FT.com - Giving users a say can help generate sales opportunities

in FT.com

Online shoppers are a loquacious crowd. Increasingly, they want to comment on products, share experiences and discuss what the brand means to them.

If they cannot have those conversations on the retailer’s website, they will have them elsewhere on the internet.

Ashley Friedlein, chief executive and co-founder of Econsultancy, which publishes research and guidance on best practice in online marketing and e-commerce, says: “Shopping is an experience that people love to share, whether it has been positive or negative.”

Gradually, companies are realising that the opportunity to eavesdrop on those conversations – and engage more deeply with customers – is priceless.

For that reason, many e-retailers are opting to host these conversations, opening their websites to “user-generated content” (UGC). This can take many forms: product reviews, discussion boards or company-led blogs to which customers can respond.

They offer retailers a chance to understand better who their customers are and what makes them tick.

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