Consumer Psychology Social Commerce

PowerReviews Express / Mainstreaming of Social Commerce?

From $35 a month, PowerReviews is offering an Express version of it’s social commerce solution.

Like its big brother PowerReview Express works as a ‘decision accelerator’ for shoppers on e-commerce sites, giving shoppers confidence to buy by showing customer reviews (and quick scan review summaries).  Does this mark the mainstreaming of social commerce?

Before, we had to have a reason to embrace social commerce, but with no real price barrier, now you have to have a reason not to embrace social commerce.

True to Dave Beisel’s original definition of social commerce – PowerReviews Express is essentially about adding user-generated advertorial content to e-commerce sites, and in doing so making what you sell more persuasive.

Psychologically, user-generated advertorial content (i.e. user reviews) adds what communication psychologists call “source credibility” to a message, a key variable in persuasion.  From a psychological perspective, what I therefore think would further turbo-charge the effectiveness of PowerReviews Express  is if users could see reviewer profiles (and their reviews) on third-party sites (e.g. Facebook by Facebook Connect or on Twitter) (as promised by PowerReviews SocialMegaphone).  This would give the reviews more source credibility, which means more persuasiveness, which means more sales.

Finally, and staying with the psychology of persuasion and source credibility, the big opportunity for PowerReviews, I think, is to add expert reviews into the mix.  Perceived expertise is a key variable in source credibility; sure we’re persuaded by “people like me” (in psychobabble “differential identification”), but we’re more persuaded by perceived expertise.  The cult of the expert wins out over the cult of the amateur.

So if I was doing R&D for PowerReviews, I’d be looking very carefully at Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes.

Expert Review Aggregation is the future of social commerce.  You heard it here first.

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Chartered psychologist specialising in consumer behaviour, wellbeing and technology. Certified CX professional experienced in Design Thinking. A researcher, writer and speaker, Paul is head of Digital Insight at SYZYGY.

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  1. Blake Brysha says:

    Hi Paul,

    I’m Blake and I work in the Marketing Dept. at PowerReviews. Really have been enjoying the blog and appreciate the thoughtful write-up on PowerReviews Express!

    You hit the nail on the head with your ideas on source credibility and persuasion. Even in a time where UGC reigns supreme, you’re right that perceived expertise will carry greater value more often than not. We recognize this… and on both the Enterprise and Express levels, a retailer is able to define specific Staff Experts so that any review written by someone deemed an expert is marked with a special badge. Our BrandShare product takes this a step further, allowing brands to syndicate review content collected on their own site to selected retailers’ sites. “Brand Experts” are also able to join the conversation and write their own expert reviews, which can be identified by unique expert badges.

    Though expert reviews are certainly valued, due credit needs to be given to user-personalities or “people like me”. We’ve found that a great majority of shoppers place great value on the perspective of people with similar lifestyles and experience levels (e.g. “First Time Parent” or “Photography Enthusiast”).

    When it comes to R&D, the HUGE advantage that we have over other review service providers is our sister site,, which gives us the unique opportunity to actually touch consumers and see how they’re interacting with our review features. You can think of it as a testing ground where we’re able to try out new features and see how consumers respond before ever rolling out to our review network. To backup my claims above, what we’ve seen on Buzzillions is that shoppers have responded incredibly to the ability to narrow reviews by user personality. Many of our retailers have realized this trend and have also integrated social navigation (the ability to narrow products by tags and user-personalities) into their own sites.

    Of course, there will always be a place for expert reviewers… but with our ever-evolving tag-based technology, peer reviews may not be all that far behind :) Thanks again for your insights and the great post… looking forward to more big things from SCT in the future!


  2. Paul Marsden says:

    Thanks Blake, appreciate the thoughtful comment.

    I don’t think it is a case of either/or for expert/peer reviews, but a combination of both – which is what Amazon, Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes do so well.

    Some people are persuaded by “social proof” (lots of people buying X”), others by “social similarity” (people like me buying X (and liking it) AKA “differential identification”), and still others by (“social authority”) – recognised experts endorsing it.

    Think Bob Cialdini’s practical book on “persuasion cues”; Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is useful

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