Thrift Books Builds Brand Transparency Using Customer Reviews

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Now that schools are back in session, students are frantically trying to collect their assigned course materials for the present semester. Undergraduates, in particular, always struggle to find the right books at the cheapest price because college campus bookstores fail to empathize with their wallet woes. Thrift Books, however, taps into this need by offering high-quality used books at affordable prices that anyone can enjoy.
Customer Strategy

Now that schools are back in session, students are frantically trying to collect their assigned course materials for the present semester. Undergraduates, in particular, always struggle to find the right books at the cheapest price because college campus bookstores fail to empathize with their wallet woes. Thrift Books, however, taps into this need by offering high-quality used books at affordable prices that anyone can enjoy."When most people hear the term used books, they tend to think of musty old paperbacks with yellowed pages and broken spines," says Matt Sand, Thrift Books' vice president of marketing. "That's not what we sell. We have very clearly marked quality standards a book must meet before we list it for sale on or site. Our job is to convince people new to our brand that they will be happy with the products we sell."

Yet, while getting the brand in front of potential customers and earning their trust remains at the heart of Thrift Books' growth, the company acknowledges that much of its success lies in the power of customer reviews.

When Thrift Books launched in 2003, its founders began by listing a couple of boxes of books they'd bought from their local thrift store of Amazon's third-party marketplace. By exposing these books to the millions of consumers on Amazon, Sand highlights, the company was not only able to make a profit, but also find new life for books that otherwise would've ended up in some landfill. But, despite the benefits of listing items on Amazon, Thrift Books still worried about product reviews, for such sites have a vested interest in featuring sellers with good scores and often fail to support the transparency needed to build and maintain trust.

Now, Thrift Books has partnered with Trustpilot to provide customers with used book reviews on their direct site. "When you read a review on an independent site, you can be sure that you're not seeing cherry-picked results," Sand notes. "Being able to read the experiences of thousands of happy buyers removes that last hint of doubt and allows people to convert at higher rates than they would otherwise." Sand also explains that these unbiased reviews allow the Thrift Books customer service team to uncover areas in which they can improve. Hearing about experiences that don't meet their standards enables the company to follow up with customers who had subpar experiences and turn bad situations into positive outcomes.

Ultimately, Thrift Books will continue to improve its on-site experience by rolling out new site functionalities and more relevant content, as both will help consumers find the books they need at prices they can afford. Thrift Books will also continue to reward customers through its loyalty and refer-a-friend programs, as these initiatives encourage happy customers to benefit from sharing their positive experiences with friends and followers across social media.

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