After two days of very well done presentations from the Bazaarvoice team, observers of the social space and some business leaders, I come away from the Bazaarvoice Social Summit with a few thoughts:

  • Generally, the big theme was that use of ratings and reviews by eBusiness pros continues to deepen and add value to overall business success. We heard from Argos, Urban Outfitters, J&J, Xerox, Adobe, Best Buy, Rubbermaid, P&G, LL Bean, 3M and Estee Lauder. All of these businesses showed how they have fully embedded the use of ratings and reviews content throughout their businesses. For example, improved product data gained from ratings and reviews content is sent to all customer touchpoints such as the call center, POS, etc., at Argos; Rubbermaid realized from review content that people don’t read packaging and found that products didn’t perform well when consumers didn’t use the product as directed, so it changed the packaging and the product collateral and thus set expectations more in line with the intended use of the product and now have highly satisfied customers. And the examples like this continued throughout the conference. Look for our coming snapshot report showing some other examples of how eBusinesses continue to mine this valuable content to drive business results.
  • Dan Rose from Facebook spoke about how it will enable social commerce through its partnership with Bazaarvoice where Facebook content can be pulled into a website via the Bazaarvoice interface to show what your friends might have purchased, liked, reviewed or commented on. A good new feature from BV, pulling this type of content into an eBusiness website is one of the few high-potential aspects of Facebook as Sucharita Mulpuru points out in her pieceWill Facebook Ever Drive eCommerce?
  • BV has developed an open API to allow developers to write for the overall Bazaarvoice platform.  Looking forward to seeing what the universe of coders can come up with.
  • And the most well-received news: The Customer Intelligence Platform. This feature is a new product from the firm, which gathers metrics of the product reviews and the people who have written them. It allows the business owner to look at the review content from both the product perspective and the people perspective. One can quickly find products that are doing well and not well and see the why behind either result. And the user can look at what specific reviewers are writing, how frequently they write and to directly interact with the customer through the tool. The interface of this tool is really quite intuitive with lots of clean graphics and easy drag-to-click and select date ranges to drill down deeper into the data. When I talked with Brendan, one of the developers, he told me that  they spent a good deal of time learning about the visual presentation of the data. They have done well here. And, I must say, given the heritage of the company, it is about damn time it produced a metrics product for its platform. 
  • Note to all those launching a reporting product at an event, take it as a best practice to load your clients’ data into the demos at the event. Once the audience heard that they could see their actual data in the new tool, they flocked to the demo room.  
  • In the end, the concept of anti-siloism was repeatedly discussed. Though it isn’t new, it continues to reign as top of mind for eBusiness pros and sits as a lofty goal among eBusinesses. And the social space makes this aim even more critical to work out.  The challenge is how to change effectively to operationalize in such a scenario. We’ve begun to work through this vast issue in Brian Walker’s “Welcome To The Era Of Agile Commerce.” 

All in all, the overarching message to me was that there is still a good deal of deep value to be gained from VOC and VOF (voice of friends) content when mined and minded as common practice.