December 3, 2014 by John Swords
To provide some more context, I sat down with our CEO to discuss how this new product came about.
Heather: TurnTo is well known for providing the top-performing community-powered Q&A solution for eCommerce. Why branch out to Ratings & Reviews?
George: Well, we resisted for a long time! One reason we’ve been able to build up such a lead on the Q&A side is focus. But 4 things changed our minds. I’ll go through them:
- First, some businesses wanted to adopt our Q&A without increasing their vendor count. Our Q&A has always been targeted at businesses that take a best-of-breed approach to vendors; but with integrated Ratings & Reviews we can meet the needs of those who prefer suite providers, too.
- Second, we identified some very exciting ways to integrate the two products to deliver more value than either can alone.
- Third, we realized that all of the enterprise-grade infrastructure we built for Q&A could be leveraged by our Ratings & Reviews product, enabling us to rapidly build out the application and launch with a full enterprise-ready feature set.
- And finally, our customer research revealed some pretty wide-spread dissatisfaction with the existing choices and a strong demand for a better option.
Heather: What was the overall philosophy behind the design of TurnTo’s Ratings & Reviews product?
George: We spent a lot of time talking with both current customers and prospects to understand what they wanted in a Ratings & Reviews product, and the feedback was very consistent: all the important functions that have been proven to work, beautifully executed, on an enterprise-grade platform, at an affordable price. We also heard consistent requests to stay away from bells and whistles that don’t add value and clutter up the user experience or make the system management difficult just to appear different. The architect Mies van der Rohe was famous for saying “God is in the details”, by which he meant creativity doesn’t necessarily require wild gestures – there’s plenty of opportunity for innovation in just honing an idea until it’s really right. I’d say that was the philosophy guiding us here.
Heather: OK, so there’s nothing radically different about TurnTo’s Ratings & Reviews product, but are there still some innovations you’d like to point out?
George: At the application level, one nice touch is that the “purchaser credential” (like the Verified Buyer badge) provides an approximate date of purchase. That increases the credibility of the review and also enables the shopper to see how much experience the reviewer has had with the product. We also offer state-of-the-art mobile capabilities – responsive design right out of the box and phone-optimized UX for review collection. Plus, as I mentioned, we’ve found some very valuable new ways to integrate Ratings & Reviews with Q&A. For example, when a shopper enters a question, our Instant Answers feature now searches the Ratings & Reviews for relevant information (as well as the existing Q&A dialog and the store’s knowledge base). Also, the please-review-your-purchase email can now include an offer for customers to get help with their recent purchase from others who already own the item. That turns Q&A into a post-purchase support tool; and by coupling it to the review solicitation, stores can head off potential negative reviews and turn them into positive ones.
Heather: How has the market received TurnTo’s Ratings & Reviews so far?
George: The reception has been great. Many of our existing Q&A customers have already or are in the process of switching their reviews over to us, too. Many of our new customers are signing up for both reviews and Q&A together. And we’ve even got a some new customers who are starting with our Ratings & Reviews and planning to add Q&A later. And that’s all before we’ve really started to market this new product.
Heather: Does this mean TurnTo is no longer a “Q&A first” company?
George: No, we’re still Q&A-first. We expect that online business who are satisfied with the current reviews providers will still come to us for best-of-breed community-powered Q&A. It’s already the industry leader, and we have many big enhancements coming in 2015. But when you look the whole package of our Ratings & Reviews offering – the product itself, TurnTo’s outstanding support, affordability, integration with our industry-leading Q&A, and our extraordinary roadmap – it compares very favorably to the existing alternatives.
March 27, 2012 by George Eberstadt
Dell just relaunched their community for IT professionals, rebranding it from AppDeploy to ITNinja, and changing the interaction model from forum to Q&A. This follows the Q&A models used in other IT communities like Spiceworks and StackOverflow. It’s a subtle but important change. A lot of forum discussion takes the form of Q&A anyway, but adding the formal structure of Q&A has advantages.
The core difference is this: a person asking a question is generally seeking answers, while a person making a comment is often seeking an audience. The person seeking an audience tends to have a more “selfish” set of motivations, like establishing a reputation or promoting an agenda. Those goals are often better served through vehicles like blogs where the commenter has more control over how their contributions are presented, and where their posts can be easily seen in aggregate. Hybrid community/blogs where a newsfeed spans across posters but individuals’ profiles are still prominent (like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr) satisfy the goals of commenters particularly well (thus the success of these platforms – there are a lot of commenters out there!). On the other hand, commenters who participate in forums tend to be motivated more by the desire to be helpful than by the goal of self promotion, and if your goal is to be helpful, answering questions is a great way to do it! So, community forums tend to attract answer-seekers and answer-providers, making Q&A the natural framework.
Of course, the distinction isn’t black-and-white, but Dell’s decision to switch from a forum model to a Q&A model is further evidence that Q&A is gradually taking over from forums as the interaction model for communities.
January 16, 2012 by John Swords
Congratulations to InkJetSuperStore for winning the Social Media Marketing category of Retail TouchPoints’ Customer Engagement Awards 2012!
You can read Retail TouchPoint’s article here and download the complete Customer Awards Report from there, but in a nutshell it was through a nomination process, the winners were selected based on, but not limited to, four specific criteria:
- Unique shopping/promotional offerings
- Customer engagement strategies
- Customer analysis
- Technology innovation
Using the TurnTo technology, InkJetSuperStore has increased conversion, AOV, and loyalty. Here are some of the results from the past couple of months.
- Shoppers who asked questions or read Q&A from others converted at a rate 80% higher than those who didn’t – an especially significant lift since Inkjet Superstore is a replenishment business with a high repeat customer rate and a very high conversion rate.
- The average order value of shoppers who interacted with TurnTo was 14% higher than the AOV of those who don’t.
- 16% of all purchasers answered the question “Why did you choose this item?” following check-out (through the TurnTo Purchase Sharing function).
You can see from the complete list of winners below, InkJetSuperStore is sitting in good company:
- Casual Male Retail Group (CMRG)
- David’s Bridal
- Foot Locker
- Hot Topic
- Inkjet Superstore
- Rutter’s Farm Stores
- Tasti D-Lite
- Urban Outfitters
And if winning the award was not exciting enough for InkJetSuperStore and TurnTo, George and I were at the Retail TouchPoints booth @ NRF on Monday as he accepted the award on behalf of ILan Douek, President of InkJetSuperStore, as Ilan was unable to attend.
Over here we like to say “When you connect your shoppers to your customers, good things happen!” and apparently that not only means conversion, loyalty and SEO for our customers, but now includes industry recognition…again, congratulations to InkJetSuperStore!
To learn how TurnTo can improve the metrics that mean the most to you and your business, give us a shout @ 908.752.9658 or email email@example.com (yes, a shameless plug from me).
April 1, 2011 by George Eberstadt
Here’s the full video from our webinar on Tuesday with our partner and leading Yahoo Store design and development shop FastPivot. It’s about an hour.