Bazaarvoice Brings Partners Together
Social commerce solution provider Bazaarvoice announced Monday the launch of its integration platform, Bazaarvoice Radius. The platform allows partners with complementary social commerce solutions, such as Web analytics or online advertising, to incorporate the power of user generated content (UGC) into their offerings.
Radius offers partners access to extensible markup language (XML) datafeeds, web services application programming interfaces (APIs), best practices, and implementation support from the Bazaarvoice team, according to the company. Partners can also benefit from Bazaarvoice's existing customer base and leverage its compatibility with Bazaarvoice as a marketable asset. In addition to its Ratings and Reviews, Ask and Answer, and Stories products, says Brant Barton, cofounder and vice president of business development of Bazaarvoice, Bazaarvoice is presenting itself as a platform.
"Anytime somebody builds a place where it's easier for marketers, especially retailers, to get access to their information," says Patti Freeman Evans, research director and senior analyst at JupiterReseasch, "it opens up many doors to flexibility in marketing." With data coming in from every direction, getting a review, for example, to the right people at the right time can be "painful," she adds.
While product reviews help customers make decisions, the insight usually stops there. Currently, UGC, Freeman Evans says, "is not widely used in a vast array of marketing and communication touch points," particularly because of the challenges of working with unstructured data. Therefore, the Radius platform is a great opportunity to provide central place where marketers can deposit and extract content in a fast and easy environment, Freeman Evans says.
By extending user generated content beyond the company Web site and into areas like online advertising, back end operations, and CRM systems. The end result enhances the marketer's goal of attaining a "more complete understanding of your product and brand," and in effect, better resources for targeting the consumer, Barton explains.
Marketers can utilize user generated content beyond just their product page and into areas such as display ads and email marketing, Barton says. For example, interactive agency R/GA built a flash-based interface for Nike's online Ratings and Reviews using Bazaarvoice's Web services API. The end product was a completely unique solution built atop Bazaarvoice's platform.
Marketers are provided with a "directory of solutions" from which they can essentially "shop" for solutions. Moreover, solution vendors are able to market their products in the context of social commerce and how it fits with Bazaarvoice. So far, 20 vendors have launched with Radius. "We are giving [partners] a place to make their solutions interoperable with user generated content," Barton says. As the voice of the customer becomes increasingly more important to marketing strategies, companies are actively trying to forge their social strategy.
Partners do not pay to be a part of this network, but must be able to integrate with Bazaarvoice's solution. It's easy to claim, "We like each other so we'll call each other partners in the marketplace," Barton says. Radius, he says, aims to provide a framework that strays away from being just a marketing relationship to a value added type of integration.
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