Why I Love This Toy or in short, WILTT – that is the name of Gabriëlle Looman and Jeroen den Bok’s company which offers a very special service: honest and target audience specific product reviews. How does that work, who are their clients, and how do they make sure that the product tests are honest and independent? Let’s find out in our EAN interview.
How did you get the idea to sell product reviews?
Gabriëlle Looman: When I met my current business partner, Jeroen den Bok, it became obvious we shared the same passion for the industry and our clients. However, we also flirted with the idea of helping the end-consumer. We simply asked ourselves how we could achieve both goals. This question led to our plan to offer companies a unique service: an honest review written by women who best fit their target group. The presence of a review has proven to boost sales as it provides the end-consumer with valuable information before buying the product.
Would you mind taking us through the process? What happens once a producer turns to you to employ your services?
We need only 3 things from a client: the desired number of reviews, the websites where the reviews need to be placed and a description of the exact target group. Once we have this information, we kick off the campaign, activate our community of women and make it happen. One of coolest things we offer during a campaign is an online dashboard with real-time updates on the results of the campaign. There, the client can see how many reviews have been written, what the overall sentiment is, and what the average word count is.
“The presence of a review has proven to boost sales as it provides the end-consumer with valuable information before buying the product.”
Who are your clients? Who can benefit from your services?
What I truly love about this is that everybody benefits from our services: We currently have a pilot lined up with Doc Johnson, are working on a campaign with We-Vibe, and exploring a cooperations with Kondomeriet and Eprix. So everybody, from a well-renowned brand to an online retailer, can benefit from our services. But don’t forget the end consumer. The reviews offer valuable information that a consumer needs to decide whether or not to buy the product. The more information is available, the bigger the chances that they will hit the buy button.
Your services are centered around a pool of product reviewers. How did you create this pool? How many, and what types of reviewers are we talking about here?
The magic actually happens when we kick-off a campaign and I do think this is the most important part of the process. By asking the right questions in our community, which we partially find online, we will select the right who that fit that specific campaign and product. However, there are no restrictions such as age, type, or maximum of women in our community. Due to the diversity of erotic products, we require different target groups, ages, and numbers of women.
How do your reviewers rate the products? Are there certain requirements these products have to meet, i.e. is there some sort of quality control?
Most products that are up for testing are higher in price and threshold to buy. When online reviews are available on that specific product, it is more likely that the end consumer will buy it. In relation to rating a product: Our reviewers simply write about their personal experiences with an erotic product. From receiving a toy, unpacking it, feeling the material, presence of a manual and of course their own experience when using the toy.
How do you make sure your services remain independent and unbiased?
That is the most-asked question and the answer is simple: We don’t influence the reviewers’ sentiment by giving them money, products, or any other incentive. In all our communications, we clearly state the reviewers can experience the product in exchange for their honest opinion. We always disclose upfront that they cannot keep the product. We also do not promote the client’s’ product. We merely offer the opportunity to experience the product. This prevents us from influencing the reviewers’ expectations from the start.
“We don’t influence the reviewers’ sentiment by giving them money, products, or any other incentive.”
If the reviewers can’t keep the products, what other incentive is there for them to do these reviews?
There are three reasons why women in our community want to participate: Some of them are curious about their sensuality and how they can get more out of their sex life; some of them want to help others make the best choice for a sex toy through their honest experience with the toy; and some of them feel they are real experts and think their opinion is valuable and want a platform to share their thoughts on the toys.
Suppose one of your clients complains because their products got a bad review from one of your testers. How do you deal with that kind of backlash?
This can and will happen. That’s a good thing though, as a negative review usually gives valuable information to both the producer and the consumers. Will it happen often? Probably not. Firstly, we partner up with brands that have a great reputation in the field. Their products are renowned for their quality. And secondly, we select women who fit the exact target group. So if we do a campaign for an anal toy, women who are not into this won’t be part of the group of reviewers. This ensures that reviews are balanced, even when the experience is not good.
How important are product reviews on the internet? How strongly do they influence the consumers’ purchasing decision?
It’s the number one thing consumers look for before they make their purchase. Everybody reads reviews before actually hitting the ‘buy button’. A good example would be a hotel for your holiday: You go online to find the best hotel, compare prices, and then read through the reviews. You probably select the one with the best and/or most reviews available and only then decide to book the hotel. Things are no different with adult toys.
Oftentimes, you find bought reviews on the web, or fake reviews that are basically just a copy of the official product description… Is there a credibility problem with online reviews?
Academic research shows that only a very small amount of reviews are fake or bought and almost all in a certain industry: books and restaurants. When it comes to reviews about products from big brands, the companies behind these brands can’t take the risk of buying reviews or writing them themselves. Other academic research shows that consumers are very good in understanding which review is real and which is fake. We don’t believe there is a credibility issue with online reviews at this moment.
Has your previous experience in the adult industry helped you realise these ideas and get your company WILTT BV going?
When I started working at Beate Uhse, I was an outsider without any knowledge of the adult industry and was offered the opportunity to build great relationships. My clients and manufacturers taught me the ins and outs and gave me their trust to grow their business together. Even now, I’m still truly grateful for this trust and the awesome projects we ran together.
When the idea arose for an online review company, I saw a fantastic opportunity to remain in this industry and continue my work ethic: help customers grow their business. An added bonus is that we are now also helping the end consumers, a win-win in my opinion.
I can also state that I wouldn’t have taken the leap if the idea had fallen on deaf ears. I did discuss the concept with several clients and renowned manufacturers and they all responded with the same enthusiasm. That enthusiasm, coupled with some proposed future collaborations, resulted in the start of WiLTT BV.