Today’s internet marketplace offers unique opportunities for retailer and manufacturers to listen and respond to the needs and ideas of their customers. Since most users are fundamentally social in nature, this sharing comes with little, if any, coxing. Smart businesses listen to their customer’s needs and ideas and act upon them.
When user ideas are applied to improve some aspect of a product or service, a special relationship begins to develop between the buyer and seller. These user-driven innovations improve products, drive sales, and build consumer loyalty.
MIT professor Eric Von Hippel has been credited with the term ‘user driven innovation’. Many products and services are improved or refined after they are used. This refinement is then turned back into the supply network. Today’s webpage designs make it easy for customers to send feedback, comment on blogs, and discuss their ideas in forums. Retailers and manufacturers that respond and act on these suggestions are usually ahead of the curve and often lead the way to better products, services, and healthier bottom lines.
Some user-driven innovations require major manufacturing alterations, but many are simple changes that involve packaging, product or service delivery, product sizes, or product elements. Offer your customers one or more ways to leave feedback and respond to comments in a timely fashion. Retailers are often surprised when one suggestion is supported by other commenters. Entering into real conversations can build and expand your business.
Where should you offer opportunities for discussions?
1. Product webpage comment sections
Most product templates offer a page or section for comments. Avoid generating your own comments or filling this webpage space with vague and meaningless content. Instead, sincerely ask buyers to make comments and suggestions. When real customers take time to review a product, respect the time they took and thank them for their comments. In many cases constructive criticism will help you improve your service and product delivery. Remember, many problems are easy fixes.
2. Blog comments areas
Blogs offer unique opportunities for readers to discuss products without sounding critical. Try to review blogs on a regular basis and respond to real comments and ideas.
3. Forums related to your product or industry
People are happy to give free advice; all you have to do is take it. Choose a few quality sites that apply to your product line and join in the conversation. Don’t use these sites for marketing, but if your retail website is relevant, you can mention it.
And don’t forget we’re always here to help.
Competitor monitor can automate the process of collecting and analysing feedback from webpages, blogs and forums for you. We can even provide a comparison of product reviews and pricing changes to show the impact of one on another. It’s all about keeping you one step ahead of the competition.