Reliable Shopping Reviews and Product Scores: Interview with Joe Dieter, CEO of Wisely.

Wisely offers a unique tool for wisest shopper opinions and product scores. CEO Joe Dieter gives us more details in an exclusive interview with TechBullion.

Hi Joe, great to meet you. Please tell us more about Wisely, its services and the inspiration behind creating the shopping tool?

Wisely is a simpler, yet more reliable way to gain a trusted, definitive answer on which products are worth buying. We analyze and summarize thousands of the most helpful and reliable shopper reviews and opinions from across the web into a single product score and bite-size shopping tips. Our score is a more democratized view of what’s being said beyond the traditional 5-star review. Wisely has been called the “J.D. Power of the Internet” or “Honey on Steroids.”

When shopping on Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart, the Wisely browser extension delivers scores and product highlights throughout the shopping journey. Wisely’s technology has analyzed over millions of voices regarding thousands of TVs, smartphones, headphones, smart speakers, tablets and smartwatches—with insights updated weekly. 

Wisely’s core team has a background in building consumer products for both big and small brands. Through our professional experience, we realized the market need for a solution to aid shoppers with helpful information throughout the shopping journey.

The team observed that shopper opinion is widespread across various corners of the web. There are thousands of shopper reviews across various ecommerce platforms, hundreds of press reviews, and millions of consumers speaking across social media. We recognized that it’s practically impossible for a single shopper to quickly navigate all of this information. Even if one could absorb all this information, they may not want to as some sources aren’t actual shoppers and some are an elaborate ad paid for by a brand or seller. 

Lastly, shoppers buy certain products for different reasons. Within most product categories, we don’t just buy the cheapest product or stay loyal to one brand; there’s nuance to the buying criteria of each individual. We realized many product review systems weren’t addressing these real life factors.

Dale Almasy, co-founder and CTO, and myself believe there’s a better way to inform shoppers everywhere with Wisely. 

Wisely is now available to download and use on Google Chrome.

Why is it more important to get shopper opinions and trusted scores these days?

It’s always been important for consumers to have access to the most helpful and reliable product opinion as they shop. We just haven’t had a solution that efficiently addressed the need, let alone place the solution at the point of purchase. 

Today, resourceful tools like Wisely are especially important because of the ecommerce boom this year. From paper towels to peanut butter to televisions, more people, from all walks of life, are choosing to make the majority of their purchasing decisions digitally. In addition, more shoppers are taking the time to write reviews. Product categories that didn’t typically attract shopper reviews in volume now do.

The ecommerce shopping audience of today buys differently than it did 5 years ago, let alone a year ago. It’s time for a next-gen approach to how the online shopping journey looks and feels. It’s time for a more informative, transparent and personalized shopping experience. Regardless of a shopper’s savvy, they should be equipped with the right info that directs them to the right product for their needs. 

Beyond 2020 timeliness, it’s important to note that the market has been committed to a horse and buggy approach for decades. The majority of tech product shoppers take the time to read 5-star product reviews from 2-3 retailers, they then read a couple press reviews, and a good amount of shoppers even look up trending sentiment on a social platform before they make a buying decision. That said, there are those who solely rely on one major ecommerce platform’s 5-star review – thumbing through reviews on their phone while they stand in a store aisle. Regardless of where a shopper falls on the spectrum of savvy pre-purchase research, a shopper can’t currently identify how many biased, incentivized, bot-generated opinions are impacting their learnings. In addition, reviews often tackle different topics, so there’s nuance to how much a shopper should pay attention to certain reviews over others. 

An obvious example is the comment “this phone sucks” isn’t quite as helpful as a multi paragraph review speaking to each new feature of the latest iPhone. If you read each individual 5-star review on a product, you’ll see a massive range in helpful and completely unhelpful opinion. The reality is that a subset of reviews on most products aren’t very content or context rich when it comes to the evaluation of actual product experiences across features, factors, specs and use-cases.

Thanks to the 5-star review, we came out of an age where the maker or seller had complete leverage. It used to be that a brand with a bigger ad budget, but not necessarily a better product, could monopolize or control a market. Thanks to the product review, among other factors, we’ve found a more democratized way for shoppers to make informed buying decisions. While we were intrigued by the power of product reviews, we had a lot of questions about them. As we dug in, we found some less than ideal ways that a single platform’s 5-star review can sway consumers based on biased motive or a relevant criteria the review is based on.

What is the market size and level of demand for a rating platform like Wisely?

It’s been estimated that over 65 million “digital natives” turn to multiple review / social / press platforms for product opinion before making a purchasing decision on a tech product. We believe this sort of pre-purchase research isn’t just happening with expensive tech products, it’s transferring to other categories, including homecare/cleaning products, specialty food and beverage items, toiletries, cosmetics, over the counter health and more.  

In 2020, the size of, and type of audiences doing pre-purchase diligence has grown as more shoppers are buying the majority of the products in their life online. There’s been an ecommerce boom in terms of revenue. More people are choosing to make their purchasing decisions digitally and more shoppers are taking the time to write reviews, not just on tech products. 

This market shift has ushered in the need for ecommerce to become more efficient and intelligent in how it caters to shoppers, regardless of their prior knowledge. Regardless of a shopper’s savvy, they should be equipped with the right info that directs them to the right product for their needs. 

Does Wisely identify when a new tech is being sold or released? If so, could you tell us more about this and how it works?

Our vision is that when a new tech product (within a product category of current coverage) is released, our system brings together product opinion weekly and then performs multi-tiered analysis on that content across reliability and relevance weighting factors.  

How is the latest product opinion developed weekly, why is this important?

Our system will identify and analyze the latest reviews that have been posted during a given week. It’s important to regularly update our insights for a number of reasons. Our goal is to give shoppers the most up to date, relevant and reliable information. Product opinions evolve because product performance and product specs change over time. 

For example, there was a popular smartphone released several years back that achieved some of the highest product ratings for any phone that year across initial long-form press reviews. However, the battery malfunctioned and started exploding. Consumer reviews / ratings and social media sentiment plummeted. Yet, many press reviews still regarded the phone as a top pick. 

It’s important to Wisely that we’re among the first to accurately identify when there’s a shift in widespread opinion toward a product or brand. In addition to the ebb and flow of consumer opinion, there’s a constant evolution of an actual product category. When you analyze how consumers spoke about a smartphone 10 years ago, let alone 5 years ago, and compare that conversation to how consumers speak about a smartphone today, you’d think shoppers are discussing completely different product categories. 

The consumer conversation evolves, products evolve – as a result, Wisely scores and insights will shift.  

Tell us more about the text and source analysis on Wisely and the factors involved? 

The Wisely insight system utilizes natural language processing, sentiment analysis and AI to analyze wide-spread shopper opinion. 

When a new tech product is released our system brings together multi-source product opinion weekly and then performs multi-tiered analysis on that content across reliability and relevance weighting factors. 

The output is a product score + thousands of unique shopping tips per product. To give you an example of the power of the system, Wisely has found that most Amazon ratings (over 70%) mention two or less product features—meaning the majority of them are not helpful to the buying process. This is why we increase the weighting of feature and use-case-rich reviews.

Online shopping has been trending more since COVID pandemic, what shopping tips do you have for Internet shoppers?

There has been an incredible ecommerce boom over the past year. Our tool is one big shopping tip for consumers. Whatever review system you’re looking at is likely based on a single platform’s review system coming from that platform’s community. The best tip we can give shoppers is to access opinion from not only multiple communities, but from actual shoppers. They can access these sorts of insights via the Wisely shopping tool

Could you tell us more about your customer support and your safety measures to guarantee accurate scores?

Customer opinion and feedback is very important to us. We’re asking that everyone who uses our shopping tool also leaves feedback via our shopper response system. We’re listening to which additional product categories and product insights customers most want to see from our tool.

We’re excited to constantly scale the breadth and depth of our product scores and insights. Throughout the months ahead, our score and insights will contain data from more sources, and weighting factors that help prioritize truly reliable and more informative sources. In addition, our shopping tool will include more product categories offering helpful insights, with each passing month, moving forward.

What’s next for Wisely?

Over the months ahead, we’re launching a product recommendation system within our tool that points shoppers to higher rated products that may be the best fit for their particular needs. We’re also revealing the community scores of different ecommerce shoppers (WalMart vs. Target) as well as pricing / value grades.

Anything else to add?

Please download and test the Wisely shopping tool over the next few months while you shop for your favorite consumer electronics. 

We just launched a social presence across Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, where we’ll be sharing insights on the most researched products. 

Angela Scott-Briggs: Editor, TechBullion.com | Interested in Innovations in Business, Finance, and Technology .
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