235 of the UK’s largest brands met for the second annual Bazaarvoice Social Commerce summit in London on 7 October, to hear how the customer voice is driving the country’s £46.6bn online shopping sector.

Experts including Editor-in-Chief of Internet Retailing Ian Jindal, Editor of WIRED magazine David Rowan and James Caan, entrepreneur from the BBC’s Dragons’ Den programme, gathered at the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre to give their take on how technology and customer conversations sell.

Talks from Argos, B&Q, and QVC demonstrated how product reviews, customer stories, and customer-to-customer helpdesks are turning leading brands into ‘customer-centric’ organisations – influencing decisions from buying, merchandising, design, manufacturing and marketing departments all the way to top-level management.

"Customer-created content – including consumers writing reviews online - is forcing companies to open up their brands and products to both positive and negative feedback, which is in turn changing the way they do business,” said Sam Decker, CMO of Bazaarvoice. “The purpose of our event is to demonstrate the influence of everyday customers. Now every shopper has the ability to share brand and product opinions on the web, helping influence the purchase decisions of others."

Bazaarvoice provides social commerce applications to over 575 brands worldwide. Of the top 50 UK online retailers, according to the IMRG and web measurement firm Hitwise’s latest statistics, 34 have reviews. 19 of these retailers are Bazaarvoice clients.

UK and European companies have quickly adopted best practices around social commerce, and several Bazaarvoice clients were recognised for their forward-thinking efforts at the Summit’s award ceremony. Winners included:
• Body Shop UK, Best Use of UGC in Email: The beauty retailer featured real product reviews in customer newsletters, with positive results.
• Halfords, Best Proof of Social Commerce ROI: a Halfords case study demonstrated that review readers and writers converted up to 82% higher than those who didn’t participate.
• QVC-UK, Best Multi-Channel Use of Reviews: The shopping channel used reviews on-air, created bespoke online shops with customer reviews, and held customer-led beauty product awards.
• eSpares, Best Use of UGC throughout the Organisation: eSpares performed an A/B test showing that reviews drive higher conversion, and used customer insights to improve products.
• Argos, Social Commerce Achievement Award: The multi-channel retailer fully embraced user-generated content, driving huge volumes of reviews and quickly integrating customer feedback throughout the organisation.
Also speaking at the Summit were Bazaarvoice CEO Brett Hurt and Chief Marketing Officer Sam Decker. They discussed how user-generated content is transforming the online industry and how brands are now starting to utilise their content to fuel deep business insight.
The UK Summit was sponsored by ATG, Endeca, IBM, Responsys, Silverpop, BT Fresca, eCircle, Experian CheetahMail, FACT-Finder, Sapient, Adobe Scene7, and Tacit Knowledge.
Further details can be found here: www.socialcommercesummit.co.uk.

*Source of figure: IMRG

About Bazaarvoice
Bazaarvoice (www.bazaarvoice.co.uk) is a social commerce technology company. It helps over 600 brands globally including Argos, Boots, Halfords, Wickes, Thomas Cook, QVC and Boden to harness and amplify customer online word of mouth.

Bazaarvoice’s products - Ratings & Reviews™, Ask & Answer™ and Stories™ - are social commerce applications that drive sales. They enable customers to review products, ask and answer questions and share stories online; enhancing the online shopping experience and allowing them to make more informed and rewarding purchase decisions. Benefits for the retailer include content ownership, seamless customisation, increased search engine optimisation impact, advanced analytics and syndication across the web. Retailers can also leverage the content generated across on and offline marketing channels.

Founded in 2005, Bazaarvoice has offices in the UK, US, France and Singapore. The blog is at www.bazaarblog.com.

For further information please contact:
Claire Armitt
01273 779449 / 07985 297842

Published on: 12:53PM on 23rd October 2009