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Freedom of information

Allowing customer reviews on your site will give it an authentic feel and engender trust from shoppers

Ever written a review on Amazon or TripAdvisor? Shoppers can now do the same for their latest fashion purchases.

Product reviews are not a new feature in the world of online technology but they are becoming increasingly popular with fashion shoppers. With so much competition in the fashion etail sector, shoppers are not only looking for great product but also for a site they can trust to provide the product as they see it.

Sam Decker, chief executive of social commerce company Bazaarvoice, believes reviews can have a real effect on the credibility of a website. Bazaarvoice, whose clients include Next and Urban Outfitters, provides the technology for customer reviews to be posted onto a retailer’s site. Once a review is written it is then sent to Bazaarvoice to moderate - only inappropriate reviews are removed - and this is then fed back to the retailer.

Decker believes a bad review can still result in a positive outcome. Permitting all reviews to be published increases the authenticity of the reviews and builds trust in the site by allowing the customer to speak freely - good or bad.

Decker also encourages retailers to respond to bad reviews in order to verify a high standard of customer service - if a customer has an issue that is dealt with effectively, not only will they be more likely to return to the site to shop again, they will also be more likely to add good feedback at a later date. “The voice of a customer can influence and inform a company,” says Decker.

Another method of using review tools is to integrate with review website This site allows retailers to sign up to become clients on the site and whenever a product is bought from the site concerned an email is sent to the customer asking them to review it on Feefo. Retailers are informed when a review is submitted, and given a chance to respond.

Feefo marketing director Ed Lennox says the advantage of using Feefo is that comments can only be made by actual customers. Feefo also encourages customers to comment on all aspects of a site, from product to delivery and returns, in order to give other users reassurance on all aspects of their online shopping experience. l

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