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    Yotpo & Codal: Helping eCommerce merchants better understand consumers, improve products, and drive conversions

    Yotpo, one of Codal’s key eCommerce technology partners, provides an innovative approach to collecting, managing, and analyzing customer reviews. Click here to learn about our partnership with Yotpo, how the platform works, and the growing importance of customer reviews for eCommerce merchants.

    Yotpo is on a mission to make customer retention easier for eCommerce merchants—offering a suite of products for running personalized email and SMS marketing campaigns, managing loyalty programs and subscription offerings, and harnessing the power of customer reviews and user generated content (UGC).
    Codal has collaborated with Yotpo on a number of projects to help brands in the highly competitive, rapidly changing eCommerce landscape drive conversions and streamline back office processes.
    In this article, we’ll focus on Yotpo’s AI-enabled approach to collecting and displaying customer reviews, and how our team leverages the solution to modernize and accelerate growth for our clients. But first, let’s make sure we fully understand why reviews are so important for today’s eCommerce merchants, and the common challenges that need to be addressed.

    The true value of customer reviews in eCommerce

    Did you know that 95% of customers read reviews before making an online purchase? Plus, 58% are willing to pay more for products with high praise. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, as shoppers generally tend to seek some social proof, rather than simply relying on product descriptions and images—given the wide range of brands constantly competing for their attention.
    A solid system for collecting and displaying reviews not only helps establish brand trust and buyer confidence, but it also gives merchants an opportunity to better understand their customers. What types of customers leave reviews? What products do they like or dislike the most and why? What are their expectations around checkout, shipping, customer support, and so on? This data can be transformed into actionable insights, enabling brands to make strategic improvements to their customer experience that drive conversions and retention.
    Reviews also help brands improve product merchandising, as well as the products themselves. If a clothing retailer receives complaints about the design of a t-shirt not matching the image displayed on the website, admins can identify and fix the issue, then make things right with the customer. Similarly, if reviews communicate that the fabric of the t-shirt is itchy and uncomfortable, the product team can make plans to use a different kind of fabric.

    Key challenges

    Many eCommerce merchants run into blockers when trying to unlock the full value of customer reviews. These are the most common challenges:
    Customers aren’t leaving reviews: If the process of submitting feedback on a product is unclear, time consuming, or offers no benefit to the customer, they’ll simply skip it.
    There are too many reviews to analyze effectively: For brands that do receive feedback regularly, there must be an intelligent system for managing and evaluating reviews to extract the most important details. Otherwise, internal teams are left sifting through hundreds of reviews and generating reports manually—a process that only becomes more inefficient as their business scales.
    Review data is isolated on disparate systems: In addition to the DTC site, brands can generate reviews on social media platforms like Facebook, third-party retailers like Amazon, and online marketplaces like Ebay. But without aggregating this data in a centralized location, achieving a holistic view—one that shows how customers are really interacting with products—becomes out of reach.

    Enter Yotpo

    Yotpo offers an elegant solution to the challenges listed above.
    The platform offers pre-built tools that enable brands to collect more reviews by simplifying the front-end experience and providing incentives to customers. Admins can segment customers into different categories, then set up custom logic that prompts customers to submit feedback, based on whichever category they belong to. Requests for reviews can be sent automatically via email or SMS, depending on the individual’s preferences and available contact information, prompting them to fill out a simple form.
    On top of making the process simpler for customers, Yotpo users can create incentives to further expand their database of reviews. Through automated emails and text messages, brands offer customers future store credit and discounts in exchange for leaving a review—which not only generates more feedback, but also leads to higher customer engagement, repeat purchases, and greater brand loyalty.
    Reviews from forms completed by customers on product pages, social media platforms, email, and SMS are sent to a centralized database, where they’re formatted for the most effective analysis by both employees and AI bots. Yotpo users can identify general patterns by analyzing review data from a wide lens, as well as access super granular data around individual customers, products, and platforms. All of this data is visualized through customizable graphs and charts on an intuitive dashboard, making it easy for teams to report findings and extract useful insights. This is especially valuable when monitoring new products, as it helps teams discover quality issues and make necessary improvements faster than ever before.
    Yotpo uses advanced AI and ML algorithms to streamline the process of analyzing review data—functionality that plays an increasingly important role for fast-growing companies collecting hundreds of reviews a day. Raw review data isn’t binary, as individual customers use different phrases and verbiage to describe their experience—one might write “shipping was terrible,” while another writes “shipping was bad” or “shipping could have been better.” With so much variance in language, it can be difficult to tell the most accurate story, which is why Yotpo built an intelligent scoring system, powered by natural language processing (NLP)—a type of AI that enables computers to understand text in the same way humans do.
    All review content runs through a proprietary NLP tool, which deciphers the language and assigns a numerical score to each individual review. The scoring system ranges from -100 to 100—so negative phrases like “worst online shopping experience ever” will be scored closer to -100, and positive phrases like “fast shipping, excellent communication, and high-quality product” will score closer to 100. This means that Yotpo users can automatically transform massive amounts of subjective content into objective data, without expending significant time and energy in the process.

    Case study: Optimizing customer reviews for an outdoor gear retailer

    As part of a top-to-bottom eCommerce transformation for GOREWEAR , a leading international outdoor gear retailer, Codal teamed up with Yotpo to enhance the client’s customer reviews experience.
    With Yotpo, the GOREWEAR team was able to create a custom form that collects the most pertinent information for a target audience of climbers, cyclists, runners, and other outdoor enthusiasts. When purchasing outdoor gear online, these consumers care about the product’s quality, whether the sizing runs small or large, and more generally, if previous buyers would recommend it to their friends. Because of the Yotpo integration, all of this information is collected and displayed on GOREWEAR’s product detail pages (PDP) .
    Customers are enabled to fill out a quick form, where they:
    Provide a star rating.
    Rank the product’s quality from poor to excellent.
    Choose whether the fit runs small, runs large, or is just right.
    Check a box to confirm they would recommend the product to a friend.
    Provide custom text about the product and their shopping experience.

    Get started with best-in-breed eCommerce solutions

    Here at Codal, we help brands increase customer engagement, operational efficiencies, and revenue by designing and developing modern eCommerce experiences, powered by best-in-breed technologies like Yotpo.
    In addition to optimizing customer reviews, Yotpo provides off-the-shelf capabilities for email and SMS marketing, loyalty and referral programs, subscriptions, and UGC—enabling merchants to get customer retention strategies up and running quickly. By consolidating these features and functionalities onto a single, API-friendly platform, Yotpo users can lower their cost of ownership, eliminate redundancies, and unlock greater scalability for their business.
    If you’re looking for ways to improve customer retention online, our team can migrate your business to Yotpo, as well provide data-driven UX/UI design, tech stack modernization, AI solutions , and other services that help accelerate growth in eCommerce .
    Interested in learning more? Get in touch with a member of our team today!

    Written by Gibson Toombs