Empowering brands with honest, unbiased customer reviews.
At Curated Today, we provide market insights for retail enthusiasts in the Middle East. Contributing Editor, Saja Elmishri, interviews Mae Zeineldeen, Managing Director and Nitya Sahni, Growth Manager of Hypely – a community that offers members the opportunity to test products for free and share their honest opinions and reviews.
Below, we uncover why it’s so important for brands to invest in preliminary research in order to ensure successful product launches in the region.
Hypely is a community that offers members the opportunity to participate in campaigns to test products for free and share their honest opinions about them.
1. Tell us about how Hypely works when it comes to cultivating insights for regional brands?
Hypely is our newest baby. It’s a joint venture that started out in the publishing and modesty sphere, that came out from brands’ needs to do a sampling. Brands wanted to know how they could get a hold of more organic reach. We partner with brands to get either samples or full size products before they fully launch in order to test out their products on relevant audiences.
Once we have the samples, we then look through our segmented database and cross-reference with skincare enthusiasts in order to see who the appropriate samples should be sent to. We make sure that we qualify users with a specific campaign that aligns with their needs – for example first we determine if a user suffers from skin issues like acne, then we match him/her with the right products. The ultimate goal is that users receive a positive experience and brands receive their desired results.
Our business is very much sampling heavy and so once Covid-19 hit, we faced logistical issues – which is why we focused on highlighting the research and consumer insights aspect of our business. Since we accumulated insights from the surveys that were sent out from users during the sampling project, we wanted to capitalize on this.
Overall, we partner up with brands that are looking for insights that they cannot access otherwise; we go beyond a Google search. Our segmented database makes us unique and so we are able to provide a tailored marketing approach for our clients that assists them with future campaigning.
2. How did the concept of Hypely come to fruition?
Hypely came into fruition because of the need and gap in the market. We found that brands needed user-generated content from real target customers, as sponsored posts with large influencers were beginning not to be a differentiating factor anymore; instead, working with real target customers would allow the brands to be more identifiable with authentic content. Furthermore, in terms of reviews, we know that customers in the region depend on reviews to make a purchase decision. So far however, the region does not have strong techniques to drive reviews organically for brands, while in other countries, writing reviews is the norm.
The research aspect of Hypely also enables scaling the process and penetrating a target market that has limited data readily available. Therefore, it made perfect sense to launch Hypely in the region to fulfill a need for brands to be able to reach their target customers more effectively.
3. Prior to Hypely, how could brands know what their customers wanted or preferred in a product?
Prior to launching Hypely, we felt that there was a lot of reliance on classical research via focus groups and cold calling so we wanted to speed up this process. We also noticed that clients wanted to digitise the entire experience of research. Brands don’t want to pay an exorbitant amount to extract insights about products and sometimes this takes a long time. Our solution is that our services are budget-friendly and tailored to what the brands want to know.
Hypely is a community that was created for the purposes of the sake of brands that wanted to digitize the research aspect of consumer testing. In the Middle East, we found that when people review, this converts a lot of customers.
4. Why do you think customer insights are lacking in the region? What can brands do to change this?
Classical ways of doing research take too long. Conducting focus groups and carrying out surveys are important but research methods now need to be instant and limitless such as through digital measures. On top of that, working digitally allows us to scale up in terms of who we target when traditional methods like focus groups are not viable.The idea is that brands can tap into rich insights live, in order to influence their marketing campaign instantaneously – but they need to know what they are looking for first. We can help with this.
For brands, it is easy to ask potential consumers leading questions since brands are running research campaigns to identify the needs of their target audience. However, they are not necessarily doing this to be challenged but rather to validate their assumptions. At Hypely, we want to really test a hypothesis so we are not going to tell brands what they want to hear. The insights will help brands elevate their UI or UX but first, they need to be open to hearing about the other side of things, rather than hearing their own biases.
With social media, we have the power of using data to understand consumers’ purchasing patterns so brands will always be getting objective feedback from us. At the end of the day, the final outcome depends on brands to act on the recommendations.
"The ultimate goal is that users receive a positive experience and brands receive their desired results."
5. We see you encourage participants to write product reviews; how powerful are such reviews when driving new customers to buy?
Incredibly powerful. Through our work, we found out that having 50+ reviews on a brand’s page massively increased their sales conversion three times versus another page that doesn’t have any reviews. In this region, there is the issue that not enough reviews get published on websites, as people are reviewing things on social media. But e-commerce websites haven’t given people the chances to review.
Brands need to work harder to get customers to review products in their region; this is an untapped market that offers superb growth. Regarding sentiment, brands can always moderate the reviews and leaving room for reviewing and feedback is something that all brands should engage in. Also how brands deal with negative reviews is a testament to their values; users will respect the brands a lot more depending on how they handle this. Simply put, brands shouldn’t discount negative reviews on their website and should always find ways to make engagement accessible for shoppers.
6. When it comes to prototyping or A/B testing, tell us more about how your platform is bridging the gap between uncovering what customers think before launching a new product – how influential is this?
The idea is that a pre-launch research campaign is incentivized. We would choose a niche number of communities that would engage in such a campaign and these users will be taken through the life-cycle of a product. Specifically, testing out the formula in order to get feedback on the formula. We then keep sending out changes to the same consumers in order to get feedback and see if this update is closer to what they are looking for or not. It is quite influential as you want to build up momentum before launching but also you want to create an engaged community of future consumers who have been part of the process as well.
7. Why should brands invest in ways to obtain detailed customer feedback?
Because brands shouldn’t work in an equi-chamber; sometimes it is only once you have an outsider perspective that you realize that there are gaps in the idea and it doesn’t look as perfect as you thought it does. You need an outsider perspective, a consultant that hasn’t been involved prior, to be able to let you know where you can improve and find ways to make the product more successful. You need different views and objective opinions that will provide you with insights of how the product can be made better.
8. How can the audience sign up to trial sample products in exchange for reviews?
Sign up at hypely.me to be alerted on any upcoming campaigns and check out the samples that are up for grabs. Just signing up and doing as many surveys as possible increases the users’ chances of being included in the next campaign – so engage as much as possible!
About the Editor
Having grown up in Sweden and later moving to the UK, Saja is deeply motivated by emerging social and political concerns around sustainability. Saja currently works as a freelance writer and recently published articles at Eco-Age that explores if sustainability has become a westernized concept.
Saja is currently working as a freelance journalist writing about the intersection of sustainability, fashion and social justice and recently being selected for the FashMash Young Pioneers program, recognized to drive positive change in the industry.