Case Study: The Land of Nod — live from Word of Mouth Supergenius

2:20 — Jim Lovelady introduces Bazaarvoice’s Sam Decker and Michelle Kohanzo of The Land of Nod.

2:21 — Sam: We have 20 minutes to present, and so it’s kind of hard to get to know everyone. Sam says hello to the audience and talks about how important it is to build a relationship with your customers.

2:21 — Sam: Markets have always been about conversations, now it’s just amplified.

2:22 — Sam: Our company is centered around social commerce, and the idea is that you can center conversations around a product and it can be used to learn more about what you do.

2:23 — Sam: If you’re trying to create change based on your word of mouth, it’s not going to happen in the marketing department, it’s going to happen in customer service and product development.

2:24 — Sam shares a quote from the CEO of Urban Outfitters, in which he says, “The real business is in the 1-star reviews” — and says this is where you really learn about your products.

2:26 — Sam talks about J.C. Whitney which uses a Q&A function on their site, where customers can actually ask questions and other customers can answer it. One seller through J.C. Whitney was able to become the leading brand of a product based on how they engaged with customers on J.C. Whitney’s site.

2:28 — Michelle begins talking about how they’ve implemented ratings and reviews on their site since March of 2008.

2:29 — Michelle: The average daily rating is 4.56 (out of 5), and 38% of reviewers write multiple reviews.

2:30 — Michelle says the biggest way they’re driving participation is sending a post-purchase email.

2:31 — Another way The Land of Nod generates a lot of reviews is by offering gift cards as contest prizes — Michelle also says that while this drives a lot of reviews, it’s not always the most accurate as it’s through a contest.

2:32 — Michelle: The biggest thing here is not that you’re getting reviews, it’s what you’re doing to bring this feedback back to the company.

2:33 — Michelle: We treat reviews as importantly as phone calls.

2:34 — Michelle says they involve their marketing department to leverage the user generated content across other channels, and this spring The Land of Nod will feature ratings and reviews in their catalogs for the first time.

2:34 — Michelle talks about their number one selling product, an activity table which was highly rated and sold well. But despite all this great feedback, one of the common problems customers raised was that it had a “soft” table top. Once The Land of Nod realized this issue, their merchants went to work to re-engineer the product to use a different type of wood.

2:35 — Michelle says the Land of Nod then reached out to customers who had written reviews about the table and sent them a replacement for free — and that fans were ecstatic.

2:36 — Michelle: This isn’t just a one time project. We’ve replaced a couple other products that didn’t meet our standards before, and we’re always looking for opportunities to do this for customers.


Q: How do you staff around this? Now that you’ve opened it up and have been very responsive, has it required more staffing and resources?

A: As far as people, the only additional resources we’ve added is one dedicated rep in the customer service department. This person is responsible for taking the lead on reviewing this material.

Q: What if some nutjob goes out there and gives you a one star? Do you just let them go out there unfiltered?

A: Well, our reviews our moderated. There are some rules. A human actually looks at every review. But, if the  review is valid, we’re posting it — and that was really scary for our organization.

Q: If somebody gives you a negative review, do you instantly respond?

A: We would immediately post it, but we don’t necessarily post a response on a negative review. We would normally contact the customer directly if we feel like we can help them. Sam adds that the majority of reviews their 600 brands receive are 4 and 5 star reviews.

Q: Are you looking to capture much more service quality type of criteria? Are you looking for statistically valid responses? Do you get enough responses where you can compare one retail store against another.

A: As far as service quality, that’s not the feedback we’re specifically seeking. I think it’s great feedback that we’d love to see more of, but it’s not our main objective. And yes, we definitely do look at the volume of reviews as a factor.

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