PowerReviews Express: Affordable Customer Reviews

PowerReviews launches enterprise-quality customer-review application designed — and priced — for small e-commerce sites.
Having customer reviews at your e-commerce site used to be a feature that was nice to have, as industry analysts say they boost traffic and sales, but now they're becoming a must-have as shoppers have come to expect them as part of the online buying experience.

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The problem, however, is that employing customer review applications can be expensive for small Web shop owners, costing around $2,000 a month. The good news: that's changing with a new application called PowerReviews Express designed specifically for small online businesses that costs $80 a month.

Enterprise Quality at Affordable Price

"PowerReviews Express uses exactly the same technology we use for our enterprise clients such as Staples and Toys "R" Us," said Andy Chen, chief executive officer of PowerReviews. "We were getting calls all the time from the smaller retailers and decided to design a solution just for them. We folded almost all the features from the enterprise into it, and it's the exact same infrastructure and team managing it."

Chen said customer reviews are an especially critical component for many small e-tailers because they sell niche products and by their very nature are less well known than Fortune 500 brands.

"Reviews are moving from nice-to-have to essential, and by next year, I think they'll be like having a product image or detailed description, shoppers will just expect it," said Chen. "And small online store owners really need them to help their consumers have confidence in their business."

PowerReviews Express features include "Verified Buyer," a system that builds consumer confidence with more credible reviews, and "Review Snapshot," an at-a-glance review summary that streamlines the research process for shoppers.

In addition, PowerReviews Express also includes full Content Moderation services — a process where each review is read by a PowerReviews moderator and screened for inflammatory and non-product-related content.

Plus, Express offers a five-step Implementation Wizard for quick and easy set-up. "Within a few hours, you can set it up, it's like Google AdSense, you just embed some script code on your site," said Chen.

Some 300 small e-commerce sites that signed on in the testing phase, including LogoSportsWear, Alpaca Direct and DiscGear.com, are already using the application, which starts at $80 a month and scales up according to traffic numbers. Philippe Bourdeau of HammockUniverse.com said, "Integration of PowerReviews Express was easy and quick, it took approximately 5 hours."

Multimedia and Affinity Group Features

PowerReviews Express also includes integration with images, videos and blogs. Customers can include pictures and videos of themselves interacting with the product, adding a personalized touch to the review while demonstrating the value of that product. They can also "spread the word" on that product and your site by posting the review on their blog for friends and family.

Finally, the application also allows for shoppers to peruse reviews based on affinity groups, or "user personalities." This allows shoppers to find reviews from "people like them," for example, those who describe themselves as avid outdoor adventurers, and thus get the most relevant and trusted feedback for their purchase decision.

"Today's savvy retailers, regardless of size, understand the need for customer reviews to create a shopping experience their customers can trust," said Chen. "With Express, smaller retailers finally have a cost-effective tool to harness and leverage their customer's voice to drive higher sales."

Michelle Megna is managing editor of ECommerce-Guide.com.

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