In the e-commerce industry these days, information is everything.
A seemingly infinite number of online shopping resources, combined with an economic climate that has forced consumers to save money wherever they can, have put the power squarely in the hands of shoppers. Concurrently, that climate has also made it imperative that retailers offer as many product research tools as possible in order to retain customers and stay relevant.
Quite simply, online shoppers are smarter and more diligent than ever before. And while they might not necessarily always spend more, they are usually spending wiser.
Product reviews have always played an important role in an online shopper’s decision. But our June 2011 Junkie Award winner, TurnTo Networks, has taken the concept to a whole new level.
TurnTo offers a social question and answer product called Ask Owners, which allows shoppers on retail sites to pose questions about particular products to other customers that have already bought them. After questions have been posed, shoppers get multiple, highly-credible and high-quality answers delivered to them quickly through the merchant site, with links back to the original product pages to facilitate the checkout process.
The concept vastly improves on existing Q & A resources, many of which work much like a message board, where consumers often have to wait long periods of time to get a response to a product question, if they get one at all. It also brings an added social component to shopping research that many consumers crave.
Speedy responses and high-quality advice, though, are not the only things that make this first-of-its-kind resource so valuable.
According to information from TurnTo, Ask Owners also serves as a powerful customer retention and marketing tool. Thanks to an average response rate of about 8 percent on questions, merchants using Ask Owners are seeing many past shoppers return to their sites to provide answers to others, which in turn, can lead to even more purchases.
Furthermore, the Ask Owners is proving to have strong SEO and conversion benefits as well.
TurnTo says that visitors using the system tend to buy at rates between two and seven times higher than those who do not. On the sites of some of TurnTo’s bigger retailers, more than 30 percent of all the purchases originate from shoppers who used Ask Owners before placing their order.
Finally, TurnTo keeps all of the valuable advice provided by shoppers for others to benefit from as well. Q & A dialog is visible on relevant product pages as a resource for future visitors and all user-generated dialog from Ask Owners is index-able by search engines. Many of TurnTo’s retail partners have even said that Ask Owners provides more quality user-generated content than their very own customer review systems.
TurnTo lists Emitations, ClubFurniture.com and ePartyUnlimited as just a few web merchants already benefitting from Ask Owners and from what we can see, there should be plenty more added to that list in the near future.
It has been awhile since we awarded a Junkie based on a technological feature but TurnTo is certainly deserving of this month’s edition of the award! Learn more at: http://www.turntonetworks.com/.