UK’s largest supplier of musical instruments to schools gives customers platform to review and rate products; enhancing purchases and encouraging catalogue shoppers to buy over the web.

Normans, the UK’s largest supplier of musical instruments to schools, pupils and parents, has introduced customer ratings and reviews on its website to encourage those who shop via its print catalogue to go online.

Founded in 1959, Normans has appointed social commerce provider Bazaarvoice to implement and oversee moderation of the reviews service, which will enable teachers, pupils and parents to talk about their experiences of all products available on the site.

“Music is an art rather than a science – teachers especially have lots of opinions and we want to give them the opportunity to help influence others’ purchase decisions,” said Gareth Haines, Managing Director of Normans. “Although the website is Normans’ main shop window, we also offer a print catalogue and we’d love to see those customers logging onto the site to read reviews and possibly purchase online. If you’re spending £1,000 or more on an instrument you want to make sure you do your research. I suppose the web really is catalogue 2.0.”

Normans is also using Bazaarvoice’s Ask & Answer service, which is a customer to customer helpdesk. The frequent questions that retailers get asked will now be available for all to see online. Customers can pose a question, and a fellow customer or Normans will be able to post answers.

“Ratings and reviews will really enhance the way Normans does business – from increased customer satisfaction to reduced support costs,” said Sam Decker, Chief Marketing Officer of Bazaarvoice. "As well as enticing catalogue readers online to leave comments, review content crosses the channels and can also be used in print.”

Bazaarvoice helps brands to incorporate ratings and reviews into the e-commerce experience through the industry’s most customisable technology, human content moderation and dedicated client services.

Retailers can use customer generated content to improve merchandising, increase multichannel sales and conversion, enhance search engine optimisation and attract new customers while improving satisfaction and loyalty.

Published on: 12:00AM on 22nd September 2008