Grocery’s Digital Revolution Is Here—What’s Your Voice of Customer Strategy?

February 11, 2019 by Rahul Chadha

The digital revolution has reshaped the retail landscape for nearly every vertical with one major exception—grocery. For a long time, prevailing wisdom said that customers demanded an experience that let them see, touch, and even smell their groceries before heading to checkout.

But that’s changing. Data shows that digital disruption is headed grocery’s way. According to figures released in October 2018 by IGD at industry event Groceryshop, the size of the online grocery market in the US is set to grow from $23.9 billion to $59.5 billion between 2018 and 2023.

And there’s still plenty of room for growth. IGD reported that online grocery’s channel share will hit just 3.5% by 2023, up from a 1.6% share in 2018.

The encroachment of digital means that both grocery retailers and brands will have to rethink old marketing standbys to better appeal to online shoppers. Strategies such as end-caps, print circulars and planograms will have to be reimagined for the digital realm.

Digital investments can have real payoffs for grocers. A recent report from McKinsey & Co. found that grocery companies that were early adopters of technology, including digital solutions, saw a bump of 2% to 5% in earnings before interest and taxes. That’s a great argument for grocery stores to invest in technologies like customer-generated content (CGC) to improve their bottom line.

The TurnTo Advantage for Retailers – Promoting Private Label Goods

The consumer packaged goods (CPG) giants of the world have made huge investments in customer loyalty. But data suggests that grocery shoppers might not have such strong brand fidelity after all. A summer 2018 survey from retail solutions provider Field Agent, for example, found that 46% of customers bought private label store brands always or often when shopping online for groceries or household consumables.

Retailers can tap into the demand for private label goods with upfront placement of customer-generated content like TurnTo’s Ratings & Reviews. Stores can leverage pre-existing fan bases for private label goods—a group that’s likely eager to share their thoughts about benefits and value—by putting five-star ratings and enthusiastic testimonials front-and-center.

CPGs have built up a large amount of trust in their brands over time. To compete, private label brands can use CGC to build their own reservoirs of trust among shoppers. Our recent research found that 76% of shoppers trust the authenticity of product reviews on online stores, underscoring how important CGC can be in their purchase decisions.

The TurnTo Advantage for Brands – The Ratings & Review Showcase

No matter what the product category, brands need to feel relevant, personal and authentic to online shoppers to win their business. For brands in the grocery space, CGC can play a key role in putting products in front of customers, and helping shoppers connect with products on an emotional level.

For example, with TurnTo’s Ratings & Reviews and Visual Reviews™ products, online customers can read and see authentic experiences provided by fellow shoppers. Honest feedback can help lead your customers further down the conversion funnel.

The TurnTo Advantage for New Products – Sampling

Launching a new product in the grocery space is a tremendous challenge. In his presentation at last year’s Groceryshop, Vivek Kalpande, a Group Vice President at Albertsons, shared that an astounding 80% ­to 90% of new CPG product launches are considered unsuccessful. That’s a tough environment for anyone.

One way to make product launches successful is by gathering up Ratings & Reviews before your product is available to purchase. How? With TurnTo Sampling, our turnkey solution that’s dead simple to implement.

Here’s how it works. You ship the products in bulk. We do the work of finding the right target audience, manage fulfillment, and collect feedback from customers. That way when your product is ready to hit the market, there’s already a buildup of CGC waiting for customers on your site. Our solution works equally well for grocers with private labels, brands, or any product that could use a fresh infusion of customer-generated content.

Customer Experience is Everything

TurnTo has been collecting, monitoring and improving customer-generated content for more than 10 years. We have deep, established relationships with brands and retailers. We know how to help them understand not only the right uses for CGC, but also the best ways to go about collecting it.

For grocery, that means asking customers for the right kind of review at the perfect time in their shopping journey. That’s not limited to collecting CGC on purchased products alone.

TurnTo can help with a range of other questions related to the entire customer experience: How was your buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) experience? How was your grocery delivery experience? Was your delivery on time? Were your bananas ripe? Were your eggs cracked? Was your ice cream still frozen?

TurnTo’s products can help grocery retailers establish a 360-degree view of the customer and spot problems in the customer journey. It’s this kind of intelligence that will help you stay ahead of your competitors. We’re experts in CGC—it’s why we have the highest collection rate of any of our rivals.

Schedule a demo and learn more about TurnTo’s products and services:

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Personalizing the Online Shopping Experience Through Custom CGC: Part 3

January 31, 2019 by Belinda Blakley

In our past two posts, we’ve shown that brands and retailers can reap serious rewards by incorporating customer-generated content (CGC) like ratings and reviews into their personalization efforts.

Leaving CGC out can mean leaving money on the table—our recent survey revealed that 76% of shoppers said they were less likely to make a purchase from a site that didn’t offer customer-generated content. Research from Infosys backs up the importance of personalization—31% of respondents wanted more personalization out of their shopping experiences.

To recap, there are three key pillars of personalization that eCommerce platforms should keep in mind:

  1. Customizing to the individual shopper
  2. Customizing by brand category
  3. Customizing by product

In our last post we covered how companies can customize CGC to individual shoppers. In this one, we’ll take on how eCommerce firms should be thinking about customization by brand category and by product.

Customize by Brand Category

Our research shows that shoppers found different types of customer-generated content more useful depending on what brand category they were browsing. For example, shoppers looking at sporting goods online thought ratings and reviews was the most helpful type of CGC, as helpful as product descriptions written by the brand. Sporting goods shoppers also rated customer-submitted photos and videos as equally helpful as those provided by the store.

When shopping online for sporting goods, how helpful do you find each of the features below?

Using TurnTo’s tools, eCommerce platforms can capitalize on interest in CGC by customizing product pages to prominently feature certain types of CGC by default. For sporting goods retailers, that would mean greeting shoppers with ratings and reviews as prominently displayed as product descriptions.

Retailers in other brand categories can similarly tailor their own product pages according to shopper’s desires, placing the type of CGC that shoppers find the most useful front and center. If shoppers want to change the default display, TurnTo’s platform can easily hand the reins over to them. By utilizing our review sort and search tools, customers can customize their own user experience to find the exact type of customer-generated content they’re looking for.

Meanwhile, Community Q&A can give shoppers Instant Answers to commonly asked questions through an easy search function. Setting shoppers up with this feature in a default view on the product detail page (PDP) can eliminate a potential friction point, making the path to purchase all the more seamless.

Download your brand category quick guide below to gain insights into what your target audience prefers:

CGC Shopper Insights: Clothing & Footwear
CGC Shopper Insights: Beauty & Skincare
CGC Shopper Insights: Electronics
CGC Shopper Insights: Hobby & Craft
CGC Shopper Insights: Housewares & Home Décor
CGC Shopper Insights: Pet
CGC Shopper Insights: Sporting Goods
CGC Shopper Insights: Toys & Child Products

Customization By Product

Finally, the third way that retailers can utilize CGC for a personalized shopping experience is through customization by product. Retailers should consider that some products in their catalog may be better served by unique layouts if those products fall under a different category than their product catalog at large.

Some products are best served by showcasing visual customer-generated content. A shopper thinking about buying a dress is likely to be more interested in how an item looks in the wild than written content, at least initially. Retailers can tap into this customer’s desire by defaulting to a CGC view that serves up product photos and videos over other types of content.

Other products might be better served by giving other types of CGC, such as Community Q&A, greater play on the product display page. No problem. TurnTo’s feature set allows online retailers to address those needs by letting them create unique layouts according to each PDP’s need.

This level of control can prove useful in situations where a product might be somewhat out of line with a brand category, such as when a moisture-wicking shirt is being sold online by a sporting goods store. In such cases, a retailer can use a broader personalization strategy for the bulk of its SKUs, while also offering more granular personalization controls for specific products.

The good news doesn’t stop there. TurnTo’s tools also allow for shoppers to be shown dynamically prioritized reviews from customers with similar profiles to their own, making personalization efforts even easier.

Download our free 2019 State of Customer-Generated Content for more insights into making your CGC outstanding.

Personalizing the Online Shopping Experience Through Custom CGC: Part 2

January 17, 2019 by Belinda Blakley

Last week, we discussed the need for eCommerce stores to focus on personalizing their online shopping experience in order to stay competitive in today’s market. (If you missed it, catch up here.) With 59% of shoppers agreeing that personalization has an effect on what (or how much) they purchase, online retailers should be investing in a strategy around this driving factor—including how they provide and display CGC.

In our previous post, we introduced three key approaches to personalization:

  1. Customize to the individual shopper
  2. Customize by the brand category
  3. Customize by the product

In this post, we’ll focus on the first component of the strategy.

Customize to the Individual Shopper

Show the reviews and the types of content that are most helpful to each shopper. That’s a simple statement, but there are many ways to go about it—and brands should use every avenue available to them.

Reviewer Profile Dimensions

TurnTo’s newest platform allows eCommerce sites to not only display reviewer profile information, but to create a customized experience for a visiting shopper by dynamically prioritizing the reviews from other customer profiles most similar to their own. This not only includes age, gender, and location, but stores can add custom profile details that are most relevant to their shoppers.

Take beauty & skincare for instance. Shoppers could use filters on skin type, hair color, skin tone, etc. to find information from reviewers like themselves. A shopper may want to know if a moisturizer is right for their sensitive skin, or if a foundation color really matches their dark or light skin tone. By giving shoppers the ability to customize the review content they see, stores can increase shoppers’ confidence that the product is the right choice.



Beauty & skincare isn’t the only product category that can benefit from reviewer profile filters. For example, a sporting goods store could benefit from the ability to sort on profile dimensions such as sport of interest and level of skill. A shopper who is new to a sport or activity will appreciate the reviews of other amateurs, and may not understand the details in reviews from advanced customers. On the other hand, a semi-professional may want to filter out reviews that rate ease-of-use for first-timers. Providing options to sort by custom dimensions allows even unknown shoppers to find the best information for them.

Preferences by Age and Gender

If you only have demographic data about your shopper, you can still make some personalized default settings in the display of your CGC. As with any demographic data, individuals may vary widely in their preferences, but age and gender do play a role in shoppers’ CGC preferences.

All shoppers say that ratings & reviews are the most helpful type of CGC, but women rate all types of CGC higher than men do. With the higher ratings for photos & videos and Q&A, it’s worth displaying customer-submitted photo and video at the top of reviews for female shoppers, and making the Q&A widget easy to find. On the other hand, a PDP designed for men should prioritize easily sortable ratings & reviews.

Divided by age, the 18-24 group rates photos and videos equally as helpful as customer Q&A, while all other age groups rate customer Q&A as more helpful, second only to ratings & reviews. Shoppers over 50, however, are the only group to prioritize product descriptions from the store above any type of CGC (by a small margin, just above ratings & reviews). For them, written content is key, so a PDP designed for that group could de-prioritize visual content.

If dynamic page layouts aren’t an option, companies should design the layout based on their target market, and then run a/b tests to find the optimal UX for their shoppers.

In the next post, we’ll talk about customizing your CGC to your eCommerce category and product.

Download our free 2019 State of Customer-Generated Content for more insights into making your CGC outstanding.

Personalizing the Online Shopping Experience Through Custom CGC: Part 1

January 11, 2019 by Belinda Blakley

It was no surprise to see that online sales over the holiday shopping season were higher than ever. As shoppers continue to shift to online purchases, they also expect more from brands in their online shopping experiences. According to recent research, “77% of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience” [Evergage]. That’s huge incentive for eCommerce businesses to focus their resources on increasing personalized shopping experience, but many are still lagging behind. According to a study by Infosys, 31% of shoppers don’t feel like their shopping experiences are personalized enough, and at least a fifth of shoppers haven’t ever received personalized promotions or recommendations. That all adds up to a lot of cash that online retailers are leaving on the table.

Add the shopper’s expectation of personalization to their demands for reviews and other customer-generated content, and brands will find a huge area of opportunity. According to our recent survey, 76% of consumers are less likely to buy from a site without CGC, and 73% will even buy a more expensive product if it’s more highly rated. Yet, according to BigCommerce, 69% of online shoppers aren’t getting enough reviews from eCommerce sites, and others say they’d like to see more types of CGC such as images (78%), testimonials (42%), and video (30%).

“77% of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience”

Many brands still struggle with how to implement more advanced personalization on their sites, but a coupled investment in personalization and high-quality CGC brings big dividends—including an increase in impulse buys, loyalty, and organic reach through recommendations to friends and family and through social media.

When creating a strategy for a customized shopping experience, it’s important to consider three key approaches to personalization:

  1. Customize to the individual shopper
  2. Customize by the brand category
  3. Customize by the product

Next week, we’ll start at the top of this list and discuss on the blog how brands can use customer-generated content to personalize the online shopping experience for the individual shopper. [Update: read the next post here]

Download our free 2019 State of Customer-Generated Content for more insights into making your CGC outstanding.

Online Holiday Shopping Continues to Outpace In-Store; CGC May Be the Trick to Stand Out

December 5, 2018 by Belinda Blakley

As online shopping continues to outpace in-store purchases, especially during the holiday shopping season, one tactic to stand out in the online marketplace is to increase the quality and visibility of your customer-generated content, or CGC.

This year, Reuters reported that on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, online sales were up 23%, while in-store sales were down 4-7% over last year. Shoppers continue to shift from brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping for their holiday deals and gifts. A vast majority of those users will turn to CGC in order to make a purchase decision—whether it’s product ratings, reviews, customer-submitted photos or video, Q&A with previous customers, or a combination of any of these—and eCommerce sites without high-quality CGC will likely miss out on purchases as well as shopper loyalty.

In our recent research study, we found that CGC not only influences shoppers’ product decisions while on an eCommerce site, but that shoppers will choose one online store over another based on the quality of each store’s CGC. Moreover, 76% say they will likely decide not to shop at a store that doesn’t provide any customer-generated content.

To help eCommerce teams make the most out of their CGC, we’ve published a one-page guide detailing holiday shopping trends and CGC tips.

  • Learn what types of information shoppers are looking for in their CGC.
  • Discover what site features are most influential for shoppers choosing between online stores.
  • Get 5 actionable tips for effectively utilizing CGC during the holiday shopping season.

Download your free copy now.

Get Your Free Guide


Want to learn more about shopper habits and their CGC preferences? Download The State of Customer-Generated Content eBook to discover research like:

  • One-quarter of shoppers seek out negative reviews to help make their purchase decision.
  • 41% of shoppers prefer to ask other customers about products over brand experts
  • 74% of shoppers will purchase more expensive products if they have higher ratings than similar less-expensive products

Get Your Free Copy →

Free Report: 2019 State of Customer-Generated Content

November 29, 2018 by Belinda Blakley

The TurnTo team has developed a free eBook about online shopper behavior as related to customer-generated content (also called CGC or UGC), such as ratings & reviews, customer images & video, and shopper Q&A.

The 2019 State of Customer-Generated Content is loaded with analysis and insights, as well as action items that you can implement immediately to improve your eCommerce store’s CGC, increase site traffic, lift conversion rates, and boost your repeat purchase rate.

Here’s a taste of the original research and insights contained within:

  • For many shoppers, high-quality CGC is as or more important than good shipping and returns policies.
  • Most are looking at CGC to understand product performance, purchaser satisfaction, and product quality.
  • 74% of shoppers say that the presence of CGC influences them to buy on one site over another.
  • Most shoppers can be swayed to purchase a more expensive item if it has a higher star rating than a similar, less expensive item.
  • Shoppers trust each other more than brand experts.

There’s plenty more data, trends, and best practices to discover.

Download Your Copy

Who’s shopping for what this Friday?

November 19, 2018 by Belinda Blakley

Curious what shoppers will be buying the most this Black Friday and Cyber Monday? TurnTo recently polled shoppers on which categories they shop for online. Using this data, we can make some predictions into where shoppers will be spending their money this holiday weekend.

Overall, clothing is the highest category shopped online by far amongst all demographics.

I guess the gifts of socks and itchy wool sweaters will always be popular choices.

After clothing, electronics comes in a close second for most shopped online items overall. We expect those people will certainly be shopping on Cyber Monday for extra deals!

Even though electronics comes in second overall, when broken down by gender, men will be the ones shopping more for electronics while women will spend their money on beauty including skincare and housewares.

Broken down by age groups, 25-39-year old’s will shop the most this holiday season online, while those 50 years old and over will shop the least online.

Hungry for more research? Look for more shopping trend reports from TurnTo, coming soon!

Find out about how our clients are using their customer-generated content in their eCommerce strategy this holiday season.

Let’s Talk


Want to learn more about shopper habits and their CGC preferences? Download The State of Customer-Generated Content eBook to discover research like:

  • One-quarter of shoppers seek out negative reviews to help make their purchase decision.
  • 41% of shoppers prefer to ask other customers about products over brand experts
  • 74% of shoppers will purchase more expensive products if they have higher ratings than similar less-expensive products

Get Your Free Copy →

Milk, bread, eggs and a 5-star review…

November 8, 2018 by Sven Tarantik

Customer-generated content just makes sense for grocers and brands. While online grocers definitely have a niche market to conquer, brick and mortar stores and the brands that are sold there have an opportunity to embrace CGC.

By 2020, the online grocery spend is expected to increase to $100 billion—not only is there an opportunity for retailers, but brands can differentiate themselves by allowing shoppers to directly engage with customer–generated content.

What are people looking for when they engage with customer-generated content?

The most influential kind of CGC is one that initiates an emotional response for a shopper and gives them information about the value of a product. When the head of a home needs to decide what to feed their family or when someone is taking their budget into consideration while food shopping; customer-generated content is the perfect medium to convey information.

Ratings and Reviews and customer photos help retailers and brands establish a deeper, emotional connection with shoppers, and help educate them about products during the research stage of their shopping plan. This is crucial in order to disrupt the methodical shopper who makes the same weekly purchase time and again.

Where does customer-generated content fit in a brand or retailers’ marketing strategy?

Interrupting online shopping for groceries is a challenge. In brick and mortar stores, shoppers can engage with end-cap specials and exclusive in-store promotions, which boosts impulse buys. Enticing “free samples” are handed out left and right, encouraging purchase by trying the product. But with less engagement online, people can easily repurchase their previous week’s items in a simple click of a button, or quickly check off item on their list with no incentive to choose tempting extras or add-ons.

Chatting with other customers while waiting in line to pay for groceries, when it happens, is a great for exchanging pleasantries around favorite items and plans for future recipes. This simple interaction sparks interest in new foods or introduces new products to the shoppers from a trusted source. This doesn’t happen as much as it used to in person, but with the migration to online shopping, retailers can reintroduce this genuine interaction with CGC.

A solution such as Checkout Comments™ mimics this in-store engagement. When a shopper makes a purchase online, the retailer asks them what they plan on making with the item they bought. They’ll be excited to share, and it’s a great way to collect customer-generated content without having to wait for people to eat or cook with the item purchased.

Shoppers want to know about taste, quality and nutrition and less about the clinical jargon that brands and retailers provide. By including ratings & reviews on the same page shoppers go to purchase a product, they can read about how other customers used the item and what they thought of the results. A great way to further inspire a shopper to buy is by including uploaded recipes or pictures of the completed recipe alongside the products purchased to make it. These kinds of CGC help products stick out among other similar food items on varying grocery or brand sites.

Utilizing a technology that gets shoppers to interact the way they would—or better—inside a grocery store, make recommendations, and suggest new recipes to each other is the way to get ahead in the changing grocery landscape. Customer-generated content creates an enhanced online shopping experience that can be even more engaging than shopping in-person.

Want to learn more about the future of grocery and CGC?

Let’s Talk

eCommerce Sites are adding Community Q&A to their Wish List this Holiday

November 1, 2018 by Sven Tarantik

Holidays are approaching and so is the buzz about the holidays approaching. Every year it seems like we’re talking about gift giving sooner than the year before. Shoppers start asking one another about what will be hot this season and how they can get their hands on it.

Toys are already selling out and that perfect gift for that special someone seems unattainable yet again this year.

What has TurnTo Found Popular Among Clients this Year?

By now, businesses have long buttoned up their plans for making this holiday season better, so brands and retailers that want to get ahead are gearing up for what’s to come post-holiday. A top priority on many of their lists is ramping up their current customer-generated content on their eCommerce sites.

Our suggestion? Let Community Q&A work for you!

41% of shoppers prefer to receive answers from a customer who has already purchased the product.

Shoppers feel more confident in their buying decisions after asking their peers for the answers. Customers provide more influential answers to shopper queries than brand experts ever can—they’ve spent their money purchasing a product and have a personal experience to relate, as opposed to someone who is perceived as “on the side of” the seller and can only tell you the facts. Although shoppers often have specific questions about a product, they’re more trusting of the subjective details that only a previous customer can provide.

The proof is in the numbers…

TurnTo’s current customers can attest that social answers using Community Q&A have yielded incredible conversion results.

Jeff Kitchen, Online Community Manager from Crutchfield says, “On average, 85% of questions sent to past customers received at least one social answer and most received 3 or more!”

Customers are happy to give their opinion on a product and shoppers are genuinely interested in the answers

People who ask questions are 25x more likely to purchase

Scott Ekman of Rockler Woodworking has found the most compelling part of using Community Q&A is not that “askers” are more likely to buy—these customers are already highly engaged—but it’s the data he’s found amongst the customers who answer shopper questions.

“People who answer questions for shoppers are 8 to 10 times more likely to purchase again. In fact, we generate nearly 100 orders per month from people who bought something after getting an email to answer a question,” Scott says.

Those customers that are willing to answer a question for a shopper are actively engaged with the site community. When they’re reminded of their good experience within that community, they’re encouraged to go back to the site and often make another purchase.

In Scott’s case, these customers are sharing their DIY projects and become inspired by the questions they’ve answered to keep creating—often using more supplies or tools from Rockler.

Regardless of the reason why the answerers end up buying something else, it’s remarkable that sending questions to previous buyers can make such a huge impact in turning them into repeat customers.

Active Outreach Model

Only TurnTo Q&A provides unmatched features to maximize the number and speed of answers, like language filtering and automatic routing to accelerate moderation. Advanced logic ensures questions are sent to the right people, and that a customer isn’t pestered by too many questions. Similar item groupings increase owner pools and distribute content accordingly. Clients can even send their customers multi-item questions then display the best answers on their site.

TurnTo retains content on clients’ sites which powers the search feature. Shoppers can use the search functionality in reviews with question, and if a similar question has already been asked, or if their question appears in a seller’s FAQ or knowledgebase, the answer is displayed instantly. This way they can discover their answers quicker and move on to their purchase with that hurdle removed. TurnTo is the only reviews platform that provides this unique ability inside of the review widget.

To start strategizing today about your post-holiday plans, give us a shout! We’ll walk you through it.

Let’s Talk

TOP 5 WAYS to Effectively Utilize CGC in your eCommerce Strategy

October 23, 2018 by Sven Tarantik

During our most recent webinar, one of our loyal customers, Scott Ekman from Rockler Woodworking took us through how he uses the TurnTo platform in his eCommerce strategy; 3 Cs, customer-generated content, community, and commerce.

You can access the entire webinar below, but we’ve compiled the top 5 best practices for you to put to good use now!

1. Best practices for CGC on your product pages

Product description pages are the most crucial places to convince your shoppers to purchase. Customer-generated content should be immediately visible on the page and shoppers should be able to engage with it in multiple forms.

Making CGC as visible as possible reduces the need for shoppers to scroll and relieves shopper uncertainty by providing them with the information and confidence to support their buying decision. In fact, Rockler features their customer-generated content at the top of their product pages. And Scott has found that the most effective place for high-quality content, is next to the “Add to Cart” button.

Rockler allows shoppers to visualize the product in their own hands by displaying real customer photos below the product. Placing a scrolling gallery near the product image ensures it’s seen by your customers.

2. A/B Test the default review order

A third of shoppers recently polled reported being satisfied reviewing customer-generated content however a website displays it. But that leaves 2/3 of shoppers with a strong opinion of how they want to read reviews. Which sort feature makes them more likely to buy? A/B testing the sort order of your reviews will give you a good idea of who responds to what and if it makes a difference for your bottom line.

Scott decided to test the sort feature comparing “Most Helpful” review sort and “Highest Rated” review sort. Rockler chose to update their pages with the sort default using “Highest Rated” as the default view.

This simple update increased revenue per user by 19%!

3. Allow shoppers to ask their product questions to customers

TurnTo discovered 41% of online shoppers prefer to get their answers from other customers. Shoppers feel that other customers better understand the value of an item over the seller, considering they’re the ones spending their hard-earned money on it. Rockler had discovered the same sentiment and implemented TurnTo’s Community Q&A solution.

Rockler has a 94% answer rate on their site using TurnTo’s Community Q&A, and 95% of the questions are answered within the first 48 hours.

Shoppers should be able to ask a question directly on your product description page. Even better as they start to type, the system should pull up similarly asked questions. If they can’t find what they’re looking for, a customer can be emailed the question.

A bonus treat, Scott has found that not only does an answered question increase conversion for the askers, but the customers who answered the shoppers’ questions are 8–10 times more likely to go back to the site and make an additional purchase.

Giving your customers that option to ask on your site is always a good idea.

4. Include Checkout Comments™

Rockler was looking for a fast way to collect reviews for new releases and so Scott and his team started using TurnTo Checkout Comments™ for product pages that did not have many reviews. “Not having to wait for the customer to receive the item, use it and review it really helps to influence sales for new releases earlier,” says Scott.

A great time to ask for customer feedback is at the moment when a shopper becomes a customer. Checkout Comments™ are almost always positive and emotional—therefore highly convincing for shoppers who read them.

5. Include visual reviews everywhere you can

Rockler includes the option to upload photos in their review emails and on their website. Since offering the option to submit photos two years ago, Rockler has received 7,500 pictures. And as Scott mentioned previously, the ideal place to put these submitted photos is near the top of the product description pages. This integral piece of their marketing strategy has created an incredibly engaged digital community.

In fact, they have had so many photos submitted of completed customer projects, that they started using these pictures on many other pages outside of just the product description pages.

Rockler encourages shoppers to engage with these pictures anywhere on their site and allows them to purchase the items featured in a completed project by clicking the photo. “The photo shows the shopper the review caption and what product was associated with the images, so they can easily buy the product,” says Scott.

These visual reviews work much better than trying to tag content from Instagram or other social platforms. Because the image is submitted as part of the review process, there is no need to have to connect the dots. Plus, the review submission process handles user permissions automatically.

These were just a few examples of how Rockler incorporates CGC into their successful 3 C strategy, but we learned so much more. To view the presentation in its entirety, click here. And we hope you take these tips and put them to good use in your own eCommerce strategy!

Watch the Webinar Now


Completely Customizable Content Tagging

September 27, 2018 by Sven Tarantik

When it comes to TurnTo content tagging, the possibilities are endless.

The use of keyword taxonomies predates computers, but content tagging is best known today for its role in enabling easy informal search and classification for photo sharing, blogging, and social media (hashtags, anyone?). Behind the scenes, tags are used similarly in content management systems and in the expanding field of data sciences.

While TurnTo’s customer content collection suite isn’t built around cluttering up your social feeds with hashtags, we offer content tagging as a powerful moderation and reporting tool for brands and retailers.

Traditional Ratings & Reviews platforms offer a limited set of “rejection codes” that allow moderators to mark the reason why they acted to hide or publish a review for reporting purposes. We identified an opportunity to create something better, providing customers with a completely customizable tagging taxonomy that they can be tailored to automate their moderation workflows, create nuanced internal reporting and sentiment analysis, and curate the promotion of customer content.

TurnTo clients can still use tagging for routine moderation with more customized labels, but most inventive is the way our clients use tagging for flexible content curation to maximize the value of the content they are collecting in their marketing and merchandising strategies.

For example, Bob’s Red Mill moderates their Checkout Comments™ for “standout” content and tags them as such.  The tagged content is displayed on Bob’s homepage using a TurnTo widget. This shows shoppers trending products and allows them to read the most enthusiastic, detailed, or helpful comments.

In this instance, Bob’s Red Mill utilizes content tagging in conjunction with Checkout Comments. When shoppers make a purchase, they are asked to provide feedback about why they chose the products they did. They may say, “because it’s a gluten-free product”, or that they bought the product “to make a pizza crust”, or they may exclaim, it’s “The best tasting steel-cut oats I’ve ever had”. Comments like these are constantly rolling in as customers complete their purchases. Moderators review and selectively tag one or more with a content tag to indicate that the content is highly promotable for their product and brand. Once the tag is in place, TurnTo’s ‘Why did you choose this?’ widgets can be configured to only show content with that tag.

TurnTo clients can use content tagging to create campaign-specific promotions too.  And as the holidays are quickly approaching, gift giving is top of mind.  Our clients can use content tagging in seasonal campaigns, using tags like “holiday”, or automatically apply tags based on terms like “gift”, and “present”.  Then, the tagged holiday content can feed on-site TurnTo widgets, enhancing the shopping experience.  It can be used for a category specific photo gallery that features all of the tagged pictures.  Or the customer-generated content can be made into a landing page full of campaign-related items.  Shoppers can then purchase directly from the curated content.

Graph: Top 10 Tags by Number of Comments

Source: TurnTo reporting for Bob’s Red Mill

Not only are content tags great for marketing materials, but the tags also act as insightful metadata. Clients can compile reports of content that was tagged based on recurring keywords in reviews and find out what the average star rating was of the reviews with those tags.  The data can make the connection between how fond people are of a particular product (star rating) and who they are purchasing it for (e.g., tag “Mom”, tag “Holiday”).  This is again helpful to market to that audience better and to understand who is purchasing which products.

Tagging possibilities are limitless.  TurnTo is unique in giving clients full reign to create subjective tags that apply to both written AND visual reviews. With TurnTo tagging, eCommerce teams can quickly and easily automate, organize, and curate content to keep shoppers engaged and stay at the forefront of shopping experiences.


Got some new ideas but feel limited by your current platform?

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Video: Case Study with Bob’s Red Mill

September 21, 2018 by Belinda Blakley

A presentation by Kevin Irish, Bob’s Red Mill at 2018:

Kevin Irish explains how he developed a marketing strategy of customer-generated content through real accounts of how Bob’s Red Mill changed lives forever. Check out the video below to see what they learned about building an exceptional customer experience and how they more than tripled their customer-generated content in less than a year.



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Soon to Debut at TurnTo

August 15, 2018 by Sven Tarantik

We’re getting ready to release a new-and-improved platform packed full of fast, fresh features!  Our Version 5 software will be released in the next few weeks. We took feedback from our valued customers on what they want and need in order to gather and display the best customer-generated content.  Our product team has gone beyond finding easy solutions to common concerns and have created a platform that allows customers to re-imagine the future of ratings and reviews software.

We know ease of use for your customer and your team is a top priority when choosing eCommerce software, so our new platform will allow non-developers to create different designs for all of their product categories.  Additionally, customers have full transparency into how their customer content strategy is actually performing by testing alternate layouts.

The drag-and-drop functionality is simple, and our customers will love how fast it functions on their site.

Your customers don’t have time to spare, so neither do you.

We chose the lightest javascript framework to deliver the fastest user experience for our customers.  They pick the exact items they need for their page and we deliver only that code.  This eliminates any and all frustration with slow site performance.  Increasing the speed of performance leads to happier, loyal customers—and more revenue!

“Our previous platform provided the best performance among our peers, but with Version 5, we went even farther by reducing the footprint to a third of the size,” says John Swords, Chief Product Officer.

Stay tuned for more details about our new platform, we’ll be rolling them out soon!

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An oldie, but a goodie!

July 31, 2018 by Sven Tarantik

A spotlight on a great product, Community Q&A.

Community Q&A, which is one of our first products and a TurnTo original uses an ‘active outreach’ model that delivers fast answers to shoppers’ questions from peers and experts.

What is it?

Q&A tends to differ amongst companies, but TurnTo’s Community Q&A keeps in mind our customers’ customer. Which is a mouthful, but let’s go a little further.

Companies have limited space on their product description pages.  And it’s hard to include every piece of vital information.  But if the customer is looking for an answer to something that is not explicit, they should be able to find it.

What better way to secure a sale than to give customers every answer they’re looking for?

Q&A lives on the product description page and operates by using search-friendly content, which populates instant answers to questions as customers start typing them.

An interesting quirk that we’ve found is that customers type in questions as if they’re “googling” something.  The organic or natural searchability is something an SEO team could only ever dream of. Our clients are using these stored questions from their TurnTo platform and repurposing them in their marketing down the road. A true win for everyone!

The library is just one place where answers are pulled from when a customer has a question.  The answers are also taken from the product’s Ratings and Reviews and real customers who have already purchased the item.

If the answer is not found amongst these different sources, then it is either submitted to an “expert” of the company’s choosing or it is emailed to a group of customers who have already purchased the item.  Our software is completely customizable—so if you only want product experts to answer questions from your prospective customers—then the platform can function in a way to do just that.

And if the question is routed to a previous customer, advanced logic ensures the question is sent to the right person.   Through our automated moderation feature, these questions are routed in less than 30 seconds and are approved just as fast.  Typically, customers have an answer within an hour!

Here’s how it works:

Customer user experience is at the heart of our platform. Community Q&A generates a community of “fans,” and they wouldn’t be fans if it wasn’t so simple.  When your customer feels supported in their purchases – they’re more likely to return.

Keep your biggest fans happy!

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Video: Case Study with Tarte Cosmetics

July 9, 2018 by Belinda Blakley

Kellen Fitzgerald recently spoke at Salesforce Connections in Chicago about how Tarte Cosmetics used TurnTo to create a community of shoppers—or “tartelettes” as they’re called. These are Tarte cosmetic advocates who are passionate “fans”, but also act as their most powerful acquisition tool. Watch the video below to learn how over 625K orders were influenced by customer-generated content in the past eight months:



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Video: Case Study with Jenson USA

June 28, 2018 by Belinda Blakley

David Blades of Jenson USA makes the case for customer-generated content, and discusses how the TurnTo platform helped them achieve their goals of creating a customer community, increasing time on site, and, ultimately, elevating conversion rates. Hear how Jenson USA increased their review content by 500% and reached their goals in the video below:



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The End of an Open Road: Why Open Syndication Matters for eCommerce

June 21, 2018 by Sven Tarantik

As we are nearing July 3rd, multiple businesses are preparing themselves for the end of access to a syndication network they have relied on for years.

For many – this change means losing access to the network, syndication fees, and diminishing SEO performance site-wide.

We’d like to educate those businesses that will become the casualties of closed syndication networks through case studies that display the effects over the next 3, 6 and 9 months.

We can observe the juxtaposition between open and closed syndication as it effects two large beauty retailers whose merchandise overlaps.  Retailer A will keep their open syndication network while Retailer B will not.

Both retailers sell Waterproof Mascara #62.  Retailer A features Waterproof Mascara #62 with a 5-star rating based on 37 different reviews.  Retailer B features Waterproof Mascara #62 with a 3-star rating and has only received 9 reviews.

Due to Retailer B’s closed network restraints – they’re feeling the decline of ratings and reviews.   The limited number of submissions will also result in an overall lower rating per product.

The number of reviews that a product has on any given site is directly correlated to the likelihood of a customer converting and purchasing that product.    The more reviews, the better the rating, the likelier the customer is to convert or buy. TurnTo has found that even if the product has the same rating on both sites (Retailer A & B) – the customer is more likely to buy from the site that has generated a larger quantity of reviews, in this case, Retailer A.

“When asked, 81% of shoppers would pay more for a product that has ratings and reviews vs. another product that is cheaper or offers a promotion.”

—”Hearing the Voice of the Consumer”, 2017

Unfortunately for Retailer B – this is not an isolated occurrence.  In fact, it will impact their business going forward.  Retailer B will see a decline in overall commerce on their site because customers will flock towards Retailer A as they accumulate a greater number of reviews.  It’s a slippery slope for Retailer B to not amend their closed syndication network.

Wouldn’t you pick the item that has a 5-star rating with more reviews versus a 3-star rating with less?

We want to hear from you – what are your plans for open syndication?


Even though the clock is ticking – you’re not out of time just yet!  Eliminate syndication worry, and increase your number of reviews by exploring TurnTo’s open syndication network that does not stop at innovation…

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Spy Optic and CGC in the Spotlight at IRCE

June 15, 2018 by Sven Tarantik

We just wrapped up a great events season with IRCE and Salesforce Connections in Chicago. We were fortunate to have several partners speaking at the events and we’re happy to share their great presentations with you. The first comes from Ben Johnson of Spy Optic, who speaks about how they used CGC to boost their sales—at an even higher rate than discounts! Check out how in the 10-minute video below.



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Tombow Shares Tips on CGC at Magento Imagine

April 27, 2018 by Sven Tarantik

We just returned from a great week at Magento Imagine 2018! One of the highlights was hearing Brittany Graham of Tombow share her story on how they leverage customer generated content. We couldn’t be more thrilled about our relationship with Tombow, what a great story!

Check out the video below:


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TurnTo CEO George Eberstadt responds to Bazaarvoice CEO Gene Austin’s blog post on open syndication

January 9, 2018 by George Eberstadt

Last Wednesday, Gene Austin, CEO of Bazaarvoice, published a discussion of the coming end of the Justice Department-mandated syndication relationship between Bazaarvoice and PowerReviews, on July 2, 2018.  As he stated, “Unless something changes, as of July 3rd, Bazaarvoice will no longer be required to accept content from PowerReviews brands for syndication to retailers in the Bazaarvoice Network.”

What does this mean for brands? Review syndication is about to get a lot more expensive.

Bazaarvoice charges brands to syndicate their product reviews to merchant sites in the Bazaarvoice network, whether the brand uses the Bazaarvoice platform for review collection or a third-party platform.  For the last 2.5 years, PowerReviews brand customers have been able to get around these fees because of the Justice Department decree which gave them very low cost access to the Bazaarvoice syndication network.  Now, PowerReviews brand customers are going to have to start paying the network access fees that Bazaarvoice demands, at best, or will lose access to the Bazaarvoice network entirely, at worst.  And since brands using the Bazaarvoice platform will no longer be able to threaten a switch to PowerReviews to avoid the network access fees, they are likely to see their syndication fees rise, too.

Anticipating this, TurnTo built a partnership with Bazaarvoice based on a realistic view of their business model.  This partnership enables brands to choose the reviews platform that best meets their needs and know they can still access the Bazaarvoice syndication network even if their platform choice is TurnTo.  Our brand customers make their own deal with Bazaarvoice regarding the network access fee, and we work directly with Bazaarvoice to ensure the data transfers run smoothly.  It’s a truism that partnerships only work when everyone wins, and we recognized a year ago that meant letting Bazaarvoice control access to their merchant network.  As a result, as of today, TurnTo is the only 3rd party product reviews platform that can assure brands ongoing access to the Bazaarvoice syndication network.

For merchants, the implications are different.  The consequences are going to be about reach rather than cost.

As the cost to brands to syndicate their reviews goes up, or if cross-platform access between Bazaarvoice and PowerReviews is cut off entirely, the number of brands whose reviews are available for syndication on either platform will go down.  Even if cross-platform syndication remains available, rising network access fees will be bad for the relationships between merchants and their vendors.  After all, why should brands have to pay a “network access fee” to a merchant’s reviews platform at all?  The real estate on the merchant’s product pages belongs to the merchant!  If brands pay anything for syndication, it should be a co-op fee to the merchant, not an access fee to the reviews platform.

With this philosophy in mind, TurnTo has developed a radically different syndication offering for merchants.  It enables merchants to syndicate in product reviews from any brand, regardless of their technology platform.  That includes brands that use reviews platforms other than Bazaarvoice and PowerReviews.  And there are no charges (!) for this service to either the merchant or the brands.  By removing both the cost and the technology limitations to syndication, TurnTo enables merchants to access the largest possible network of brand sources.  In one case, a merchant’s syndication network more than doubled after they switched from the Bazaarvoice/PowerReviews network to TurnTo.  TurnTo’s approach also eliminates any risk to merchants that their syndication network will be compromised in the future by spats between the technology platforms.

Like Gene, I am thrilled with the strength of our syndication offerings as we enter 2018.  For brands, we are the only alternative to the Bazaarvoice platform that can offer access to the full Bazaarvoice syndication network without a cloud of uncertainty.  And for merchants, we offer unrivaled syndication reach and an unrivaled value.  I thank Bazaarvoice for their partnership and look forward to working with them in 2018 as the market returns to a more normal competitive environment.  And I invite brands and merchants that would like to learn more about the syndication alternatives available to them to contact us.