User Reviews: If Wal-Mart’s Doing It, Should You?

Filed in Web Site Content, Word of Mouth by Matt McGee on July 19, 2007 3 Comments

Wal-Mart reviewsTalk about great timing: Here I am, burying myself in the land of user reviews and user-generated content (for my SES San Jose presentation next month), and a huge shoe falls right around me:

Wal-Mart is adding user reviews to its Web site.

I’m going to tread lightly with this comment, but what makes this important is that a certain percentage of Wal-Mart shoppers are not early tech adopters — they’re not writing reviews on TripAdvisor, Travelocity,, Yelp, and all kinds of other sites. But they are shoppers. So this move introduces the power of user reviews to a new audience.

Andy Sernovitz adds another salient point: It also opens up a new class of products to being reviewed. Wal-Mart sells everything, fer cryin’ out loud! Andy also shares “lessons and warnings” for three key groups. I agree 100% with his comments for E-commerce sites:

“You better get reviews on your site fast. Shoppers will expect to read reviews before every purchase. If you don’t have them, they will shop elsewhere.”

I would add, since this is a small business-oriented blog, that small retailers are not immune on this point. Don’t use your size and lack of resources as an excuse for not trying to involve customer feedback and user reviews on your Web site. Even a basic testimonials/feedback page serves as a starting point. (Disclaimer: That’s a former client from my previous job.) No matter how small you are, there’s always something you can learn from the big boys & girls. The answer to the question posed in the title of this post is a resounding yes!

As I’m learning in my research for next month’s SES, there are right ways and wrong ways to go about implementing user reviews and testimonials on a site. And I’m thinking that might make a good follow-up post to this one. Any interest?

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Sites That Link to this Post

  1. Andy Sernovitz's Damn, I Wish I'd Thought of That! | July 20, 2007
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  3. Be Bold: Borders and Walmart | July 23, 2007

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