July 10, 2019 by Rahul Chadha
Although probably best known as the world’s favorite camera store, specialist retailer Adorama also sells a wide assortment of products, including professional video and audio gear, consumer electronics, home office equipment, and mobile computing products.
Adorama’s customer base consists of professional photographers and videographers, but also includes some pretty serious amateur ones as well. These shoppers spend hours closely researching the technical specifications of the types of products in Adorama’s catalog.
Adorama understands the meaning of customer-centric. Their NYC store, for example, has developed a reputation for providing one-on-one customer service from a staff of highly knowledgeable—but still friendly and approachable—experts.
“Shoppers looking for photography equipment and other consumer electronics have a slew of options to choose from,” said Heather Nichols, Adorama’s pro audio and pro video digital merchandiser. “Part of how Adorama puts itself ahead of the competition is by giving customers easy access to expertise about our products through our sales associates.”
Naturally, the company wanted to replicate its superb in-store customer experience on its website.
Nichols said a key element of that strategy was to increase the number of reviews available to shoppers on its site. That way its customers could tap into the collective wisdom of one of the most trusted sources of information available—other shoppers.
“Our customers tend to do a lot of research because they want to make sure an item fits their specific needs, especially because a lot of our products are so technical,” said Nichols. “A lot of people use reviews to make a final decision on their purchase.”
That’s where TurnTo came in.
The Solution – Syndicated Reviews
Through its Open Review Syndication service, TurnTo quickly increased the number of product reviews on Adorama’s site. While some Customer-Generated Content vendors charge steep fees for syndication, TurnTo’s Syndication service is offered at no additional charge for either retailers or brands, ensuring that the maximum number of brands participate.
With TurnTo Syndication, reviews collected by some of the biggest brands in the consumer electronics vertical—like Sony, HP, Canon, and Nikon—also displayed on Adorama’s online storefront. As a result, Adorama saw a 294% spike in the number of reviews displayed on its site.
Getting more reviews has a direct, positive impact on conversion rates. Research from Northwestern University’s Spiegel Center shows that a product with just five reviews was 270% more likely to be purchased than a product with no reviews.
TurnTo Syndication also improved Adorama’s coverage rate—the percentage of products in the company’s catalog that have at least one review.
For example, the coverage rate for HP products on Adorama’s site more than doubled once syndicated reviews were included.
In addition, the average number of ratings per HP product also saw a boost with TurnTo Syndication, increasing by more than 12x. That was especially helpful for Adorama, since more reviews provide social proof for a purchase, helping to convert shoppers to buyers.
Free Syndication for Brands
Adorama’s brand partners were able to participate in TurnTo’s Open Review Syndication at no cost, even if they used another platform to collect and manage Customer-Generated Content on their own site. The brands only needed to give TurnTo permission to syndicate their reviews to the retailers in the TurnTo network.
The brands that syndicated their content through TurnTo also received a number of benefits, including a better digital presence, improved sell-through value, and search engine optimization (SEO) credit.
The Bottom Line
Adorama wanted to bulk up the Customer-Generated Content featured on its online store to help its customers get the information they were looking for when researching products. With TurnTo Review Syndication, Adorama quickly increased the number of product reviews on its site by nearly 300%.
TurnTo is the customer content solution for online retailers and the brands that sell through them. With a unique suite of four innovative products that work beautifully together – Ratings & Reviews, Community Q&A, Visual Reviews, and Checkout Comments – TurnTo produces more content of more different types, delivering greater conversion lift, better SEO, and deeper merchandising insights.
Adorama is the world’s only full-service destination for photo, video and electronics. We’re more than a camera store – we offer the best selection and prices on professional photography and video gear, pro-audio, and consumer electronics such as home theaters, mobile computing, home office equipment and more.
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September 27, 2011 by George Eberstadt
[For a downloadable version of this study, click here.]
To date, Q&A on ecommerce sites has been primarily a tag-along application to customer reviews (provided by vendors that specialize in customer reviews). This approach results in a Q&A model that’s more like customer reviews than a true social experience between shoppers and customers, missing the benefits that a truly social approach to ecommerce Q&A provides.
The key to Social Q&A is that shopper questions should reliably and quickly get answered by real customers, and participants should have the ability to go back-and-forth beyond the initial question, if they choose to. If shopper questions receive customer answers only rarely or after an extended period, the shopper is disappointed and the store has missed the chance to provide a fast reminder to the shopper about the purchase she was considering. Further, getting past customers to share their experience with real shoppers is a great way for stores to keep their relationships with the customer base fresh. The rise of social networks has conditioned people to expect a high level of interactivity from social applications – so if a Q&A tool isn’t providing that, it’s not really Social.
On many online stores’ Q&A systems, we’ve observed that most answers come from store staff. That can be an OK supplement to social answers (especially if the staff are really experts), but the store may be better off directing those questions to a live chat or phone line so the staff can interact with the shopper in real time. And if a shopper wants to know something subjective – like how the product held up after 3 months, or how it felt, or just if it’s really as fabulous as they hope it is(!) – they may only want an answer from someone like them who really bought the item. A Q&A system that relies heavily on staff answers also isn’t really Social.
That’s why TurnTo created an approach to Q&A for ecommerce that reliably provides a true Social experience – multiple, fast answers from real purchasers with continuing back-and-forth dialog. To measure the difference between the TurnTo approach and that provided by the leading customer reviews vendors, Bazaarvoice and PowerReviews, we conducted a simple test. We asked 16 shopper questions on a range of sites with Q&A powered by TurnTo and these other vendors, and we tracked how long it took for the answers to arrive. Here are the aggregated results:
Methodology: In our test design, we tried to keep the playing field level. We asked general questions that could easily be answered by anyone with experience with the product. We tried to ask the identical question about identical products wherever possible. Where not possible we tried to pick featured items on the Bazaarvoice and PowerReviews sites likely to have high traffic and have been purchased many times (no new arrivals items were used). We tried to pick sites where the Bazaarvoice and PowerReviews Q&A tools were implemented in a highly visible way on the page. That meant that the PowerReviews and Bazaarvoice sites were not always the largest in each vertical (in particular, in the photo gear category), but more often than not, the Bazaarvoice and PowerReviews sites had far more traffic than the TurnTo sites, and they did so in aggregate. We checked the item page where each question was asked at exactly the specified intervals and counted posted answers. We also provided our email address with each question asked and counted answers received by email. (The Bazaarvoice and PowerReviews stores often emailed answers well before those answers appeared on the sites, in some cases even before the questions appeared on the sites.) None of the sites were alerted in any way about this test. All questions were submitted on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 between 9am and 11am eastern time. Here were the test sites that we used:
On each site, we asked 4 questions. So in total, we asked 16 questions per vendor. Here are the details of the answers received, by individual site. (All numbers are for social answers – answers from customers – except those in parentheses, which are answers from store staff.)
Staff answers: We also tracked answers from store staff. These are shown in parentheses in the table above. At the end of the two week test period, the questions on PowerReviews sites received a total of 10 staff answers vs 7 social answers. The questions on Bazaarvoice sites received a total of 5 staff answers vs 9 social answers. No staff answers were received on the TurnTo sites – note that 15 out of 16 questions on TurnTo sites received at least 1 social answer within 24 hours.
We encourage you to try this test for yourself.
The raw data: Here are the urls for all the item pages for all questions in the test. The asker is “Andrew P”, “Andrew RP” or “Anonymous” – also look for a submit date of August 10th where that is shown. Note that on the Bazaarvoice and PowerReviews sites, we counted answers received by email, even though some of those answers – in some cases, even the questions – were not posted on the site by the end of the test period.
Sierra Trading Post (PowerReviews)
Johnston & Murphy (PowerReviews)
Abes of Maine (PowerReviews)
Bass Pro Shop (Bazaarvoice)
Cameras Direct (Bazaarvoice)
Bazaarvoice is a registered trademark of Bazaarvoice, Inc.PowerReviews is a registered trademark of PowerReviews, Inc.
July 26, 2011 by John Swords
We’re thrilled to welcome Adorama to the TurnTo Network. See the press release here. Adorama is one of the leading online photo gear specialists. Though they apparently chose to skip the IR rankings in the most recent version, they were previously ranked as high as #381.
In their first full month using the TurnTo social Q&A product, Ask Owners, Adorama has seen a remarkably high engagement rate from their customer base. Questions about popular items received an average of 4.3 social answers each, with the first of those reaching the asking customer in about an hour. The answer rate on question emails sent to past purchasers was 9%, bringing a large number of past customers back to the Adorama site and providing valuable user-generated content for future visitors and for SEO.
While we’re delighted at the success Adorama is having with Ask Owners, we think the real significance here is bigger than just: further evidence that “TurnTo works”. The real significance is this: social Q&A for ecommerce is no longer just a tag-along application to customer reviews; social Q&A is now emerging as its own category of ecommerce tool. Leading online merchants are starting to take a top-down approach to defining what they want from social Q&A – and it looks different from what their customer reviews vendors have been offering them.
Before they chose TurnTo, Adorama did a competitive evaluation of alternative Q&A tools. Presumably it would have been convenient for them to work with the product from their customer reviews provider. But Adorama didn’t just want the most convenient solution. They wanted an approach designed from the ground up to tap into the enthusiasm, expertise, and good will of their customer base. In short, the wanted a truly social approach to Q&A.
If Adorama were the only online merchant we were hearing this from, we might figure it was an exception. But they’re not. Unlike 2010, when most merchants adopting Q&A were just reacting to vendor push (hey, including ours), we now talk to many who have already developed specs and RFQs with demanding requirements. In particular, they want Q&A to be a key part of their Social strategy, not just a customer support tool. They see that, used right, Q&A enables shoppers to get in touch directly with past customers that can help them make smart purchase choices. In short, they understand that with real social Q&A, customers become salespeople for them in the best sense of the word; not paid advocates, but trusted advisors. And while they recognize that it’s simple to just accept what their reviews vendor offers, those that want to achieve this vision are looking for true best-in-breed providers – ie they are looking elsewhere.
And that is not just a nice vendor success story, it’s a sea change!
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For more details, check out the formal announcement in our Press Room.