Press Release

TurnTo Launches Ask Owners – the First Social Q & A Application to Harness Online Stores’ Entire Customer Base

Enables retailers to build direct dialog between shoppers and customers who really bought the products they are considering, improving sales, SEO, and customer retention

New York, NY – TurnTo Networks, a leader in social commerce, today launched the newest addition to its Social Commerce Suite – “Ask Owners”.  TurnTo Ask Owners is the first social question-and-answer application for online stores that reliably gets shopper questions answered by real customers.  Other shopping Q&A systems function more like bulletin boards – questions are posted and often go unanswered.  But Ask Owners emails a shopper’s question to customers who actually bought the item the shopper is considering, generating multiple, fast, highly credible responses.

Ask Owners furthers TurnTo’s mission of unlocking the marketing value hidden in a store’s customer base by building direct connections between shoppers and past customers.  Ask Owners joins two other products in TurnTo’s Social Commerce Suite.  “Social Merchandising” tells shoppers which of their friends (from Facebook and their address books) are customers of the store, so shoppers can reach out to get the most trusted advice available – advice from friends.  “Purchase Sharing” captures buyers’ good will right at the point of purchase with the question “Why did you choose this?” and makes those answers visible to shoppers throughout the merchant site.

Ask Owners has been in trials on a dozen merchant sites since November.  These sites span a broad range of verticals: home furnishings, electronics, jewelry, vitamins and supplements, and entertainment.  Key performance measures from the trial on these sites include:

  • 6% answer rate on question emails to past customers
  • An average of 3 social answers for each question asked
  • Most questions receive their first social answer in under 4 hours

Merchants already using Ask Owners say the system has many benefits.

First, the large volume of user content generated by the Ask Owners system provides a valuable research tool for shoppers that drives conversion while also delivering significant SEO benefits.

  • Across all stores using TurnTo, visitors who interact with the TurnTo system convert (buy) at rates between 2 and 7 times the rate of shoppers who don’t.
  • On top sites, over 30% of all purchases come from shoppers who interacted with TurnTo before placing their order.
  • Many merchants say that the TurnTo system produces a greater volume of user-generated content than their customer reviews system.

Second, stores are getting product insight from the Q&A exchanges that are directly affecting their merchandising strategies.

Jeff King, CEO of ClubFurniture.com said, “We noticed questions on the Lila Settee asking if it would work well at a dining table and answers saying that the look was just right but that it was too low.  In response, we plan to add a model with a similar style that’s sized and marketed as a dining table settee.”

Au-Co Mai, CEO of Emitations.com explained, “We noticed shoppers asking whether a particular earring was meant for pierced ears because the photo didn’t show the earing post.  So we are redoing the photography on that item to make it clear.  That’s pre-purchase insight about the shopper experience on our site that we would not have gotten from a customer review.”

Third, Ask Owners serves as a powerful retention marketing tool.  With an average response rate of 6% on question emails, stores in the trial are bringing significant numbers of past shoppers back to the store to provide answers, thereby refreshing the relationship and opening the possibility of an impulse purchase.

“As great as Facebook Like is for building up a fan base, it is still very much a one way conversation,” said Jimmy Weng, CEO of ePartyUnlimited.com.  “Ask Owners enabled us to create a two way conversation between shoppers and existing customers to increase visitor engagement and drive sales.”

Like the rest of TurnTo’s Social Commerce Suite, Ask Owners takes less than a day to fully implement.  It is backed up by a robust moderation system and is designed to run with minimal impact on page load times.  For case studies, please visit: https://www.turntonetworks.com/resources/case-studies.

About TurnTo

TurnTo provides Social Commerce applications for online merchants.  TurnTo enables online stores to turn their entire customer base into references for friends and other shoppers, driving higher conversion rates, average order values, and repeat purchases.  TurnTo provides a powerful way to take advantage of the Facebook Graph API and also supports other top social networks and email systems.  Internet Retailer 500 companies, including Tabcom (Dog.com), CompUPlus, and Jomashop, use TurnTo’s Social Commerce Suite to convert visitors into buyers.  TurnTo is a white-labeled, SaaS offering that can be integrated in a few hours. More information about TurnTo and its partner sites is available at www.turntonetworks.com.