"My hypothesis for improving our Customer-Generated Content was, if we gave customers a platform to voice their love for us and our products, we would get lots of good content. And with Emplifi’s platform I’ve proven that hypothesis to be dramatically correct." — Kevin Irish, Digital Marketing Manager at Bob’s Red Mill
Bob’s Red Mill realized that some powerful word-of-mouth marketing was slipping through their fingers. The company had been using a stock product review feature from their eCommerce platform and had been passively collecting reviews with a “write a review” button on the product detail page that offered an unsatisfactory user experience.
"I had grown adults break down in tears in front of me, saying that we changed their lives—often because they had been diagnosed with a disease or allergy. Then I looked at our website, and none of that emotion was present."
To top it off, they couldn’t actively solicit reviews or other types of Customer-Generated Content from shoppers. As a result, their review collection rates were far below desired levels.
"My hypothesis for improving our Customer-Generated Content was, if we gave customers a platform to voice their love for us and our products, we would get lots of good content. And with Emplifi’s platform, I’ve proven that hypothesis to be dramatically correct."
Emplifi Ratings & Reviews
Instead of waiting around for reviews to trickle in, Bob’s Red Mill tapped Emplifi’s Ratings & Reviews product to actively solicit Customer-Generated Content by email. The review collection process was also streamlined by Emplifi’s Inbox Submission feature, which lets shoppers submit product reviews directly from within the body of an email—eliminating a friction point during the collection process.
Emplifi’s implementation engineers and customer success team also worked closely with Bob’s Red Mill to make sure their Customer-Generated Content strategy was tailor-made to deliver the best outcomes.
The result? Collection rates skyrocketed, going from an average of a little over 1 per day, to an average of about 115 per day thanks to Emplifi.
"I had worked with other 'top players' in the past and was really disappointed. They nickeled and dimed us, lacked support, and weren’t open to making changes to personalize or customize their platform. In contrast, Emplifi did a great job of laying out their platform’s options, and we decided how we wanted it to look and what it would do," Irish says.
Emplifi Checkout Comments
Bob’s Red Mill almost passed on integrating Emplifi’s Checkout Comments™ into their home page, something Irish says he’s immensely grateful he reversed course on. With Checkout Comments, buyers are asked a simple question about why they bought a particular item immediately after making a purchase.
"The Checkout Comments product has been a huge success, and another feature we never thought of. What we’re getting is absolutely content gold. So much so that we rebuilt part of our website based on its success."
Checkout Comments generates content that’s suffused with positive sentiment and provides shoppers with reassurance about a potential purchase. It’s a great way to build up Customer Generated Content for new products that haven’t yet collected any reviews, or to quickly grab content for companies that have a lot of churn in their product catalogs.
It’s also really good at getting content from buyers who make repeat purchases of a product—and thus are huge fans of it—but have yet to submit a more traditional review. On average, Checkout Comments accumulate three times faster than reviews, and start working the moment a new product goes on sale.
While Checkout Comments can appear right on a product detail page, Bob’s Red Mill took things a step further by creating a visual pinboard on its home page. The board features a running list of recently purchased products that are accompanied by a Checkout Comment. Bob’s Red Mill can tag the best Checkout Comments for display in the pinboard, reserving its site real estate for the most compelling Customer-Generated Content.
Emplifi Community Q&A
Prior to adopting Emplifi, the recipe section of Bob’s Red Mill’s site was already a hit, generating about one-third of its total online traffic. But the company discovered that customers were often posting questions about recipes in the review section.
The site was generating an enviable level of customer engagement—the problem was that it wasn’t being taken advantage of because the review section wasn’t well-suited to answering the questions being asked.
"We were seeing one-star reviews on the old platform, with the comment in the review asking if someone could replace almond milk with cow’s milk. It made the review data unreliable," Irish says.
To respond to those needs, Bob’s Red Mill adopted Emplifi’s Community Q&A product. With Community Q&A, shoppers started posting questions in a way that made them easily answered by both Bob’s Red Mill’s in-house experts, as well as by other customers.
"They don’t need to leave an inaccurate review, they simply ask our recipe pros what will work," Irish says.
Unsurprisingly, the marriage of Community Q&A and the site’s recipe section was a hit, helping to send content collection rates through the roof.
Bob’s Red Mill actually soft-launched Community Q&A without telling its customers; 30 minutes later they had already collected their first recipe-related question.
Community Q&A also lived up to its name by giving Bob’s Red Mill customers a place to share knowledge and exchange tips about using its products, helping to foster an online community built around its brand.
The bottom line
By tapping into Emplifi’s products, Bob’s Red Mill completely revamped their Customer-Generated Content capabilities to capture authentic content from some of their strongest brand advocates—their own customers. The result was more content about the company’s goods on product detail pages, greater support for an impassioned online customer community, and a better overall experience for online shoppers.