retailers rarely look at the potential for content syndication in supporting website and conversion optimisation.

One such site is Electricpig.co.uk,  a tech specialist website offering news and reviews for the latest
tech products and gadgets with over 440,000 unique monthly users. The content is written by experienced journalists and editors, not just
tech obsessives, which makes it a good match for retail sites selling technology, 

The content reads well, and tech
luddites like myself can easily make sense of it. I talked to James Holland from Electricpig recently about retail
syndication opportunities, and I can see the potential value of such content for etailers. 

Online retailers, large and small, could integrate content from sites such as Electricpig with their own user generated
reviews, giving customers a heady mix of savvy journalism and customer
experience. Electricpig currently syndicates all news content to the Daily Mirror’s website.

Who should switch on to this content?

Any website owner who either sells tech product or provides product news and advice for tech and gadgets. The content is perfect for people who want to buy the latest tech but aren’t product experts and need some help in finding the best product for their budget. This means it is spot on for retailers that sell consumer electronics via their website, either direct or through third party distribution.

Why would retailers need this type of content? 

Customer reviews help give you a feel for the reliability of the product and brand you are considering buying from. What they don’t do is give you the reassurance that the review has been given by someone who is as discerning as you would like when it comes down to product quality and attributes. For instance, how do you know that Joe from Birmingham has 20:20 vision when he says the picture quality of the new Plasma TV is poor?

Though customer reviews are still valuable, content that has been written by experienced reviewers can be more authoratative for tech products. They are often better placed than your average punter to know whether product X really does have superior surround sound to product Y and no self-interest to promote one over the other. Their success depends on objectivity so trust in their content is key.

Why do I think this could add value to retailers?

Product specs are important but if a review doesn’t take into account the wider market, alternative products, and take steps to reduce the confusion readers face on the shop floor it’s completely worthless.

Technology isn’t a geeky pastime anymore, but it can still be intimidating. Who do you trust? Other customers can be helpful but do they really have the same demands as you? 

Sites like Electricpig can be a reliable resource for consumers, news junkies and tech fans alike. Their reviews can add objective credibility to customer ratings. This can help retailers, from the large multiples like Argos to large pureplays such as Dabs.com, right down to the smaller independents. Syndicating tech content can add value for your customers, they can review customer ratings, as well as reading the experts’ verdicts to get a balanced view.

Summary of benefits:

  • So much information online, experts can make sense of this for you.
  • Customer reviews are as reliable as the people writing them. How do customers know who to trust?
  • Objective advice from respected writers can enhance your product selling pages.
  • Expert reviews and news can engage customers during the research phase of the buying cycle.
  • Markets like CE are driven by innovation, and you need someone reliable to stay on top of developments to give your customers the best possible information.

Please leave your comments on how content syndication could be used by retailers to tap into the consumer interest that already drives large volumes of traffic to media websites…