Consumer Packaged Goods giant Wal-Mart (WMT) is once again changing the game when it comes to multi-channel e-commerce strategy. The big news this time is that they’re encouraging some 1.3 million employees to review products online. Although they’re clearly trying to beef up their own stockpile of online reviews (after adding the feature in July of this year), is it really any different than getting a recommendation from a salesperson in one of their stores? Or, for that matter, any different than having employees participate on a corporate blog?
Probably not, so long as the employees are told to be transparent about it, and not hype products in which they don’t believe. But what’s especially interesting about a multi-channel behemoth like Wal-Mart is that, given its size, this little feature might just change how CPG (consumer packaged goods) like toothpaste, razors and hair dye products are sold — and how they’re made.
What could Wal-Mart do with its online product reviews? How about placing rating or reviews from actual customers and employees next to actual products on actual shelves? After all, consumers find reviews extremely credible. Wouldn’t a scenario like that actually help drive sales?
(I know, I know… We’ve been blogging a lot about Wal-Mart lately. But there’s good reason for that. We are in the midst of witnessing the evolution from “always the low prices” to “always the voice of the customer.” They’re the world’s biggest living, breathing multi-channel case study.)