Skechers Product Reviews Are All About CRM

by Jason Keath on Mar 29, 2012
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Originally published on Social Commerce Today

Trendy shoe brand Skechers will soon launch a rewards loyalty program to incentivize customers to write reviews in exchange for points, which can then be redeemed as discounts on future purchases.

This new initiative, set to roll out in a couple of months, is an extension of its current loyalty program Skechers Elite, which rewards customers for making purchases.

Skechers already has in excess of 60,000 product reviews on the site and another 32,500 questions and answers.

With that degree of participation, why would the company need to add margin-cutting incentives?

It’s all about CRM says Tim Lakin, e-commerce merchandising manager at Skechers. “If you have a CRM in place, you need to develop different ways of getting people interested and participating,” he stated.

The power of consumer ratings and reviews cannot be overstated. For example, a 2009 survey by Nielsen said that 70% of consumers trust consumer opinions posted online (That’s second only to trust placed in recommendations from people we know, which came in at 90%.)

However, social commerce adds a new dimension to the loyalty equation. In his post last Friday – Is Social Loyalty the Next Big Thing in Social Commerce? – SCT editor Dr. Paul Marsden said that social loyalty could represent the next phase of social commerce. “Social commerce with a loyalty focus is all about driving total customer value over time, purchase value plus referral value. It’s about relationship value, not transaction value,” remarked Dr. Marsden.

It’s no small thing that Skechers is working with PowerReviews, the company that provides rating and review software currently in use by the brand. PowerReviews has positioned itself as a social commerce company and its Essential Social Suite, which is made up of three components – social content, social engagement and social measurement – is the mainstay of the company’s product lineup.

Doubtless, Skechers will make ample use of its benefits in this new version of its loyalty program.

The use of incentivized ratings and reviews combined with the relational qualities that social media brings to the table is, I’m certain, what Skechers is banking on to drive sales to even greater heights.

Post Author

CEO and founder of Social Fresh, the social media education company. Jason is a social media consultant, a social media speaker and industry analyst. He consults with corporations and agencies on social media strategy, building community, and influencer...

  • Really interesting approach by Sketchers here.  However, could this approach dilute the value of reviews?  Consumers trust reviews to hear both the good and bad aspects of a product.  If a flood of positive reviews are coming in from loyal customers, aren’t those reviews biased?  It has an aire of paid endorsements to it.

    Wouldn’t a better solution be to encourage these loyal consumers to share some information about themselves so that the consumer could more easily find a similar customer they can identify with to determine the value of the product.  For example; I’m 6 foot 4, size 13 and weigh 245 pounds.  This specific model of Sketchers fit me perfectly and alleviated pain in my back and knees experienced with other models (previous shoes – Nike Model, Addidas model, etc.)

    Maybe I’m way off base, but knowing that these reviews are tied to an incentive would decrease their validity and influence on my purchase.

  • Jim

    Kevin, I don’t think you’re off base at all. If a consumer review is driven by incentive to get something of value in exchange for providing a good review then that’s really no different than them just paying people to say nice things. It does decrease the potency of the referral if I know they are being compelled to provide a positive review based on rewards. 

    Maybe they could call it what it is, a paid advertising referral campaign. We’ll buy you and your friends influence with discounted products and merchandise. 

    What I’m curious about is if this type of campaign is effective anyway, or do others view it with the same skepticism. 

    I love the idea of capturing customer or “fan” referrals that are genuine and driven by the shared love of a product or brand but when it is incentivised that just seems to weaken the effect. 

  • Kevin and Jim – I definitely agree with both of you.  My question here is what’s the timeline on relevancy for a shoe brand/product like Skechers.  For example, every 3 months new shoes come out so there needs to be new reviews on those shoes.  So of the 30,000+ reviews how many are in the last 3 months.  When I look at online reviews of winter jackets I really only consider reviews written in the last 12 months.  Those are the ones that I would say are relevant.

  • When does using an incentive to reward customers for their loyalty become a bribe? …  
    I’d say when it has strings attached.

    I wouldn’t trust a review which had been written for the purpose of the writer being rewarded by the business owner either!  :)