Friday, July 31, 2009

Welcoming New Network Participants

Last quarter, almost 350 merchants started using the BizRate Ratings & Customer Feedback Platform. In this post, I’d like to introduce you to 10 of them. What struck me as most compelling about this list of 10 merchants is that many of them have been in business for years and years. In fact, one such merchant, Meijer, was founded in 1934 and continues to operate as a multi-products retailer in the Midwest. Another recent addition to our network is Skates On Haight, based in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco; their About Us page states that they started out “as a tiny hole in a wall with a cardboard counter and a shoebox for a cash register.”

That retailers who have been building their businesses for decades use our customer listening tools says more about the value of the feedback platform than we could ever say ourselves. Please join me in welcoming these 10 stores plus almost another 340 to our ever growing network!

Best Insoles
Best Insoles carries the complete Spenco Line of arch supports and insoles, as well as Superfeet Insoles, Lynco Insoles, SOF Sole Insoles, Powerstep Arch Supports, Sole Insoles & Orthopedic Sandals and other brands.
Overall Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 9.1
Would Shop Again Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 9.1
Customer Service Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 9.0
Customer Certified: Yes

Bradford Exchange Checks
Affiliated with The Bradford Exchange, a recognized leader in collectibles since 1972, they sell personal checks with exclusive, beloved art masterpieces at an exceptional price
Overall Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 8.6
Would Shop Again Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 8.5
Customer Service Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 8.4
Customer Certified: Yes

Bumble and Bumble
In business for over 30 years, they operate under the mission of becoming the best hair care products in the world through the continous process of self-examination and re-invention.
Overall Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 9.2
Would Shop Again Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 9.2
Customer Service Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 9.0
Customer Certified: Yes

Offers simple but effective products that help you organize the cord clutter in your home and office.
Overall Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 8.8
Would Shop Again Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 8.8
Customer Service Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 8.4
Customer Certified: Yes
Discount Golf World retails golf clubs, bags, golf shoes, equipments, golf cart accessories and golf balls.
Overall Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 8.8
Would Shop Again Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 8.8
Customer Service Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 8.4
Customer Certified: Yes

Meijer is a one-stop shopping experience, where you'll find a wide selection at great values. A family-run business since 1934.
Overall Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 8.8
Would Shop Again Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 8.6
Customer Service Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 8.4
Customer Certified: Yes

Pretty Skin 4 Less
Decades of experience in the esthetics industry, including medical esthetics and spa products and services.
Overall Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 9.4
Would Shop Again Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 9.5
Customer Service Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 9.0
Customer Certified: Yes

Skates on Haight
The online store for San Francisco, CA based Skates On Haight, which has been in business since 1975. They started as a tiny hole in a wall with a cardboard counter and a shoebox for a cash register. Now they ship worldwide to over 100 countries!
Overall Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 9.0
Would Shop Again Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 9.0
Customer Service Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 8.7
Customer Certified: Yes

Launched in 1979 as a 4 track recording studio, Sweetwater today offers products from hundreds of the best names in the music business.
Overall Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 9.6
Would Shop Again Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 9.5
Customer Service Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 9.6
Customer Certified: Yes

The History Channel
The online store for The History Channel where you can order favorites shows from "Band of Brothers" to "Monster Quest".
Overall Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 9.1
Would Shop Again Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 9.0
Customer Service Rating (on a scale of 1 - 10): 8.8
Customer Certified: They’re Working On It

Friday, July 24, 2009

Ratings: They Boost Your Search Engine Listings Too!

Earlier this week, I had an opportunity to speak with Greg Goodson and Greg Davis, of about how they're using the BizRate Ratings & Customer Feedback Platform (we're going to come up with a better name; if you've got any good ideas, let us know!).

As its website states, is a pure online retailer focused on outdoor gear for the serious recreational athlete. has been using the BizRate ratings platform for nine years, has collected over 100,000 points of customer feedback, is BizRate Customer Certified standing, and is a Circle of Excellence winner five years running! Their commitment to customer satisfaction is as genuine as their passion for the outdoors.

The primary purpose of our talk was to discuss how used BizRate's suite of customer insights & feedback tools. Their biggest application of our tools is in running monthly reports on trended views of customer satisfaction, and using the data to provide training and feedback to their Customer Service Representatives.

But, Greg Goodson expressed another really interesting benefit to using the BizRate Ratings platform: better ranking in Google Product Search., along with just about every other online retailer, uses Google Product Search to drive traffic to their site.

Google has done a great job of crawling, from various sources, customer-generated seller ratings. And, they seem to ascribe a decent amount of importance to seller ratings that are compiled from the BizRate platform. When shoppers search for products, the results also include a reference to those sellers' ratings.

In Greg's opinion (and he's been at the traffic acquisition game for a couple of years), the seller ratings help boost the rank of a seller's product search results, all things being equal. With an aggregate rating of 4.5 stars (out of 5) in Google Product Search, seems to show up quite prominently. When I searched for a Kelty Villa Tent, they are in the third and fifth positions; and, when I filtered by stores with a rating of 4 stars or more, they occupy the first and third positions.

And, the Googlejuice didn't seem to stop there. I search for Arc'Teryx, one of my favorite brands of ski apparel. For the term, Arc'Teryx Softshell Pant, (and related properties) occupied positions 1 - 4 in Google Product Search.

In addition to helping boost positional rank in Google Product Search, both Gregs noted that their ratings also helped instill buyer confidence, which tends to result in better conversion rates.

So, if tapping into the voice of your customer and enabling a feedback loop isn't reason enough to use BizRate Ratings & Customer Feedback Platform, perhaps getting a boost in Google Product Search and seeing better conversions on that traffic might appeal to you. In this economy, I'd say: Yes!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Get Certified!

Becoming BizRate Customer Certified is one of the most important things a company can do. Posting the Customer Certified Medal on every page throughout your site shows customers that you value their feedback. It also provides a quick snapshot of your recent performance for both your review and your customers, as it is updated daily with your new overall score. In addition to the medal you can post on your site, a ribbon will appear next to your store name in the BizRate and Shopzilla Report Card pages.

Getting started on the road to certification is easy – post the BizRate Survey Code! You can download and post the BizRate Survey and BizRate Customer Certified Medal codes at the same time. Go to the Shopzilla Merchant Services Website and login with your username and password; the codes are located under the Research & Ratings tab. The Customer Certified Medal will be blank until you begin to collect surveys and then it will dynamically appear with the words "rate this store". Once you become Customer Certified by meeting these qualifications, your medal will dynamically generate with the smiley scale face for your overall score:

1. Offer the Point-of-Sale (POS) at least 30 times in the past 7 days
2. Receive at least 20 Fulfillment (FF) surveys related to POS surveys from the past 90 days
3. Receive a 6.0 or above in all standard metrics

The BizRate Customer Certified medal is unique because it isn’t awarded or granted by BizRate, but rather by your customers based on their feedback. The medal is a great tool because it allows you to show off not only your scores, but also your customer feedback. More than just an image on your site, this medal is actually a link to the BizRate Report Card Page, allowing your customers to quickly see feedback from others, or leave their own, with just 1 click. If you need assistance, please contact us, we’re always here to help.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ready, Set, Listen!!

When you’re ready to listen and tune-in to your customers, you can easily do so with BizRate’s Customer Satisfaction & Feedback Platform. This post details how to get started. And, one of the best parts about the service is: it’s FREE!!

Step 1: Create a Shopzilla Merchant Account.
In addition to running and comparison shopping websites, Shopzilla, Inc. operates the BizRate Customer Satisfaction & Feedback program. All you need to start using the feedback program is a Shopzilla Merchant Account. When you register, we’ll ask you to activate your merchant account by way of email (so make sure you look out for our activation email that we send within 1 minute of your registering). After you activate your account, we’ll prompt you to fund your account. Only do this if you also want to buy CPC traffic from and Otherwise, simply disregard this prompt.

If you already have a Shopzilla Merchant Account, you can skip this step. If you have an account, but have forgotten your password, you can recover it.

Step 2: Pick Up the BizRate Ratings Code.
Log-in to your Shopzilla Merchant Account and click on the
Ratings & Research Tab. Then click on Survey Code in the sub-nav. Copy the Java Script; do not alter it any way.

Step 3: Paste the Code on Your Site’s Final Receipt Page
Once you’ve copied the Java Script, simply paste it on your store’s final receipt/check-out page. You can easily implement this code on any number of the popular ecommerce platforms such as Yahoo! Stores, Zoovy, and osCommerce. Your platform provider may have additional information on where to place this code.

When buyers reach the final receipt page, the Java Script spawns an “invitation” that links them to the ratings and feedback form. The invitation looks like the one below.

This invite is served to over 350,000 buyers shopping from thousands of different retailers every single day. When the buyers click on the invitation, it links them to the BizRate Ratings Survey & Feedback Form. The survey is between 2 and 4 pages takes about 2 minutes for a respondent to complete.

To incorporate your store’s logo in both the survey invitation and the survey form, simply upload your logo using the Logo Manager feature from within your Shopzilla Merchant Account

That’s it! It’s really that easy to get started. From there, you’ll begin collecting feedback and ratings. You can access your ratings and customers’ comments via a number of tools, including VitalSigns, VitalMail and QuickResponse, each of which we’ll discuss in further detail in subsequent posts.

If you have any additional questions, please comment on this post or contact us.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Enabling The Voice of the Consumer

Over 12 years ago, with the introduction of our Customer Feedback & Ratings platform, innovated the web’s first retail customer satisfaction feedback loop. This widely adopted platform enables the voice of the consumer to openly provide feedback to retailers and other shoppers and simultaneously gives retailers the tools to listen to their customers and measure their satisfaction.

So pervasive is the platform's use that, since its inception, it has captured over 100,000,000 consumer opinions from more 13,000 retailers. Given that every day, over 350,000 online shoppers are invited to rate their just completed shopping experience, it represents one of the more prolific sources of user generated content on the web. Retail brands as widely recognized as Saks, J. Crew, Ralph Lauren, Staples, Victoria’s Secret, REI and Zappos have been using the feedback loop and ratings platform for years to continuously monitor their customers’ satisfaction levels and to benchmark themselves against industry peers. And, retailers without quite the name recognition as those just mentioned but no less committed to their customers’ happiness also rely on this feedback loop. Names like,,, and not only use the platform to listen to their customers, but to help build their merchant reputation, which they accomplish – in part – when they become Customer Certified.

We are encouraged that retailers like Black Helmet Apparel actually celebrate their achievement in becoming Customer Certified as they did in a recent tweet. It’s something worth celebrating because retailers know that their customers use the BizRate feedback loop to express their frustration or, in the case of Amy Meehan, share their delight in how they’re treated by the stores at which they shop. Amy tweeted that she used the BizRate to successfully resolve an order fulfillment issue with MAC Comestics. And, I too have taken delight from the response I get from retailers when talking to them through the megaphone that is the BizRate survey. In May, I placed an order Ralph Lauren; I used the BizRate survey to express my surprise that standard shipping might take as many as 10 days (who can blame me when I’ve grown accustomed to Amazon Prime and Zappos’ free overnight shipping?!). Within 1 hour of submitting my feedback, I received an email from Ralph Lauren customer support that satisfactorily addressed my comment.

As effective as it is, the BizRate Customer Feedback & Ratings platform is not without limitations. A personal frustration is the absence of a social web that ties together all the Bizrate Merchant Ratings & Reviews. With all the ratings attributed to Online Shopper (the generic ID that we associate to all our reviewers), I have no idea who shopped where. Perhaps, I’d ascribe more credence to the reviews of a top 100 reviewer or to someone who rates multiple stores. We do know, though, that some shoppers have rated multiple purchases across a number of different stores. In fact, some dedicated customers have provided feedback to the same store for over 6 years. I, for one, would like to unmask this elusive Online Shopper and give her/him an identity by way of an account that lets them catalog and update their ratings and reviews of the stores at which they shop. I expect we’ll be able to do that in the coming year.

Going forward, we’d like to use this forum to showcase how retailers use the BizRate Customer Feedback & Ratings platform to listen to their customers, build their reputations and create long-term loyalty. We’ll also use it to provide more detail around the portfolio of products that comprise the platform and to introduce new features. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact us.