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We all know that consumer reviews work online, so it makes sense to apply this tactic in an offline setting, on TV, print ads and elsewhere. 

I'm writing this as a result of the recent launch of Reevoo Everywhere, a new product designed to enable brands to use reviews across different channels, but it's perhaps surprising that this hasn't been tried before, or at least not so I've noticed.

So, can this tactic work, and how can brands use reviews offline?  

Why reviews work: the stats

  • In a survey of 5,003 consumers, 84% of respondents said that online feedback and research helped to influence their purchase decisions. (Google, 2012)
  • 88% of consumers ‘sometimes or always’ consult reviews before making a purchase. (Reevoo, 2012)
  • 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews. (iPerceptions, 2011).
  • Site visitors who interact with both reviews and customer questions and answers are 105% more likely to purchase while visiting, and spend 11% more than visitors who don’t interact with UGC. (Bazaarvoice, Conversation Index, Q2 2011).
  • Consumer reviews are significantly more trusted (nearly 12 times more) than descriptions that come from manufacturers, according to a survey of US internet users by online video review site EXPO. (eMarketer, February 2010).

How can brands use consumer reviews offline? 

In stores

In one section of our recent How the Internet can Save the High Street report, I suggested the value of using online reviews in stores. 

Some already do it, with expert reviews at least. For example, Majestic Wines will show reviews from wine experts like Malcolm Gluck which can help steer customers towards certain wines, though this isn't the same as consumer reviews. 

It can also be achieved via mobile, by directing mobile users at product pages containing reviews. Also, the showrooming that some retailers fear can actually be beneficial if customers are finding reviews online that help their in-store purchase decision. 

While retailers should be looking at strategies to appeal to mobile users, it's also a good idea to use reviews at the point of sale, where the majority of customers will see them. 

Here, Tesco uses reviews in its phone shops: 

Print ads

This DeWALT print ad shows online review scores next to the cordless drilla it's promoting. I wonder whether, if people are unaware of Reevoo's scoring system, this will be any use.

One thing that these offline reviews are kissing is the ability to drill down into the detail and see the pros and cons, the scores by different product characteristics, and to actually read the reviews themselves.

Of course, this is hard to do offline, though in the Tesco example above there is a little more detail. I think a prompt to use a mobile to head to the review page may help here. 

TV ads 

I was impressed by the recent Kia TV ads, which focused on the positive ratings its cars had received from buyers, and encouraged them to head online to check out said reviews. 

Kia managed to get the all round implementation right, such as recognising that many people would be watching the ad with mobiles to hand, and creating an optimised landing page.  

It also uses these reviews in its showrooms:

Another way of using reviews offline...

This example, taken from Dave Gowans' excellent post on conversion techniques from the 1920s is just superb:

It's a great way of using reviews offline without showing them. Of course, for this to work the product must be good, and a Google search must reflect that, which it does:

Still, if you have great reviews online, why not shout about it? 

I'd love to see some other examples of using online reviews offline, please let me know in the comments...

Graham Charlton

Published 14 March, 2013 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (12)

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Kris Abbott

Hi Graham,
Interesting article. We've been working with Reevoo for the last 6 months, and took the decision to include the Reevoo scores in our 2013 brochure to help customers choose their holiday.
It has proved a good tool to highlight the quality of our product, and also to encourage customers to visit our website in order to find more detailed reviews and comments.
We are constantly looking for ways in which to build our customer community and working with Reevoo gives us a great platform to do this.
Kris Abbott
e-Commerce Manager
Al Freco Holidays

about 3 years ago

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Depesh Mandalia, Head of Digital Marketing at Lost My Name

I recall seeing digital POS solutions at an innovations event some years back, which could allow stores to use dynamic pricing amongst other things; nothing ground breaking in that, but it opens up the possibility of introducing other digital assets, such as reviews which brings closer the omnichannel vision

about 3 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Kris do you have any way of measuring the effectiveness of the reviews used in the brochure?

about 3 years ago

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Kris Abbott

@Graham - I'm afraid not. We do have ongoing initiatives to try and better understand the brochure > website relationship but it's pretty difficult to measure effectively.

What we have seen in a parallel project is a significant CTR increase on our direct e-mail campaigns since we added the Reevoo score badges.

With that knowledge, it seemed 'sensible' (although not without risk) to add the scores to our print media also.

about 3 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Thanks Kris. What do you see as the risks?

about 3 years ago

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Kris Abbott

No problem Graham. The risks are the same as you would associate with online reviews in that we have a similar policy of honesty as Reevoo, so will publish all reviews and scores whether they are positive or negative.

Online we have the ability to respond to the reviews, and where we can, make changes to our programme in order to improve things. We can then communicate this back to the customer.

With brochure print, once it's commited it has a life span of 6 months before the next edition, so we dont have the opportunity to improve on that score. We have to rely on a customer coming to the website to read the detail behind the scores and see what we are doing to improve things, where we can.

about 3 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Good point. I guess you either have to add all reviews or none at all.

about 3 years ago

Tim Watson

Tim Watson, Email Marketing Consultant at Zettasphere

Graham, how about this example of using online ratings for restaurants and hospitality:

Ratings and review wall plaques:
http://www.thatsgreatnews.com/Ratingsplaques

about 3 years ago

Mike Sharples

Mike Sharples, Founder & Director at Film Factory

An interesting article which caught my attention as we are now just starting to work with retailers and review providers to deliver video reviews.

One of the key drivers for this is to make the reviews more accessible in store and on the move via mobiles and tablets.

Interest is strong and I hope to be able to post some examples soon.

about 3 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Hi Tim - have you seen many restaurants using this? Certainly makes sense if you have some decent Yelp ratings.

about 3 years ago

Tim Watson

Tim Watson, Email Marketing Consultant at Zettasphere

Graham, the site I referenced is for the US. In the UK I've seen a couple of places put generic door decals saying "we're reviewed at...".

about 3 years ago

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Ryan Leslie

Great read Graham!

As Director of Dealer Reputation Strategy at DealerRater.com this topic is very close to my heart. I can positively tell you that re-purposing online reviews offline is highly effective. I get to talk to dealership employees doing this very successfully every day. They drive potential customers to their online reviews using traditional media. Car dealerships, specifically sales people, often get a bum rap. There are some very gracious, conscientious and professional men and women selling cars. It helps them to be able to differentiate themselves from the stereotype by directing customers to their online reviews.

Thanks, and again, great article!

Ryan Leslie
Director of Dealer Reputation Strategy
DealerRater

about 3 years ago

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