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October 02, 2013 at 09:00 AM EDT
Bazaarvoice Conversation Index Vol. 6 Reveals How Responding to Social Feedback on Shopping Sites Helps Companies Affect Consumer Sentiment and Purchase Intent

Key Points to Know:

  • Research shows intent to purchase more than doubles when consumers see a brand's response to a negative review
  • Brand responses significantly improve product sentiment and increase sales when used to clarify product differentiators or correct misperceptions
  • Bazaarvoice Connections enables brands to respond to reviews on more than 200 retail sites

AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 2, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Bazaarvoice, Inc. (Nasdaq:BV), a technology company connecting businesses together to amplify the authentic voices of consumers where they shop, today released The Conversation Index Volume 6, a research study that investigates the role of social technologies in building better relationships between businesses and consumers. The latest volume of Bazaarvoice's semi-annual research series details how consumers establish a dialogue with businesses through social technologies and how brands and sellers can build stronger relationships and improve shopping experiences by responding to online feedback.

Addressing the need for brands to directly respond to reviews and answer questions on retail sites, Bazaarvoice Connections now enables nearly 1,000 brands to participate in conversations happening about their products or services on retail and shopping sites in the Bazaarvoice network representing hundreds of millions of consumers. Brands can sign up for Connections and answer questions about their products for free at connections.bazaarvoice.com.

Based on an analysis of data from more than 100,000 pieces of user-generated content in the Bazaarvoice network and responses from a survey, conducted by Wakefield Research, of 1,600 nationally representative US adults, key findings in The Conversation Index Volume 6 include:

  • Responsive brands increase sales. When consumers saw a brand's response to a negative review, their overall opinion of the product and their intent to purchase more than doubled compared to when they saw a negative review without a brand response. In addition, when brands responded to a review in which the product owner misused or demonstrated a significant misconception about the product, shoppers who saw the brand response were 186 percent more likely to purchase than those who didn't. Similarly, when a brand's response offered to refund, upgrade, or exchange a disgruntled customer's product for a different model, shoppers were 92 percent more likely to purchase than shoppers who saw no response.
  • Perception improves when brands respond to consumers. Shoppers see responsive brands as caring and trustworthy and show higher sentiment toward their products. Seeing a brand response to a review made consumers think the brand "really cares about consumers" (41 percent), "has great customer service," (35 percent); is "a trustworthy brand," (22 percent); or  provides "products [that] are high quality" (14 percent). Average sentiment also improved 157 percent after seeing a review with a brand response that corrected product misuse and offered corrective instructions, and 88 percent when a brand response offered to refund or upgrade the reviewer's product.

The Conversation Index also highlights that consumer feedback often contains a call to action (CTA), such as product suggestions, support requests, and simple words of thanks—all of which present opportunities to respond.The analysis identifies the methods brands can use to quickly and easily identify these CTAs in consumer feedback, and also provides guidance on the ways brands can develop effective responses that will resonate with consumers.

With Bazaarvoice Connections, brands can answer questions, respond to reviews, and make purchase recommendations on the retail sites in the Bazaarvoice network where their customers research and buy—through one simple portal. In turn, retailers leverage their suppliers' unique product expertise and passion to create an exceptional online shopping experience that increases traffic and revenue both on sites and in stores.Participating brands range from consumer packaged goods companies, to leaders in the apparel, consumer electronics, and beauty categories.

Comments on the News:

  • "We all accept that businesses need to be more engaging and some go so far as to say businesses need to be 'human,'" said Lisa Pearson, chief marketing officer at Bazaarvoice. "The data behind The Conversation Index tells us that responsiveness is one of the most important dimensions of a more 'human' commercial relationship. With the acceleration of market changes from social media, new technologies, and increased competition, companies who want lasting relationships with consumers must participate in experiences that foster trust, dialogue, and collaboration at each stage of their journey."
  • "Like most brands, we have historically been isolated from customers at the moment when they're most open to be influenced—in the retail aisle," said Ray Mazur, CIO at Homax Group. "Connections gives us the ability to engage directly with our customers, which helps us avoid being caught flat-footed on potential incorrect usage of our products and proactively address low star reviews. The insights we gain are critical not only to our ability to manage our brand reputation and protect customer loyalty, but also preserve our position as a preferred vendor with our retail partners."
  • "The ubiquity of user-generated content has created challenges for retailers—who cannot scale to respond to the volume of consumer content—and brands, who are often locked out of conversations about their products and need a way to protect brand reputation and influence sales," said Pehr Luedtke, general manager, Connections at Bazaarvoice. "Connections solves for this by providing a brand representative in the digital aisle, enabling product experts to engage directly with consumers deep in the purchase funnel where they can help consumers to make decisions and enjoy better product experiences."

About Bazaarvoice

Bazaarvoice connects businesses together to amplify the authentic voices of people where they shop. Each month, more than 400 million people view and share opinions, questions and experiences about 20 million products in the Bazaarvoice network. The company's technology platform channels these voices into the places that influence purchase decisions, helping businesses gain access to a wider audience of shoppers and trusted consumer content to improve sales and marketing. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Bazaarvoice has offices across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific. For more information, visit www.bazaarvoice.com, read the blog at www.bazaarvoice.com/blog, and follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bazaarvoice.

CONTACT: Media Contact:
         Matt Krebsbach
         Bazaarvoice, Inc.
         512-551-6612
         matt.krebsbach@bazaarvoice.com
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