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Leveraging Reviews as a Growth Engine with Junip CEO Stuart Arsenault

Adrian Alfieri

Adrian Alfieri

Stuart Arsenault is the co-founder and CEO of Junip, the Canada-based platform enabling 2,500+ eCommerce businesses like Kellogg's, OLIPOP, and KOTN to run product reviews.

In an industry-leading feat, Junip also boasts a review submission rate on request of over 10%. We sat down with Stuart to dive into the company’s roadmap so far, covering topics including:

  • Step-by-step guide for driving customer acquisition via reviews
  • Two platform features that stemmed from customer-led feedback
  • Junip’s expansion plans on the horizon beyond CPG product reviews

“Reviews are a core element of functioning as an eCom brand. At this point in time, we’re still far from our end goal of everything reviews can accomplish — so we get to begin building out all of the fun things we imagine for this space.”


Driving Conversions Through User Reviews

In Stuart’s words, it’s essentially a given that leveraging reviews for your eCom site improves conversion rates because they generate social proof, contextualize the real-life value of your products, and generally help a static site come alive.

More specifically, three common points of growth for Junip clients are:

  • On-site conversion rate improvements.
  • Google Shopping conversion rates improvements.
  • Conversion rate bumps across external sales channels.

Stuart also identified three lesser-known growth sites associated with reviews:

  • Gaining general qualitative customer insight on product strengths and weaknesses.
  • Opening up a low-effort channel for buyers to submit UGC for repurposed ad efforts.
  • Perhaps most importantly, Stuart pointed to the way improved reviews tooling can rewrite industry norms to fundamentally approach customers at their desired level.

For instance, users and brands alike are accustomed to customers being blasted with emails requesting review submissions.

Yet, as an example, Uber users don’t choose to leave driver reviews after receiving an email weeks post-ride. They chose to do so because they were presented with a low-barrier opportunity to leave a review upon reopening the Uber app.

“Due to the tools that have existed, reviews are done wrong in so many ways that end up limiting growth. But what could happen if we gave everyone the best tooling to actually meet customers how they wanted to be met?”


How Junip Integrates Customer Feedback

As Junip’s core product has been built out alongside early customers, the platform has, according to Stuart, reaped valuable insights as well as business from active eCom operators.

In terms of key product feedback that’s influenced their product roadmap, he pointed to two features — both centered around how brands can better execute gathering user reviews.

Streamlining SMS Functionality

While text messages have become a staple customer comms channel in eCom, review providers have largely avoided SMS due to significant technical and policy restraints.

For instance, when a brand texts a review submission request to a user who hasn’t yet explicitly given approval for contact at that phone number, this event can quickly raise red flags for the provider and end customer alike.

In response, Junip became the first reviews platform to integrate with Postscript, Attentive, and other leading text-powered review tools, thus enabling brands to message review requests directly through the SMS channels they’ve already utilized.

Ramping Subscription Reviews

Meanwhile, on the subscriptions front, Junip will be partnering with Skio and similar platforms to enable brands to gather user reviews through their subscription portals.

This broadly speaks to Junip’s emphasis on powering reviews in less typical categories — in this case, for subscribers and other long-term, high-repeat customers to provide specific feedback on subscription brands, plans, and pricing.

“Most requests from client brands are framed around providing greater user flexibility, in order to get closer to meeting the conditions of where, when, and how users would actually want to leave a review.”


Roadmap: Moving Beyond Product Reviews

When asked how he would expand the Junip platform if given unlimited time and runway, Stuart pointed to the fact that beyond product reviews as we know them today, feedback could be radically expanded to include buyers’ broader opinions on product ranges, brands, and so on.

After all, Junip and similar enablement players like Skio tend to partner with, in his words, truly thoughtful brands — which in turn attract customers with thoughtful, expansive opinions on these brands and their products.

Although Stuart admits Junip and the larger reviews ecosystem are far from realizing this concept, recent relevant developments include Instagram’s functionality for tagging brands in shoppable posts to be linked to your PDPs.

Reducing Friction as a Northstar Metric

As for how expansions could potentially tie into the sweeping wave of web3, Stuart believes it will likely be tough to work with the reviews space — in the near term.

He attributes this to the reality that customers are simply unwilling to undergo friction to complete tasks, hence why, despite being the industry leader, Junip’s review submission rate only hovers around 10%.

At this point in time, when web3-powered eCom opportunities (think entering the metaverse to shop) continue to provide greater barriers to entry than the current digital commerce ecosystem, Stuart and the Junip team will be erring on the side of caution and Web 2.0.

“There are so many untapped modalities for sharing thoughts on products and brands. This standard format we have for reviews from the 90s and 2000s — I know it can’t be the last mode we have for talking about the products we love.”

Adrian Alfieri

Adrian Alfieri

Y Combinator
Liquid IV
Bev
Bev
Muddy Bites
MatchaBar
Remedy Organics
Facetheory
Krave Beauty
Stryx
One Blade
Doe Lashes
Barukas
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Simulate
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Somos
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Zox
Huron
XCJ
BelliWelli
Culture Pop
Bubs Naturals
Summer Water
Strong Coffee
Ritual Zero Proof
Wellnesse
Heights
Taika
Immi
Fly By Jing
Y Combinator
Liquid IV
Bev
Bev
Muddy Bites
MatchaBar
Remedy Organics
Facetheory
Krave Beauty
Stryx
One Blade
Doe Lashes
Barukas
Red Bay Coffee
Gooey.
Siete Foods
Sunsoil
Ugmonk.
Munkpack
Simulate
Everyday Dose
Backbone
ZBiotics
Semaine Health
Somos
Magic Mind
Uprising
Zox
Huron
XCJ
BelliWelli
Culture Pop
Bubs Naturals
Summer Water
Strong Coffee
Ritual Zero Proof
Wellnesse
Heights
Taika
Immi
Fly By Jing
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