"Review syndication provides more reviews overall on our site and aids in the decision process. The CPO customer benefits from additional valuable product information including images and videos on the tools and supplies we sell." — Carolyn Carden, VP of Ecommerce at CPO
The challenge: Maximizing product review syndication
CPO Commerce is a leading tool retailer selling similar products from a wide range of manufacturers as well as specialty sites for specific brands and customers. In this environment, getting shoppers the information they need to feel confident choosing is essential to the CPO business. When shoppers can’t find enough information on the CPO site, they quickly look elsewhere. On the other hand, when shoppers find just the information they need at CPO, they are more likely to buy, and they remember CPO as a particularly good resource for tools, which brings them back for future purchases.
A key part of CPO’s content strategy is product Ratings & Reviews, which customers rely on heavily when choosing between similar items. And a key part of CPO's strategy for getting lots of ratings and reviews is syndication from their manufacturers. Products with more reviews always sell better, but when there are many similar items to choose from, review volume becomes especially important for each individual SKU: shoppers prefer items where they can find more information, and higher review counts signal that an item is popular which also promotes sales. As a result, CPO’s product suppliers are especially eager to provide the product reviews they collect for display on CPO.
This environment should have made CPO a perfect merchant for maximum review syndication, but there was one problem: CPO’s review platform only participated in a closed syndication network –meaning CPO could only bring in reviews from brands that used certain platforms to collect and manage their reviews – and many of the manufacturers that CPO sells were not in the network because they used other reviews platforms. CPO feared they were missing out on a lot of potential review syndication as well as disappointing vendors that wanted to participate. It turned out, they were right.
"We knew many of our important suppliers were collecting lots of product reviews on their sites – we could see them – yet we weren’t able to bring them over to CPO."
To solve this problem, CPO switched to the Emplifi product reviews system to take advantage of Emplifi's Open Syndication technology. Emplifi's technology enables a merchant to syndicate in product reviews from any manufacturer that chooses to share them, regardless of the platform the manufacturer uses to collect and manage them. Further, Emplifi's technology enables this with zero technical integration, which means the only thing needed from the manufacturer in order to start the syndication flowing is permission.
The first thing CPO wanted to ensure was that all the review syndication they were previously receiving was preserved. What they found far exceeded their expectations. Not only did they continue to receive syndicated reviews from 100% of the brands previously sending them, but the total volume of reviews received from those brands increased by 40%. Emplifi's technology was able to significantly increase the SKU match rate between the source sites and CPO, meaning far more of the reviews collected by the brands could be displayed on the CPO site.
Next, CPO discovered that with Emplifi, the number of brands providing syndicated reviews increased by 100%. While some of these were smaller brands, the new syndication sources also included six of CPO's ten biggest syndication sources — some of their most important product suppliers.
In aggregate, CPO discovered that by switching to Emplifi's Open Syndication, they not only doubled the number of brands from which they received syndicated reviews, but the total number of syndicated reviews they were able to display on their site also increased by more than 150%, improving the performance of their site as well as relationships with their vendors. The closed network had indeed been holding them back, and by far more than CPO had realized.
"Switching to Emplifi turned out to be a great move. Our main motivation was to take advantage of Emplifi's Open Syndication technology, and that worked out even better than we hoped. But we also discovered that Emplifi's whole customer content platform was a great fit for us. They significantly increased the volume of product reviews we collected on our own. Their Community Q&A has been heavily used by both our customers and our staff. And their team is one of the best we've ever worked with."