What is Yotpo, and how did you and your team get started in this field?
Yotpo was started from my own need. I wanted to buy a camera as a gift for a friend. I went online to do some research and read through many different reviews. I ended up choosing a camera based on some great reviews that I read. But when my friend got the camera, it turned out to be a terrible purchase. The reviews were totally untrustworthy. So I decided to start a trusted-review service.
What trends and changes in the market led you to realize that Yotpo would fill a void? Describe the void.
More and more people are conducting their research and buying online. As a result, there are more and more eCommerce sites launched every day. However, my partner and I noticed that there was not a good reviews solution for small businesses. These sites don’t have the means or expertise to invest in a quality reviews system, but reviews are still incredibly important for them.
Moreover, shops are experiencing a steep rise in spam reviews from competitors and bots since everyone realizes the important role that reviews play in a customer’s purchasing decisions. There was simply no good solution around, so we launched Yotpo.
Why are customer reviews such a valuable marketing tool for retailers? How can marketers use social media to leverage customer purchases and quality reviews?
This is a great question. Forbes just came out with a new article about the importance of reviews as a marketing tool. The article notes that reviews influence 65 percent of shoppers to pick a brand they weren’t originally considering. It also points to the importance of providing quality, trusted reviews.
At Yotpo, we’ve found that reviews can be a great way to increase SEO, which in turn helps drive new traffic to shops that install it. The reason is that reviews are a great source of user-generated content, which search engines value very highly.
We provide an easy way to automatically publish every new review generated to a shop’s Facebook or Twitter pages. This helps keep pages active and encourages discussion within the shop’s community. In addition, reviewers are encouraged to publish their reviews (which they are often proud of) to their own online social circles, thereby exposing the shop being reviewed to whole new customer segments.
How should the marketing/advertising and retail industries utilize Yotpo to generate traffic, increase customer confidence and boost sales?
Search results that include star ratings can help drive significant traffic to reviewed sites. It’s been shown that if someone is searching for a camera and there are 10 links — one of which has a five-star rating — the user is 17 percent more likely to click on the one with the rating.
Yotpo also provides a “mail-after-purchase” feature, which emails shoppers at a set time after purchase encouraging them to leave reviews for the products they bought. This email is hugely successful in increasing the review volume that our shops generate. In addition, this email also helps turn many one-time shoppers into return customers since they receive a reminder email from a shop they like and often end up returning to the shop to buy more products after leaving a review.
Why is the reviewer score feature important? How does Yotpo measure reviewers’ professionalism and credibility
The reviewer score feature is important in building consumer trust and confidence. We provide three levels of reviewer trust and a distinct badge for each level, making it very clear to potential shoppers how much they should trust each review they read. A Verified Buyer is a reviewer who bought the product he or she is writing about. A Verified Reviewer is a reviewer who used his social account or validated his email after posting a review, making it clear that this is not a bot or spam review. Anonymous reviewer is anyone who does not fall into the first two categories, and is therefore less trustworthy. We’re able to surface the most trustworthy reviews that a product has received first, which helps significantly in fighting fake reviews.
How do you see “social” reviews and eCommerce evolving in the next three to five years?
By leveraging customers’ social graphs, we can show users how they are connected to the people whose reviews they are reading. You’re more likely to trust a review written by a friend or a friend of a friend than you are a random review. As our online social graphs become stronger, so too will our ability to surface the most relevant reviews for each shopper.
Over the next few years, trustworthy reviews (that can easily be shared across social networks) will become even more essential to SMBs. As we spend more and more time online, we’re more likely to discover new potential purchases through our friend graphs. By encouraging people to share their reviews, Yotpo is able to provide a whole new (and growing) distribution channel to the shops that install it.
Tomer is a young, highly motivated entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of Yotpo, a social reviews platform for eCommerce websites. Tomer is an Internet junkie, a dog person and a computer geek.
Originally published Feb 7, 2013 12:00:49 AM, updated December 03 2014