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Walmart

For in-store only food categories, there is very little content and it’s not kept up-to-date. When will we be able to add additional selling points?

This is available right now. We are getting rich content across all categories and updating them aggressively.

Is EMI a shared initiative between Walmart and Sam’s Club?

Yes.

What will the interface of Walmart spec look like or how will we access (retail link, etc)?

The Walmart spec can be implemented either by invoking an API or by uploading an XLSM file (Excel spreadsheet that is macro enabled). You can view the specs by going to suppliercenter.walmart.com – while this website requires a login to upload the XLSM spreadsheet, you don’t need credentials to download the Walmart spec.

Where does Walmart stand with their relationship with Kwikee? Should suppliers still be utilizing this service and what is the process?

Walmart is working with several content providers to provide a competitive and consistent experience for the suppliers. At this time, all content providers operate from a level playing field. Suppliers are able to utilize any content provider and work with them to understand their specific processes. The content providers, in turn, work with the Content Acquisition team. The content providers will then submit content on behalf of the suppliers to Walmart.

In an RLUG meeting in August, some speakers from Walmart said that 80+ new fields would be added to Retail Link specific to dotcom. Is this still true?

There will be additional attributes that will be required when new items are set up.

I sell a really heavy, hazardous waste item in Walmart. Why should I do more than the minimum for dotcom?

If the item is for sale in a Walmart store, more online information will give the customer the option to research online, potentially increasing the in-store sales. Less information about the item could give an incomplete picture of your product.

Mark Stamps

Wrigley

For inquiries, please contact Mark Stamps at Mark.Stamps@wrigley.com

How do you budget for third party content companies? Customer specific or channel specific (ie commerce).

A brand needs to provide core content elements for each item for the entire channel – but then each customer team needs to present the item and content to their shoppers in a unique way that best reflects the retailer’s equity and their specific shopper profile.

What is your view on the importance of video and photo content from consumers or suppliers?

Short answer is product imagery and video are CRITICALLY important to improving online conversion/sales.  There are many online eye-tracking and purchasing studies that suggest that 85% of purchases come from the image alone, AND viewers of product videos are anywhere from 64% to 85% more likely to buy after watching.

Is there a difference in search ranking if your reviews are negative or positive? Do negative reviews push your ranking down?

Yes, positive reviews are better than negative reviews.  However, negative reviews are valuable, too.  A mix of positive and negative reviews helps to improve consumer trust in the opinions they read.   A recent study suggests that the presence of bad reviews actually improves conversions by 67%.  But, too many negative reviews do impact conversion and ranking.   I used to say that 21 reviews at 4.3 of 5 stars is a good place to be.

How do you differentiate Walmart content for "freshness" if eCommerce counterparts are doing the same?

Improving your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a constant on-going battle with Google’s ever-changing algorithms.  However, “freshness” can be driven by the newest, updated ratings and reviews of your products.  But that is just one vector used to optimize search results.  Unique, differentiated content with the most relevant search terms that drives new clicks to your site help improve search rankings.  Just like newspaper ads on Sunday morning…all the retailers are trying to capture your attention to their stores and items.  Digital is no different.  How are you making your items and retailer stand out among the others?

How have you seen online content mimic experiential in store trial ex. Samples, cosmetic testers?

It is hard to replace the touch and smell experiences, however, with the inclusion of enhanced video content and lifestyle imagery, you can stimulate shopping/buying emotions in a digital setting.  Just like those late night fast food ads on TV, you instantly become hungry…what if you could “buy now” when you are in the mood?

David Moon
Sara Spivey

David Moon and Sara Spivey

Bazaarvoice

For inquiries, please contact Bazzarvoice at http://www.bazaarvoice.com/walmart

A lot of the examples you've shown are for higher priced items like TVs, bicycles, shoes, etc. What % of grocery and consumable categories are reviews impacting?

Good question.  There is no such thing as “low consideration” any more with the ease of accessing information via mobile. The growth of mobile device usage extends consumers’ access to CGC, increasing page views 30-35% in the food and beverage industry with 63% of respondents aged 25-34 saying social content influenced a recent purchase. 54% of consumers read reviews before buying a beauty product online, and 23% of consumers read reviews before a beauty product buying in-store.

You mentioned the growing importance of mobile and the increase of researching on mobile devices. What strategies are being used to react to this?

Grocery stores have one of the highest usage levels of in-store online mobile access of all industries, with 30-35% of food & beverage product page views being accessed from a mobile device. In fact, nearly 53% of smartphone owners and 64% of tablet owners planned to use their devices to research products or look up store information.  To meet these demands, retailers need to make CGC readily available in-store. More and more companies are adding CGC via in-store displays, product tags, coupons, and kiosks. Savvy retailers go so far as providing in-store shopping kiosks that include CGC or pushing content directly to mobile devices via beacon technology. Some brands we work with even find creative ways to put CGC on their packaging or signage in-store, to take out the mobile middle plan, and provide the consumer the confidence needed to choose their brand without having to look online. Our clients are embracing the growing CGC trends to make shopping easier for consumers. Instead of hiding or avoiding what shoppers are saying about their products, they are putting CGC front and center to increase the confidence and trust not only in the product but also in the consumer’s shopping experience. Our retail clients depend on their suppliers to supply the content to fuel the retailer’s mobile app or even mobile web/organic search when the consumers have moments of need in-store.  What we don’t want is a consumer not able to find a review in-store, and having to go to Amazon to find it.  They may find a lower price and you lose the sale.

What is the impact of a bad review and how do you manage that risk?

Nearly all reviews are positive – 82% across our network are rated four stars or higher. But sometimes, negative feedback just happens. Fearing negative reviews is a common concern we hear.  However, there are many case studies that show negative reviews, at least when mixed with positive ones, are a clear driver of sales.  If all of your product reviews are glowing, people will be suspicious of their authenticity. What’s more, any CGC about a product, whether it’s entirely positive or slightly negative, helps increase sales.  Or data shows even products with three-star ratings convert better than products with no reviews. If your site provides a mix of positive and negative reviews, that shows two things: that you are willing to give your customers the space to share their authentic opinions, and that you value their feedback. The mere presence of negative feedback on your site builds transparency in your brand.

We did a study with 100,000 pieces of CGC in the Bazaarvoice network and responses from a 3rd party survey validated that responsive brands increase sales. When consumers saw a brand’s response to a negative review, their overall opinion of the product, and their intent to purchase, more than doubled compared to when they saw a negative review without a brand response.

Here are a few tips for getting the most out of negative reviews:

  1. Trust your customers, and they will trust you: Let your customers share their real opinions – taking the good with the bad.
  2. Moderate out “flames” and illegal postings: Just because you’re embracing negative reviews doesn’t mean you should leave up inflammatory or legally-questionable reviews. Your rules of moderation still apply.
  3. Respond quickly to complaints: The faster you respond to dissatisfied customers, the better. Address concerns in both published and rejected reviews right away, and fix what’s broken in terms of products, service, or process.
  4. See negative feedback in a positive light: Negative customer reviews are a goldmine of critical information about your products and services, as well as a window into how customers view your brand. Learn from negative reviews to improve every aspect of your business.

We have tons of thought leadership on this and would be happy to share more!

What will happen when consumers figure out the CGC is coming from brands?

It’s not a big secret we keep from consumers, the brand logos appears on the content on the retail sites, and we’ve found no negative impact from that transparency.  In fact, consumers are expecting the brands to participate in the retail channels.  A 3rd party study showed perception improves when brands respond to consumers. Shoppers see responsive brands as caring and trustworthy and show higher sentiment toward their products. Seeing a brand response to a review made consumers think the brand “really cares about consumers” (41 percent), “has great customer service,” (35 percent); is “a trustworthy brand,” (22 percent); or  provides “products [that] are high quality” (14 percent). Average sentiment also improved 157 percent after seeing a review with a brand response that corrected product misuse and offered corrective instructions, and 88 percent when a brand response offered to refund or upgrade the reviewer’s product.

Based on our data from 6 major retailers, 65% of shoppers voted supplier answers more helpful than answers from other consumers across 6 major retailers. It doesn’t only build trust with the consumer, but your merchants want to see you joining the conversation as they don’t have the resources to respond or field answers.

Who is answering those bad reviews?

You, I hope. Through Bazaarvoice Connections, you have the opportunity to respond to negative reviews on Walmart.com, as well as answer questions consumers ask.  Sometimes it’s just user error that results in a low review, so you don’t want to just leave it unaddressed.  I know it can often be a resource constrain, but it’s a worthwhile investment of time since reviews aren’t only influencing dotcom sales, but impact in-store.  We’ve found some of our clients answer using customer service resources, social media rep, product manager, or their channel sales or shopper marketing team.  Brands see on average 20 questions per week per retailer, and should only take a few minutes to answer each question.  We recommend responding within 2 business days.

Don’t just take our word for it, one of our clients, Ray Mazur from The Homax Group, told us this about responding to reviews: “Whenever we go through a line review with our top retail partners we always pitch new products in addition to working through the traditional line review processes. Just recently, our top retailers have been asking us about reviews (positive and negative). Having the ability to respond to these reviews and being able to support our retail partners’ customers has been a big win for Homax.” 

“(Reviews) brought our attention to the way end users are using a product. What could be perceived as a quality issue could actually be the difference between the ways a pro versus a do-it-yourself person uses the product. We can quickly protect our brand reputation by apologizing for their experience and offering tips on what pros do.”

How does Bazaarvoice mitigate fake reviews?

Our Authenticity Policy is about making sure consumers are confident they can trust the authenticity of the reviews they encounter every day across the web on sites that carry the Authentic Reviews Trust Mark. The policy has been used as the model for WOMMA’s authenticity guidelines in its Code of Ethics. Bazaarvoice is also a lead participant with AFNOR in Europe, helping to create governing rules for user-generated content, including a certification process.   Not to brag or anything, but we get approached a lot by the media to talk about fake reviews when there is a big Amazon or Yelp story. http://www.bazaarvoice.com/about/press/

We back our Authenticity Policy with:

  1. Industry-leading fraud detection technology that allows us to identify the submission source of all reviews;
  2. Sophisticated algorithms, alerting and filtering capabilities that allow our moderation teams to identify, flag and report suspicious content; and
  3. A dedicated team of analysts that monitors suspicious reviews to determine their authenticity.

The Bazaarvoice Authenticity Policy has three main criteria that must be met for authentic review content displayed on the websites of Bazaarvoice clients:

Free from fraud and spam -Commercially reasonable efforts are taken to help prevent the submission of fraudulent content from any submission source. This could include disruptive or ‘trolling’ behavior, commercial messages, automated submissions (e.g. bots and scripts), illegitimate or degrading content from a client’s competitor, and self-promotion.

Free from edits– Reviews are not altered in any way by anyone other than the original author — including corrections for spelling or grammar. Reviews are not filtered, edited, or deleted simply because they are negative or are lower rated.

Transparent– We do not allow companies to directly ask for positive reviews. If consumers are offered money or promotional material (such as discounts or coupons) in exchange for providing an unbiased review, then the review must note this fact. Our Sampling program badges that content. Further, employees and vendors of the organization may not submit content without disclosing their relationship to the product or service, and we also allow badging of employee content.

You work with a lot of big companies with big budgets, what about those of us with small companies and small budgets?

We pride ourselves on helping companies big and small that realize the power of consumer-generated content (CGC).  We have many different ways you can work with Bazaarvoice to maximize the impact of CGC at Walmart, starting with answering questions on Walmart.com for free!  One of our friends in Bentonville, Dorothy Schiller, is the Director of Marketing for Zinus (small brand producing the Sleep Revolution products for Walmart) and they increased revenue and gained insights from questions through just questions at Walmart.com.  “Traditional support channels are siloed and not public. Bazaarvoice helps us differentiate ourselves from competitors by becoming the voice our customers can rely on.” They saw a 35% increase in total sales (online + offline) and a 50% decrease in customer service calls through their program with Bazaarvoice.  40% of Walmart Canada’s suppliers are answering questions on their site.

Many of our brand clients work with us directly to collect reviews on their own channels from their advocates and syndicate that to Walmart to get the most share of voice in their category.  About 47% of active reviews are from syndication at our retail clients receiving syndicated content.  An IR Top 25 Retailer client measured 20-50% sales lift when review volume increased from 1 to 15 reviews.  Our pricing structure varies on the size and unique needs of a client, and generally when we show the value they can get from CGC, our clients can get it prioritized in marketing budgets.

Dave Feinleib

Content Analytics

For inquiries, please contact Dave Feinleib at dave@contentanalyticsinc.com

Do you have tools for agencies who work on behalf of multiple suppliers?

Yes, we offer a white label service for agencies.

How do you price your Fastpipe tool and new item setup portal, essentially, how much do your services cost?

We have self-serve packages for as little as $99 per month for a few dozen SKUs on a single site, to the enterprise level which costs $5,000-$20,000 per month depending on number of sites and SKUs.

Does your site interact with Kwikee or enable to bypass that site?

We enable bypass of Kwikee.

Any tips on managing marketplace sellers

Optimize your content to be the best in class and the sites will likely give you the buy box more frequently.

Is there an API for the Fastpipe content editing portal?

Yes, we can provide an API for submitting edits. Please contact us for more information.

Due to product updates etc, we frequently need to update the base product images, how quickly/easy is this to do with Content Analytics?

As easy as drag and drop into our interface. With walmart.com, the edits go live within a few days.

How does Fastpipe compete with or compare to Webcollage's content creation software?

Fastpipe allows for above-the-fold editing (Title, Description, Image, Nutrition) while Webcollage is all below the fold supplemental content.

How does Walmart determine what is most relevant i.e. which items are listed first?

Best practices and sales. The best content begets more traffic and higher rankings, which begets more sales and higher relevancy.

The up-front audit of pages, is that software you sell to brands and retailers or is that a consulting engagement to get that report?

We offer a free Content Health audit to any brands who are interested in long-term enterprise solutions.

Do you integrate sales performance/purchase data into your content audits or optimization criteria?

Yes, we can seamlessly integrate ongoing sales data if it is provided by the client and correlates easily against ongoing traffic data and other key metrics.

Does Content Analytics basically have a dictionary of search terms that you will match for each item in my portfolio to enhance content?

Yes. We have an integrated keyword recommendation tool and can perform queries against content for specific terms.

With your online audits, can you share the opportunity gaps of items that are in brick and mortar Walmart versus what your company is missing online?

Yes. For suppliers that provide us with in-store reporting data we can integrate that data into our omnichannel dashboard.

What role within companies do you work with to manage content and reviews?

Various, mostly sales or marketing in the pure play, bricks & clicks in the digital/e-commerce space.

Do you sell the pricing audit data to consumer-oriented price comparing sites?

No, we do not.

Does Content Analytics interface with, or source data from GS1?

Content Analytics is currently developing a GS1 interface.

Jon Brooks

Webcollage

For inquiries, please contact Jon Brooks at jon.brooks@webcollage.com

Does your item work for private label items? I.e. same item with different name for different retailers.

Yes – Webcollage can deliver enhanced content to other retailers. This service is not included in the free Walmart program, so fees would apply.  Please contact me, or our sales team, to discuss.

Is the content template free to use for WM sites in other countries?

Walmart.com is the only site that has this unique and free program offered to suppliers. However, Webcollage does work with Walmart in other countries and there are small fees to deliver the rich content.  We would be happy to review the fees and the program, so please contact us.

Does Webcollage work for store only items? Specifically food.

Webcollage works on all Walmart.com item pages even if the item page states “In Store Purchase Only.” As long as there is an item page, enhanced educational content can be added.

As a supplier, does the content we publish through Webcollage impact search results? In other words, does it play into SEO on Walmart.com?

Walmart has not shared with Webcollage how enhanced content is being exposed for SEO search.

I know previously there were Webcollage content features not available for use on Walmart.com (PDFs, comparison tables), is that still the case?

All features in Webcollage are available on Walmart.com including PDFs and Comparison Tables.

How do you ensure the content stays up to date overtime?

Webcollage is a self-service tool. It is up to the supplier to ensure the content stays current over time.  Suppliers can edit, add or delete content at any time and there is no limit.

Eric Howerton

WhyteSpyder, Inc.

For inquiries, please contact Eric Howerton at ehowerton@whytespyder.com

What are the best practices for producing data and content?

“Best practices” can be quite complicated and it depends a lot on your product type. Walmart has developed and will continue to develop specifications for data that will help suppliers provide the best type of data. On the content side of things, best practices really come from industry understanding of what shoppers are wanting as they research online. It also depends on what type of content is being published, such as video, photos, optimized descriptions, product tours, and so on – all of which have their own level of “best practices.”

What is the difference between WhyteSpyder services and Content Analytics, Kwikee and Webcollage?

This is a great question and one we get all the time. WhyteSpyder PRODUCES and MANAGES data and content whereas Content Analytics, Kwikee and Webcollage distribute data and content. WhyteSpyder is a service-oriented business, while the others are technology/product-based businesses. WhyteSpyder in no way competes with these technology companies – we actually work with all of them and understand their software to enable the data and content we produce to be published effectively. Finally, WhyteSpyder works with the manufacturer’s technology of choice. Doesn’t matter to us which distribution technology they work with, we’ll work with them too. We can, however, make recommendations that best fit their needs if they do not have a technology provider.

We have a lot of products at Walmart. Where do we start?

Regarding data, Walmart is calling for all SKUs to be updated with additional data according to their specifications. That said, it would be best to start with the top 20% of all your existing SKUs immediately and build out a project plan to tackle the rest of your existing SKUs and future SKUs. WhyteSpyder helps manufacturers in this process by prioritizing, abiding by best practices from Walmart and correctly distributing the data to Walmart. The biggest challenge that we see from suppliers is affording the time to relentlessly complete all the attributes for each existing and future SKU – which is where WhyteSpyder helps.

Regarding content, we suggest that you start with your top 20 SKU test that includes two product types. The SKUs you select should be among your best sellers in-store and/or online – all of which should already be setup on .com. We like to see two product types so we can compare results of optimization. When we say “product types,” this is not necessarily in reference to categories at Walmart, but related to the head keyword term shoppers input on major search engines. After we have published the new content, WhyteSpyder analyzes the results and provides suggestions on next steps each month for a year.

We have an agency that leads our shopper marketing. Will you work with them?

Most definitely. WhyteSpyder specializes in optimizing and enhancing data and content for Walmart and Sam’s Club. We only play in this space and work on behalf of marketing agencies and manufacturers and data/content distribution technology companies. Our value for agencies is that we are knowledgeable, experienced and fast at producing and managing data and content and the processes for publishing – allowing agencies to focus on bigger campaigns/strategies while we make sure the SKU page is optimized and enhanced.

Can we publish the content you produce to other retailers?

Yes, you can, however, Walmart and Sam’s Club want unique data and content. There are ways that we can produce content specifically for Walmart while repurposing some of that data and content for your other resellers in order to maximize your return on investment – particularly for expanded assets (videos and photos). The main area that we should not repurpose is the optimized content within the basic section. Keep in mind that this is not just a Walmart or Sam’s Club expectation, but also a search engine expectation. Search engines are not fans of duplicate content and can actually hinder your rankings. Best practice is to have unique data and content for each reseller for optimization purposes and to elevate conversions since each retailer has their own specific shopper audience. Finally, since WhyteSpyder specializes with Walmart and Sam’s Club, our primary purpose is to drive sales to these retailers, not to others, but we do recognize the need to spread some of the production costs across all retailers.

What type of content do you produce?

Great question and we have a lot of answers. We produce content that is specifically designated for your SKU page on Walmart.com or Samsclub.com. Meaning that our content is web-ready and adheres to best practices for e-commerce usability. Content includes search engine optimization (SEO) research, weaving SEO keywords into written copy for product descriptions (basic section), photography, video, product tours, 360 views, comparison tables, documents, and any other content available to publish on the SKU page. Because we are setup to produce this type of content, we work with speed, efficiency and with very aggressive pricing. We also work alongside other marketing agencies to make sure product information is in place to communicate effectively with the shopper and assist with product updates and packaging conversions. The additional value is that we work with technology partners, Walmart, and Sam’s Club on your behalf to ensure information is published and accurate.

How do you measure effectiveness?

There are many KPIs (key performance indicators) used to determine the effectiveness of content enhancement. Of course, sales growth is the final objective, both online and in-store, but quantifying patterns to sales growth requires leveraging a variety of statistics. We utilize statistics from the technology companies and provide a score card to clients to show performance. More importantly, however, is how to continuously improve sales, which is why we provide a summary and suggested actions to increase sales based off historical findings.