Sunday, 14 April 2013

How to promote products via Equine Compare's product search

Equestrian product search

We try to make it as easy as possible for businesses to promote themselves and consumers to find suitable products and services. One of the ways we accomplish this, is with our Equine Compare product search.

Consumers simply search for a product on Equine Compare and we return results from all our retailers.

How we do it
Getting all those product details is no easy task. We've created our own specialist software to search selected shops and extract all the relevant product details. This process is fine tuned for each shop to ensure we are extracting details accurately and efficiently. Once included in our search results we check each shop for changes every 3 days. A drawback of this approach is that changes are required to our software whenever a shop changes their website design, which may lead to products being temporarily omitted. Hence our introduction of the following fast-track option.

The fast-track option
The fast-track option helps us to get a shops product details more reliably and efficiently, so we can check for updates every night. To take advantage of this approach a retailer needs to re-create an extract file each day and make it available on their website. This is typically done as follows:

  • The appropriate data is exported from the shop's database.
  • The results are saved on the shop's web server in a specific location.
  • The format of the file is typically a comma-separated file (CSV) or an XML file.
  • The following details would be included for each product: *product title, *description, *price, *web address of the products page, *web address of a thumbnail photo of the product.
  • If the file includes non-equine related products, e.g. dog rugs, we also need a way to identify and exclude those products, such as a category name or id.
  • The shop then simply informs us of the web address where the file is stored.
How to be included
If you would like to have your products listed in Equine Compare or want to change to use the fast-track method, simply:
  • Join EquiBuzz for free
  • Choose the "Product listings" menu option
  • Tell use if you want us to extract details from your site automatically
  • Or if you want to use the fast-track method, tell us the location of the exported file on your web server.
It's currently free to list your products on Equine Compare.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Equine Compare review pages work harder for your business

We recently redesigned Equine Compare's review pages from scratch to provide unrivalled functionality and usability. Here's why you will love them:

Equine Compare - sample review page

A) This box cycles through your promotions (including special offers, discount codes and competitions) , helping you to draw in visitors that come to read your reviews.

B) Visitors can choose to "keep tabs" on your page to be informed of your promotions whenever they visit Equine Compare. If they get our newsletter, they will also see a dedicated section for your promotions in their emails too.

C) The info panel shows your logo, your unique selling points and has links to your website and social channels.

D) The "Reviews & News" wall is where you interact with your customers.
  • Post your news
  • Members and guests can leave reviews
  • Reply to each others comments
  • Share specific postings on Facebook and Twitter
  • We will automatically create news entries to promote your latest blog postings and newsletters


We drive traffic to your page from various places in Equine Compare, and best of all, there is no charge for creating and operating your page.

To get started:
  1. Join EquiBuzz
  2. Populate your page
  3. Add your review badge to your website
  4. Read our article: Best practices for company reviews

Best practices for company reviews

Online reviews are relied on by most equestrian consumers to choose the brands and companies they are willing to do business with. In this article we will look at the best practices for making reviews work for you.

Step 1 - take control

Testimonials or company reviews displayed on your own website are not seen as trustworthy. Your customers would rather seek out impartial sources such as friends, forums and review websites. Your first objective is to funnel feedback to a common (impartial) location where you can monitor it and take part in the dialogue.

The solution is to promote your own page on a review website by inserting a badge (such as the one displayed above) on your website and regularly referring your Facebook and Twitter followers to it.

Join EquiBuzz to create your own review page on Equine Compare, a specialist equestrian website that already hosts hundreds of equestrian business review pages (e.g. equestrian retailer reviews).

Step 2 - encourage reviews

Business change over time, so your customers will be more reassured by reviews left in the last 6 months. Ensure that you are receiving new reviews every month.

You have numerous opportunities to elicit reviews from your customers, don't waste them.
  1. Display your review badge prominently on your website to encourage returning customers to leave reviews. EquiBuzz supplies the HTML code for your review badge.
  2. Use your social channels (Facebook , Twitter etc.) to direct customers to your review page.
  3. Remind customers on your order confirmation web page and email where they should go to provide feedback.

Step 3 - get involved

Reading and responding to reviews should be part of your social marketing strategy. It is as important (if not more so) as posting on Facebook and Twitter. 
Don't just respond to reviews you don't agree with. Thank people for their feedback, tell them you hope they enjoy their product. This is your chance to show that you are a caring business, run by friendly, helpful individuals.

Don't worry about the odd criticism on your review page. Read our tips on dealing with a bad review.

Step 4 - take it seriously

Reviews provide a valuable insight in to how people view your business and brand. Listen to what people say, and look for ways to make improvements. When you do make improvements based on feedback, be sure to let everyone know - previous customers may have silently shied away for the very same reason. Use all the usual ways to spread the news, including: newsletters, blog posts, adverts and social channels.

How to deal with bad reviews

A common concern about utilising reviews as part of a social marketing strategy is the prospect of receiving poor feedback. Could reviews do more harm that good for your business?

Reasons not to worry

  1. By seeking feedback, you are showing that you care about customer service.
  2. All businesses have problems from time to time, customers accept that.
  3. Your customers are less likely to trust reviews if none of them ever criticise you.
  4. Dealing with criticisms gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism and openness.

Top tips on responding to reviews

  1. Be calm, professional and understanding. Reviewers can get emotional and angry, never reply in the same way, and don't be defensive.
  2. Briefly explain the situation (if you can), to provide a more balanced view.
  3. Accept some responsibility wherever possible and apologise or sympathise with the reviewer, even if they seem unreasonable. 
  4. If you improve anything due to the feedback (e.g. clarifying a product description) be sure to say so.
  5. State any unusual circumstances, e.g. a faulty batch of stock.
  6. Keep your reply fairly short, otherwise no-one will read it.
Bad feedback is better than no feedback at all. If no-one tells you where you are going wrong, how can you improve. Responding thoughtfully to a bad review can put you in a good light and actually encourage people to do business with you.