Leveraging the Trusted Voice of the Customer
Matt Krebsbach, director of global public and analyst relations at Bazaarvoice
Founded in 2005 and based in Austin, Texas, Bazaarvoice has grown to become one of the world’s largest network of consumer-generated content targeted towards active shoppers. We recently spoke with Matt Krebsbach, director of global public and analyst relations at Bazaarvoice, to learn more about the company and what drives them to be an industry leader.
Tell me about Bazaarvoice.
Bazaarvoice is a company that believes the collective voice of the marketplace is the most powerful marketing force in the world. Our platform includes solutions for ratings and reviews, questions and answers, and curated social posts, photos and videos that enable people to openly and authentically share their experiences with products and services. In effect, we create an online proxy for in-store shopping experiences.
Collecting, displaying and amplifying this consumer-generated content (CGC) conveys multiple benefits to improve the shopping experience. For consumers, the opinion of “others like me” is the dominant influence helping people make the best choice about how to spend their hard-earned money. For businesses, that content can not only help drive sales performance by helping consumers justify the investment in a product but leveraging CGC throughout the customer lifecycle that impacts brand trust, loyalty, and advocacy.
Why is consumer-generated content so important?
Businesses have always captured attention, built their brands and remained relevant and interesting through the voice of their customers. Consumer-generated content is the way these conversations are conducted in a digital world. Countless studies highlight consumers trust content from their peers more than any other form of marketing communication. With the multitude of touch points people now use to connect with brands and the growing wealth of CGC available at those touch points, shoppers get a rich sense of what it’s like to own a product they’re considering, leading marketers recognize CGC is a key influencer throughout the customer
What makes Bazaarvoice unique in the industry?
We’ve spent ten years building a network that includes thousands of the world’s leading brands and retailers where their products are sold. We have the ability to not only syndicate content between those clients but identify the product, category, market and consumer trends from activity on that network. Bazaarvoice is the only company that can analyze and report on the breadth of consumer feedback across so many touch points.
We believe the customers’ voice is the most influential content that informs purchases and what companies do to continually provide products and services consumers want. The only way it will work, however, is if the content is trustworthy and authentic. We established one of the industry’s most robust programs to protect the integrity of the consumer-generated content we collect, display and distribute on our clients’ sites. It ensures content is free from fraud, spam, editing, classification and other forms of alteration.
What types of customers do you most benefit?
The companies who find the most benefit from Bazaarvoice are those who embrace the voice of the customer and recognize the value it has to improve performance. Our clients include many of the world’s largest retailers and most well-known brands.
How has Bazaarvoice leveraged technology and how is that evolving?
We are an enterprise SaaS-based company, and we operate at a massive scale. We have over 700 million monthly unique visitors on our network – more than twice the number of monthly active users on Amazon. We routinely deliver more than 500 million content impressions per day with peak activity of more than 1 billion impressions per day. Needless to say, at these numbers, we have to rely on a highly-scalable infrastructure to maintain uptime and serviceability of the platform so we can consistently provide a good experience and move data between these touch points with accuracy.
We live in an on-demand web and mobile world which means millisecond response times and always-available systems for content display and submission, client portals, reporting, and moderation. From the perspective of the end consumer, we need to deliver the content they want for the products that interest them at the moment they need it on whatever decide they happen to be using. That led us to apply responsive design at a time when very few companies had implemented it. We’ll continue to stay abreast or ahead of changing technologies to meet our clients’ and their customers’ expectations.
What trends do you see in the market and how is that shaping customer demand?
Whether you want to call it “frictionless commerce” or “omnichannel strategy,” perhaps the most important issue facing marketers is the role of technology in creating a seamless, efficient, informative and entertaining interaction to drive customer delight. Mobile is a huge part of this trend but has just as much to do with changing attitudes and expectations about access to data. All of this is fueled by a generation that has never known anything other than an on-demand world.
These tech-savvy consumers are increasingly holding brands accountable for anything that diminishes trust. Recent news about consumers who were fined by companies for leaving negative reviews raise questions over whether some companies manipulate reviews – who is collecting the content and how transparent are they about the process? Businesses and consumers are putting more emphasis on knowing the content is trustworthy.
How has Bazaarvoice been able to remain so relevant in such a fast-moving world?
I think the most enduring aspect of Bazaarvoice is the reason we exist: to give all of the voices of the marketplace a place to share their thoughts and opinions to make shopping better. On the one hand, we exemplify marketers’ evolution to leverage consumer-generated content as the means to draw people closer to the brand, motivate them to forge deeper relationships and reinforce the company’s identity with its target audience.
One the other hand, we are helping drive the shift to a customer-centric world where the consumer is not only better informed but also is a participant in shaping the products and services companies deliver. Bazaarvoice remains top-of-mind for marketers and e-commerce leaders because of the increasingly significant role customer-generated content has on the purchase process.
Bazaarvoice is the world's largest network of active shoppers, connecting more than one-half billion consumers to thousands of retailers and brands that represent tens of millions of products and services.