You can group related products into product families so that reviews written about one family member display on the product display pages of all family members. You can amplify review impact by using product families.

Sharing reviews among product family members increases the following key performance indicators for your Bazaarvoice implementation:

  • Percentage of products with displayed reviews
  • Number of products with displayed reviews
  • Average reviews per product
  • Number of total displayed reviews

Types of product families

There are two general types of product families:

  • Product variants—Products that are nearly identical to other products in terms of consumer experience, but they have different SKUs or part numbers. For example, products that come in different colors, different sizes, or are packaged in different weights or quantities may be variants of one another. Reviews from product variants are usually shared in all directions. All products in a given family display reviews written about the other family members.

    For example, reviews of a red MP3 player can be displayed on the product page of a blue MP3 player of the same make and model, provided the color of the MP3 player does not factor into the reviews.

  • Product bundles—Groups of products sold together that otherwise may be sold individually. For example, like a bundle that consists of a digital camera and a memory stick. Reviews about product bundles are usually shared in one direction: from individual components to the product bundle. Typically, the product display page of a bundle displays all reviews written about the individual components. However, the product display page of each component shows reviews only about that component.

    For example, you can display UGC for an iPod on the product page of a bundled product – such as the iPod bundled with an armband holder – without being forced to display UGC for the bundled product on the product pages of the related iPod or armband holder.

    Product pages for bundled products must be represented by a product ID in your product catalog feed even if they are not actual products.

Implementing product families

To implement product families follow these steps:

  1. Contact Bazaarvoice Client Care with details about your product families implementation.
  2. Declare the families that you will use in the XML product catalog feed.
  3. Identify the products on whose pages you want to display content from other products in the family.

The following sections describe these tasks in more detail.

Step 1: Contact Bazaarvoice Client Care

Provide Bazaarvoice Client Care with the following:

  • Submit a request to enable the product families feature for your website
  • Provide the date you expect to have a test product catalog feed (with product families) ready for Bazaarvoice to test

Step 2: Declare product families

Within the XML product catalog feed add an Attributes section with a family identifier to each product entry. Each product family must be given a unique identifier that does not contain any spaces.

The following character types are allowed:

  • Alphanumeric
  • Asterisk(*)
  • Hyphen(-)
  • Period(.)
  • Underscore(_)

In the XML product catalog feed, add the following section to each product entry that you want to include in a product family.

<Attributes>
    <Attribute id="BV_FE_FAMILY">
        <Value>{FamilyName}</Value>
    </Attribute>
</Attributes>

{FamilyName} represents the name of the family you want the product to belong to.

For example, the following code adds a product named Green iPod Nano to a family named iPod_Nanos.

<Product>
    <ExternalId>...</ExternalId>
    <Name>Green iPod Nano</Name>
    <Description>...</Description>
    <BrandExternalId>...</BrandExternalId>
    <CategoryExternalId>...</CategoryExternalId>
    <ProductPageUrl>...</ProductPageUrl>
    <ImageUrl>...</ImageUrl>
    <Attributes>
        <Attribute id="BV_FE_FAMILY">
            <Value>iPod_Nanos</Value>
        </Attribute>
    </Attributes>
</Product>

Family-related content that is declared through an XML product catalog feed does not appear on the corresponding product pages by default. You must add specific XML elements to the Attributes section of each product entry to display family content.

If a product belongs to multiple families, content from all of the products in a specified family is displayed on the corresponding product page because the option is family-specific.

In the XML product catalog feed, add the following elements to the Attributes section of each product entry that you want to display family-related content for.

<Attribute id="BV_FE_EXPAND">
    <Value>BV_FE_FAMILY:{FamilyName}</Value>
</Attribute>

{FamilyName} represents the name of the family you want the product to belong to.

For example, the following code displays all of the content that is related to the family BV_FE_FAMILY on the display page of the product named Green iPod Nano.

<Product>
    <ExternalId>...</ExternalId>
    <Name>Green iPod Nano</Name>
    <Description>...</Description>
    <BrandExternalId>...</BrandExternalId>
    <CategoryExternalId>...</CategoryExternalId>
    <ProductPageUrl>...</ProductPageUrl>
    <ImageUrl>...</ImageUrl>
    <Attributes>
        <Attribute id="BV_FE_FAMILY">
            <Value>iPod_Nanos</Value>
        </Attribute>
        <Attribute id="BV_FE_FAMILY">
            <Value>iPod</Value>
        </Attribute>
        <Attribute id="BV_FE_EXPAND">
            <!-- the following attribute indicates that only products in the
                iPod_Nanos family are shown on this page -->
            <Value>BV_FE_FAMILY:iPod_Nanos</Value>
        </Attribute>
    </Attributes>
</Product>

Contact Bazaarvoice Client Care for more information on implementing product families.

Example feeds

To assist with your implementation, refer to Bazaarvoice’s Conversations knowledge base for the following example feeds and formats: