Case Study: Wine Enthusiast Shoots for the Stars With Ratings and Reviews
Wine gifts and accessories multichannel retailer Wine Enthusiast never overlooks the power of the customer’s voice — no matter the channel. Well aware of the effectiveness of online customer review programs, the Mount Kisco, N.Y.-based company, which has mailed catalogs for its entire 30-year existence, introduced customer ratings and reviews in its Holiday 2007 catalog and has reaped the benefits ever since.
Working with consumer products reviews firm PowerReviews, Wine Enthusiast first used the technology on its Web site, but soon realized this information would be helpful to shoppers across all channels.
“It started out as, ‘Let’s throw it out there and see how customers respond to it,’” says Wine Enthusiast’s Vice President of Marketing Glenn Edelman. “When we started seeing what people were saying, we no longer wanted to keep it just on our Web site. We have this great information we can share; let’s put it anywhere and everywhere we can. If a review helps to sell a product, and sometimes can hammer home the point even more effectively than our copywriters can, then we’ll use it in print, in e-mails, and we might even use it in some print ads.”
Wine Enthusiast e-mails every customer three weeks post-product shipment, inviting them back to the company’s Web site to review their purchases. And without the help of an added incentive to do so, the e-mails have been effective. The company has collected more than 5,000 reviews in the year and a half since making the program available.
Edelman is so impressed with the power of ratings and reviews that he believes the information should be just as standard in catalog copy as the SKU number and price. In addition to its primary function as a tool to sell products, customer feedback helps Wine Enthusiast learn about, and therefore better serve, its customers.