Just as you would take the time to make sure your messaging is on point at every touchpoint, your UGC should closely follow. A syndicated reviews system ensures that wherever customers see reviews of your products, they see consistent scores and content.
Properly syndicated reviews – that is, content that appears in a coherent and uniform way across multiple channels – is one of the most important things a brand can do to build customer trust and confidence.
What to do and what to don’t
1. Make sure reviews are consistent across the board
In a nutshell, if customers notice inconsistency in review scores across multiple channels, it reduces their trust in the reviews. And you lose people’s trust, your reviews have zero value.
Without a reliable syndication system in place, companies run the risk of the same product showing vastly different scores on different websites. A product reviewed on Retailer A’s website may show five stars, while the very same product, reviewed on a different retailer’s site by different people, may show two stars. This simply reflects the fact that different types of consumers buy from different retailers.
For brands, this can be a major problem, because the types of educated consumers who are most influenced by reviews are also the most diligent in their research. Finding wildly different reviews and scores for a product will make them immediately suspicious, and devalue any trust mark displayed alongside the reviews.
The answer is to use a review provider that can offer effective two-way syndication. In short, this means:
• reviews on the manufacturer’s website are syndicated to retailers’ sites.
• reviews on the retailers’ sites are syndicated back to the manufacturer.
Your review provider should also ensure that the same questions are asked of customers across every platform, to further encourage consistency.
2. Ensure good product matching
Product matching is the ability of a review provider to recognise when the same product is being listed in multiple locations and under multiple names. It also helps guarantee that extremely similar trim models of the same product are recognised as such, but remain distinct for inquisitive consumers.
For example, Ford shows reviews for all models of the Ford Focus together but then allows the consumer to look at reviews for a specific model only.
A poorly matched review system might have lumped them together, making the research process far more confusing and frustrating for the customer.
Problems can also arise if cosmetic variations are confused for distinct models. This can negatively affect the score of the overall product, as seen in this example.
Two colours of the very same mobile phone are incorrectly identified as different products. For whatever reason, the orange coloured phone is not as popular, and its reviews reflect that. But because the lower-scoring orange version is shown when the phone is searched for, many customers assume that the low score is for the product in general, and pass on the phone for a different one entirely.
It’s vital to choose a provider that is able to handle gathering data from many different silos and sources simultaneously. It’s equally important to be diligent in your own manual housekeeping of data. Automated systems can help, but sometimes there’s no substitute for a pair of human eyes.
3. Provide syndication across international markets
Brands looking to compete in multiple overseas markets have an important concern of their own: international syndication.
When international syndication is done right, brands can leverage the entire wealth of their reviews in any market, instantly. Take DeWALT, who (thanks to their review provider – that’s us) was able to syndicate their reviews to Slovakia, complete with translation once you click through to the lightbox.
Presenting reviews in your customers’ native language – so long as it’s made clear to them that what they’re reading is a translation – increases the likelihood of a purchase.
A syndicated reviews system ensures that wherever customers see reviews of your products, they see consistent scores and content. - Highlight to share -
If a review provider is unable to reliably syndicate reviews across international markets, brands run the risk of letting a wealth of valuable UGC go to waste. For example, your product may have zero reviews in Croatia even though it’s selling like hotcakes in Italy, and without internationally syndicated reviews it will continue to have no reviews in Croatia, as few Croats are likely to buy it.
4. Make sure your own manufacturer’s site stays populated
For products that require a significant amount of research on the customer’s part, or are particularly complex or multifaceted, the manufacturer’s own website remains the most common information source for consumers. As a result, a big part of effective syndication is ensuring your own home website stays populated with a healthy volume of consistent reviews.
Failing to do so can not only make your brand and website look unprofessional and a bit fly-by-night, but also cause would-be customers to balk at your product and its trustworthiness.
That’s why it’s important to choose a review provider who can offer two-way syndication. By gathering retailer reviews to populate your own website with, and vice versa, you help ensure a healthy volume of content across all of your most important channels. Choose a partner with a high publish rate, and watch your website’s reviews flourish.
By taking review syndication as seriously as any other aspect of ultra-valuable UGC, brands can see to it that their most important content remains their glowing product reviews, and not their responses to needlessly confused customers.