Joanna Steele is the Senior Reviews and Customer Generated Content Manager at Argos. Or to put it another way, The CGC Queen, what Joanna doesn’t know about getting customer reviews and using them to increase sales is very little! Argos is one of the UK’s leading high street retailers founded in the 1970s, they have over 1,200 physical locations across the UK, sell 89,000 products, and are the 3rd most visited website in the UK after Amazon and eBay.
2020 eCommerce MasterPlan Growth Series sponsored by Omnisend
This episode is part of our annual growth series – you can find out all about how it can help you grow your business and links to the rest of the episodes here.
About the Business
- Argos is a high street, online, and catalogue retailer in the UK & Ireland
- Established in 1972
Even though Joanna’s earliest ambitions were in law—which she began studying at University—she quickly realized it wasn’t a good fit for her. Joanna switched her focus to marketing and worked in a variety of PR and marketing roles across several different industries.
In the early 2000s, Joanna saw how marketing was evolving and deliberately transitioned into a digital role. Joanna cut her teeth at Mothercare, an online mother and baby retailer and has now transitioned to Argos as well as building up her own digital services firm primarily serving the Western African region.
How to Get Good CGC
Chloe asked Joanna one of the most asked questions in the eCommerce business—How do you get more reviews? The answer is multi-faceted, but the best place to start is focus.
Argos has a stand-alone team comprised of five people who are 100% focused on reviews and customer-generated content. Organizations often delegate customer-generated content strategies to a more general team like digital marketing. Devoting a full-time team has paid off for Argos. Joanna and her team collect, on average, over 1M reviews annually and are market leaders in the customer-generated content space.
Volume and coverage are their key objectives and Joanna says that getting the volume up in order to see the conversion uplift is crucial. Coverage—that is, ensuring that all your products are getting covered is massively important. Even less known products need to be getting reviews and getting good coverage across a whole product range will uplift everything.
While Joanna says that there are lots of ways businesses can get reviews, Argos gets most of theirs from email. The team generates most of their reviews by reaching out to customers directly through email asking for honest feedback.
That distinction—honest feedback—is important to Joanna and she says that “customers just want the truth.” Most of the emails are incentivized and the team also uses tactical triggers that time their request for feedback based on how long that product typically takes to use and understand. Treating products differently and tailoring lead time for review requests has better overall returns.
Engaging customers for different types of feedback helps Argos get reviews that both help customers understand the product better and get a better overall sense of the product.
CGC is an Asset to Businesses
Since customers now use reviews to make buying decisions, Joanna says having more information through product reviews is an amazing resource for an organization’s content.
Customers add another lens about how someone might use a product—insight which Joanna says businesses themselves don’t always have.
Products with negative reviews actually have a higher conversion uplift compared to a product with no reviews. And details count too—Joanna says that people will disregard negative reviews that don’t have anything to do with the product.
Customers typically find products with negative reviews more believable too. Joanna also points out that products with multiple negative reviews are really an opportunity to fix whatever gone wrong.
Different Types of Reviews
Argos does product, service and financial service reviews. Each type of review is displayed and shared differently, partly so they don’t bombard their customers with too much information.
Product reviews are displayed publicly while service reviews are typically used for internal insight and aren’t displayed. Argos financial service reviews only display on their financial services site.
Other Forms of Customer Generated Content
An increasing number of customers are using social media to document their lives and experiences. This type of customer-generated content can be used to inspire other potential customers.
Argos generally has been encouraging customers to document their Argos purchases, especially in sectors which haven’t been traditionally popular with customers like furniture. Encouraging people who are using Argos furniture in a fresh new way to share and tag is helping other customers see Argos furniture in a new light.
eCommerce Book Top Tip
- I am my Brand by Kubi Springer
eCommerce Traffic Top Tip
- Social Media: Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram—a free or low-cost way to get traffic, get your message out and increase your traffic.
Tool Top Tip
- The app Journal—set daily goals and channel affirmation
Growth Top Tip
- Leverage customer feedback—Conversation about your brand and product is a two-way street. Use the information to make your product or services better and remember that your customers listen to other customers.
- Content marketing with Jacqueline Parisi of Hello Fresh – we dive into blogs, quizzes, & KPIs
- Electric Tobacconist’s Pascal Culverhouse on SEO, retailing and getting to 7-figures in 2 years
- Goodbye Crutches’ Tom Schwab discusses how he used content to get 70k visitors a month
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Chloe’s New Book:
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Thanks Mr K Helle!
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