How Everlast is mining customer reviews to make decisions

To bolster its e-commerce business, the boxing brand Everlast wants to get a better grip on customer reviews.

The brand is partnering with Yotpo, a company that uses machine learning to analyze reviews for companies in a quantitative and qualitative fashion, aggregated from e-commerce sites.

It’s a strategy that large retailers are turning to in an effort to increase their revenue in an increasingly crowded online marketplace — and one in which direct-to-consumer competitors are gobbling up additional market share. By getting closer to customer feedback, and being able to easily understand and act upon it, brands are better positioned to compete in a crowded market.

To broaden its reach, Yotpo has teamed up with Magento, the marketing automation company acquired by Adobe earlier this year for $1.7 billion. The deal is a boon to retailers who have had trouble analyzing reviews, beyond simple metrics like star ratings.

Olivia Williamson, director of e-commerce for Everlast Worldwide, said the company is in the process of migrating to Magento 2.0 — the evolution of the product that will allow retailers to further customize their online business — with an intended launch in early 2019. Yotpo will be fully integrated into Magento 2.0 as one of a handful of third-party plugins that are loaded into the software. 

Yotpo has raised $101 million in funding and employs more than 300 employees around the world. Its algorithm for collecting reviews has a number of applications. For instance, the service can identity a review touting a customer service issue, and then automatically send a text or email to the customer with a link to customer support. The company also helps its clients open and run loyalty rewards programs, as well as customize review displays with splashy product images.

Other Yotpo features include a partnership with Instagram — now roiled in internal turmoil following the departure of its co-founders — to incentivize users of the social media site to post pictures of products. It also helps clients, which along with Everlast include the online mattress seller Leesa and the short-shorts brand Chubbies, develop customer loyalty programs.

Its main sales pitch is that it can help businesses of all stripes understand its customers better than the company could ever do on its own. And such an understanding is especially crucial at a time when brand loyalty is declining, said Tomer Tagrin, the co-founder and CEO of Yotpo. 

For Everlast, Yotpo allows the major U.S. retail to understand not only which products a customer reviews, and how they rate those products, but what they like and don’t like, on a granular level. Most retailers — even large-scale companies — lack such resources, which are becoming increasingly critical. Technology-based retailers like Amazon and Stitch Fix process their own data around customer reviews internally, and use that information to make better decisions around production and merchandising.

It’s becoming a table-stakes skill for e-commerce brands.

“In order to sell yourself and establish your brand, you need to be authentic, and you need to understand your customers,” Tagrin said.

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