Online customer reviews are old news. Crowdsourced Instagrams of in-store customer reviews are the future for brand marketing – if you’re lucky enough to have a fan blog.
Recently, there’s been plenty of discussion regarding the importance of product information, particularly when it comes to descriptive copy. Online and multichannel retailers spend much time and resources on this creative, but there’s few that receive public recognition for it.
Except for JB HiFi that is.
The national consumer electronics and multimedia retail chain has a novel take on its in-store ticketing, with a process that enables staff and customers to leave written reviews on items. This has led to a kind of offline crowdsourced product content strategy.
In the case of JB HiFi, these in-store reviews have become popular to the point of someone deciding to build a website dedicated to preserving them online. Enter JB Reviews.
Users can submit photos they’ve snapped of the quirky signage and customer reviews that appear in JB HiFi stores, ultimately increasing the visibility of JB’s brand and grassroots marketing communications.
The Tumblr-powered blog features all the social sharing and reblogging features required to help these images proliferate online, carrying the JB HiFi name along with them.
Sex and the City 2 http://t.co/FEYTk9EW6e – If so, please hand over $12.98 to prove it. And no you can’t hide it by sandwiching this…
— JB Reviews (@jb_reviews) July 18, 2013
JB Reviews claims no connection with the retail brand, therefore presenting as an even more positive public endorsement. Of course, those fond of conspiracy theories might wonder whether this is truly the case.
Daniel Roberts, Founder and CEO of product content agency SKUvantage, believes JB HiFi – whether deliberately or not – has created a unique culture around its in-store ticketing.
“They’ve effectively created a democratic, multichannel version of social media,” he says. “These in-store reviews allow customers that don’t use Facebook to be ‘heard’ and for faster delivery of customer feedback at the point of sale.”
The blog currently ranks first in Google’s organic search listings for its namesake keywords “JB Reviews”, which are experiencing just shy of 3000 monthly local searches and well over 5000 monthly global searches (at the time of writing).
“These reviews can only help to boost JB HiFi’s trustworthiness in the eyes of customers,” Roberts says. “The in-store reviews demonstrate the brand is prepared to put all its laundry out on show for the public to see – both the dirty and the clean.”
Update: One of the creators of JB Reviews got in touch with Power Retail in order to clarify their position:
“We are completely unaffiliated with JB HiFi. They seem quite happy to leave us to do what we do,” the spokesperson for the blog says.
They also confirmed that JB HiFi has never contacted them in regards to their blog and that no funds have been received as a result of its existence.
JB HiFi has been approached to comment on the matter.