As many marketers and etailers know, we have moved beyond the traditional purchase funnel. Evidence of this includes the impact of customer advocacy and social proof on conversion rates as well as the likelihood of future purchases and customer lifetime value.
Duel provides visual customer testimonials and social proof for commerce sites. The Duel Visual Testimonial platform enables ecommerce brands and retailers to create an emotional, trusted connection with their customers and enriches the customer experience—boosting conversions and driving high value traffic to sell more online. Using advanced automation and machine learning, Duel engages customers post-purchase and rewards them for creating visual testimonials which are then moderated, curated, and put to work at every stage of the online customer journey.
Duel recently launched its Oracle Commerce Cloud (OCC) integration which is live in the Oracle Cloud Marketplace and enables OCC customers to automatically display Duel-created visual customer testimonial galleries for individual products without having to aggregate content from social media.
Read on for our Q&A with Naio Tsarouchis, the Co-Founder and CTO of Duel. Learn how visual testimonials are different from ratings and reviews, and how you can grow your business through customer advocacy marketing.
If you attend next week’s Oracle Modern Customer Experience, Duel’s CEO, Paul Archer, will be leading a session called “Advocacy Could Be 2018’s Biggest Trend—Embrace It” on how you can turn your most passionate customers into an army of advocates and content creators. Don’t miss it on Thursday, April 12, 11:10-11:30am, in CX Showcase Theater A (Marketing & Commerce).
1. What does Duel do and how does Duel help retailers increase conversion rate?
Duel is a Customer Advocacy Marketing Platform that allows brands and retailers to turn their customers into their most valuable marketing and sales channel. It works by acquiring visual testimonials from happy customers once they’ve received a product or service, then uses them to increase conversion rates in ecommerce, drives traffic, and supercharges marketing and advertising. Customer advocacy and testimonials on product pages and in marketing (advertising, social etc.) provide social proof, add authenticity, and create emotional connections, which drives up conversion rates by 25% as well as boosts click-through rate and sales.
2. How is Duel different from other platforms that provide ratings and reviews and/or social testimonials?
Duel’s unique approach and automation technology means it’s the only platform that truly scales customer advocacy, collecting testimonials across tens of thousands of products and millions of customers. It then connects those to every product SKU across the enterprise marketing stack.
This results in more than 10x the engagement achieved through conventional hashtag scrapers and social-focused user generated content tools. It also unlocks the bonus of shoppable referrals from your most passionate customers.
Ratings and reviews are much more descriptive, focus on features and what the product does (e.g. how many batteries it needs). On the contrary, Duel’s visual testimonials are all about how the product and/or service makes a customer feel and why they love it, reinforcing the positive connection with the brand.
3. How does Duel leverage machine learning and AI to make the platform more effective?
We use Machine Vision for automatic moderation and keyword tagging for every submitted visual customer testimonial. First, every piece of content gets scanned and analysed whether it is safe for work (with violent and explicit content being automatically banned by Duel). Then tags are added automatically to every image, including a product SKU for an easy but advanced search. Automatic moderation saves a mountain of time if you’ve have thousands of products in your store. Same goes for the keyword tagging—our automation enables retailers to repurpose visual customer testimonials from the growing database in a new campaign swiftly.
4. How can retailers use social proof to drive sales improvements through all channels, not just online?
By linking and displaying visual customer testimonials for every product in a physical store. Since Duel automatically links all customer content to a specific product SKU, it can then automatically be displayed in galleries on digital signage and screens next to products, or used in printed merchandising.
5. Ratings and reviews increase conversion and are trusted by customers because they're seen as impartial. In fact, some studies show that products with both low and high ratings are trusted more than ones with only 5 stars. Do you recommend retailers use both visual testimonials as well as ratings and reviews? Does this differ by market?
Yes. Ratings and reviews are very descriptive and provide more factual information in the same clinical style of typical shop sites and are still a vital part of the ecommerce experience. On the other hand, customer advocacy, such as visual testimonials, create an emotional connection with the brand and enrich the customer journey as a whole. Conceptually, the difference is subtle but in practice, it’s very clear. It’s always helpful to have unbiased reviews for a product or a service, but it’s also just as vital to see how a product looks and makes customers feel. A visual representation of a happy customer is far more authentic and real than a text review, which are often easily faked and hence, less trusted.
In India, as one example, consumers don’t actually trust written reviews (56%) or product ratings (65%) due to a flood of disinformation and tampering of feedback by websites and sellers. In this case, visual testimonials will be a powerful tool for Indian retailers as convincingly faking photos of multiple happy customers becomes more difficult.
6. What do you see as the biggest challenges for retailers today and how does Duel help retailers solve those?
Online, brands and retailers are now competing in a perfect, uniform and commodified monster of a market where the only differentiator is price, and Amazon is eating their lunch, dinner and breakfast!
The prime challenge is differentiation with online shops. They almost all have the same indistinguishable, clinical look, providing only basic information and generic professional pictures. This results in low conversion rates - a race to the bottom of similar offerings where only price (and Amazon’s ultra fast delivery) decides.
Further, it’s almost impossible to be discovered in a world in which consumers are bombarded by glossy brand broadcasts and tormented by programmatic advertising -- seeing trust in marketing at an all-time low and CPAs soaring.
Duel is delivering the power of customer advocacy - automated and at scale - across thousands of products, all customers, and in every relevant touch point. To solve all that, Duel drives traffic through friend’s endorsements and authentic customer-powered advertisements, boosting conversion rates through rich and credible advocate galleries at point of sale, and turning one time shoppers into loyal and advocating customers.
7. What’s next for Duel? Do you have any new cool features, products, or major initiatives that you can share?
The most exciting release will be the new version of our extension that makes the set-up for clients entirely turnkey! This will be specially made for Oracle Commerce Cloud and Responsys and is going to automate the entire process of the catalog connection and the distribution of the galleries on each product page. In essence, every customer will be contacted after each purchase to be converted into an advocate. Then, every product page will display sku-specific advocate content as it’s gathered and approved, automatically boosting your sales at the flip of a switch!
Also, we recently relaunched our dashboard to suit the requirements of enterprise retailers. We also improved the way we scan every piece of content and also optimized the search function so it’s easier to search by sku/product, user and tag.
Check out more about Duel here in our Marketplace, and don’t forget to attend Duel’s session at Oracle Modern Customer Experiencein Chicago next week. Duel’s CEO, Paul Archer, will be leading a session called “Advocacy Could Be 2018’s Biggest Trend—Embrace It” on how you can turn your most passionate customers into an army of advocates and content creators. Don’t miss it on Thursday, April 12, 11:10-11:30am, in CX Showcase Theater A (Marketing & Commerce).