When it comes to what we like, we humans are a predictable species. On the whole, we like what other people like. And the advent of product reviews on Facebook and Twitter has bought the world of e-commerce and Social Media much closer together in recent years. YOTPO is a relatively new company set up to try and bring external Social Media reviews of a product for display on the shopping site of a small business. Thereby giving small business retailers and service providers the same advantage, as say Amazon, as far as the influence of Social Media reviews goes.
Since the early days of Internet Shopping and Social Networks there have been sites that have encouraged you to “Like” or comment on items for sale, images, entire blog posts or simple thoughts and opinions of others. When an item is “liked” a little, it starts to gather more attention, and then is “liked” more, until if you are lucky, it may go viral and carry your thoughts and agenda across town in the form of an Internet “wave”. For some products, this is enough to guarantee huge sales success (or the entire opposite if your product or service stinks). Anyway you look at it, social reviews are big business and the advent of large Social Media Networks, like Facebook and Twitter has exacerbated this trend to epic proportions.
Large shopping sites like Amazon attract enough customers to garner reviews on many of the items they sell. And it can be reassuring to potential purchasers that some complete stranger has been excited enough to write a review. Reassuring enough, that often they will purchase something based on that anonymous recommendation. Make no mistake; the “social review industry” is big business. But many small businesses simply do not attract enough custom to generate the depth of social review that may be required to persuade a visiting prospect with their hard earned cash. Hence the need for a business-to-business service like, YOTPO. Which means incidentally: Your Opinion. The Public Opinion.
This is actually more difficult than it first sounds, because popular and note worthy items, like say an Apple IPod, might generate millions of reviews and YOTPO has to not only search out the reviews, but then somehow (using algorithmic magic) decide which reviews are most relevant, informative or useful in a given product search context. In addition, YOTPO has to decide which review is most trust worthy to you, again in the context that you are searching. So for example, you might, or might not, trust a review simply because it has itself the most public “Likes”, or you might, or might not, trust your best mate and drinking buddy’s informed view on Arsenal’s chances in the FA Cup , but you know he knows nothing about IPods! On the other hand, unpopular items might not have attracted any reviews, analysis or opinion.
Nevertheless, I think YOTPO are on to something here for small business retailers and other small businesses that simply wish to have their products and Blog post opinions validated by the public. In short, YOTPO might allow your business to benefit from “increased word of mouth and social exposure”.
YOTPO has a free basic service that supports up to 100 reviews per month and is ideal for the small shopping site. However, the price soon starts to ramp up at $80 per month for 500 reviews per month. The point is, public reviews for products services and blog posts is so important that it might well be worth it. As YOTPO say, “At last, truly social reviews” and I would add, “for small business owners like you!”