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. Adorama Rental Co also rents and supports the full range of still and motion cameras (including lenses & accessories), lighting, and grip equipment.
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June 26, 2019 by Rahul Chadha
One of the constant challenges eCommerce sites face is how to draw new customers while keeping a lid on expenses. It’s the reason that eCommerce VPs keep such a close eye on their customer acquisition costs (CACs)—a key metric for any online store.
Some new data suggests there’s a surprisingly low-tech way for online retailers to drive new shoppers to their sites. It’s also pretty old school. It’s word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing.
Word of Mouth Beats Search for Discoverability
A new poll from Yes Marketing reveals that a fair number of digital shoppers use their offline personal networks to learn about unfamiliar retailers.
In fact, Yes Marketing found that 45% of online shoppers discovered a new retailer through a recommendation from a friend or family member.1 That was nearly three times the number of shoppers who had stumbled across a new retailer through a Google search.
But retailers should also tread carefully regarding word-of-mouth. Unsurprisingly, a bad reputation can have a harmful effect on your bottom line. Yes Marketing reported that nearly 70% of shoppers were swayed to avoid a retailer after seeing a negative review from family, friends, or news media.
Of course, drumming up some good word-of-mouth around your online store is easier said than done. You need to deliver quality products at a good price, offer a superior user experience, and provide shoppers with top-notch customer service—no small feat.
One way to improve your word-of-mouth marketing? Yes Marketing suggests giving your existing customers a reason to share their satisfaction by providing them with an incentive. That could consist of an exclusive offer, or a discount for those who recruit a new customer on your behalf.
Get Your Digital WOM On
eCommerce sites can also improve their word-of-mouth marketing with some digital strategies. Ratings and reviews, for example, can serve the same purpose as a personal recommendation. And while they might not provide all the benefits as a recommendation from a friend or family member, ratings and reviews perform a key task: providing shoppers with the social proof they need to overcome their hesitation about a purchase.
Yes Marketing noted that almost 20% of online shoppers were influenced by reviews or customer testimonials when considering making a purchase from a new site. And more than a third of shoppers said getting enough product information from a new retailer would help them to build trust.
When done correctly, Customer-Generated Content (CGC) can address those shopper needs.
Yes Marketing also suggested using content from product reviews and other testimonials in advertising campaigns.
It makes perfect sense. Your most satisfied customers are handing you some of the best ad copy you could ever come up with. Take advantage of it.
TurnTo Can Help
It’s helpful to think of your product reviews, customer testimonials and other CGC as a form of digital word-of-mouth marketing.
CGC can help retailers flesh out their product detail pages with information not normally found in a product description, such as fit or durability.
Sometimes those details are all that’s needed to push someone browsing your site into making a purchase.
TurnTo’s products are designed to collect more Customer-Generated Content like Ratings & Reviews and Visual Reviews so shoppers have a surplus of information at their fingertips. And research shows that the more reviews you have, the better.
Want to learn about the latest eCommerce insights on a regular basis?
1 The Retail Shopper’s Journey to Loyalty; Yes Marketing, June 2019
May 29, 2019 by Rahul Chadha
Gathering as much Customer-Generated Content (CGC) as possible can help your eCommerce site in a number of ways. Content like Ratings & Reviews gives shoppers additional product information, provides social proof for a purchase, and improves search engine optimization (SEO).
Research also shows that your customers want as much content as they can get: a study from Salsify found that, on average, people wanted to see 112 reviews per product.
In a guest post for TurnTo partner and eCommerce agency Classy Llama, we broke down 5 key ways that online stores can improve their content collection rates. Here’s an executive summary of our advice:
1. Get your post-purchase email right. If you want more reviews, you have to ask.
2. Ask your customers to review more stuff. It might seem counterintuitive to ask customers to hand over more content right after they’ve submitted a review, but it works.
3. Optimize for mobile. Mobile is eating the world, and if your content collection strategy isn’t taking that into account, you’re missing out.
4. Get the review first, then authenticate. Asking a customer to authenticate before they’ve submitted content only introduces a possible friction point.
5. Go omnichannel. Consider ways to solicit content from offline channels, like receipts or even packaging.
For a more detailed breakdown of these strategies, check out the full post.
Want to find out how TurnTo can help you improve your content collection strategy?
May 2, 2019 by Rahul Chadha
TurnTo Networks has announced the release of its new SpeedFlex™ widget architecture, supporting its full Customer-Generated Content suite of Ratings & Reviews, Community Q&A, Visual Reviews™, and Checkout Comments™. SpeedFlex™ combines the lightest, fastest-loading widget components with a server-side customization model that gives full control over layout and functionality as well as look and feel.
With SpeedFlex™, eCommerce sites no longer face a trade-off between a slow-loading but easy widget implementation, or a fast-loading but time consuming API project. Now, brands and retailers can have the best of both approaches: customer experiences that are uniquely tailored to their brand and product categories, a quick implementation with minimal effort, and fast page loads that improve conversion rates and deliver meaningful search engine optimization (SEO).
An architecture designed for speed
Page load speed is an important factor for conversion rates and for SEO. Making web pages load faster can reduce abandonment rates by 20%. And with its recent “Speed Update,” Google’s search ranking algorithm now privileges fast loading pages, especially on mobile.
Since product reviews, Q&A, and customer-generated photos are some of the heaviest components on eCommerce sites, the speed improvements provided by SpeedFlex™ can make a significant difference to overall site performance.
Unique customer experiences without API work
SpeedFlex™ enables online stores to easily tailor not only look-and-feel but also layout and even functionality without resorting to time-consuming API work. With TurnTo’s unique new architecture, configurations of all aspects of design and information architecture are composed server-side and dynamically loaded to the production environment. Configurable breakpoints ensure optimized display on all device types from a single theme definition. With this approach:
- Changes made to the configuration appear immediately on the site without the need to edit code on the page itself
- A single page type can support multiple design theme variants for A/B testing
- The functions and experience provided to the shopper can vary depending on the category of the product
Bliss sees dramatic performance improvements
When skincare brand Bliss switched to TurnTo and implemented SpeedFlex™ on www.blissworld.com, the file size and load time of their product reviews components decreased to less than half of what they were before.
“We’ve been highly satisfied with our switch to TurnTo,” said Karilyn Anderson, VP of Digital at Bliss. “With TurnTo’s SpeedFlex™ architecture, we were able to easily achieve a highly customized layout and look exactly tailored for our brand, while at the same time significantly improving our site performance.”
“SpeedFlex™ is not only the highest-performance widget platform for enterprise-scale eCommerce sites today, it’s the foundation for our vision of bespoke customer experiences, going forward,” said George Eberstadt, TurnTo’s Founder and CEO, said. “In today’s competitive world, one-size-fits-all is not a winning strategy; brands and stores have to differentiate and deliver unique, compelling experiences. SpeedFlex™ enables the rapid innovation that leads to real business advantage for our customers.”
Want to find out more about how TurnTo can help your business?
April 11, 2019 by Rahul Chadha
Tired of reading clickbait about Millennials’ love of avocado toast? Here’s some good news: GenZ is the next new generation, and over the next few years, people are going to be working hard to figure out this vibrant and dynamic group—the first truly digital native generation.
The boundaries of the US’s youngest generation are still somewhat fuzzy, but the Pew Research Center defines Gen Z as those born in 1997 or later.1
What sets Gen Z apart from its predecessors? For starters, it’s the most racially and ethnically diverse generation the US has ever seen—a group with even greater diversity than Millennials, according to Pew.
Gen Z Has Truly Digital-First Media Habits
It also consumes media in a fundamentally different way than any of its forebears. The oldest Gen Zers were only 10 years old when Apple released the first iPhone; smartphones are likely their default method for heading online.
The Center for Generational Kinetics reports that 95% of Gen Zers had a smartphone in 2018. Their survey also revealed that 61% of Gen Zers spent at least five hours on their smartphone per day, and that more than one-quarter spent a daily average of 10 hours or more with the devices.2
With so much of their time spent on smartphones, legacy media channels like TV hold significantly less sway over them than older generations. That means marketers can have a tough time reaching them at scale through more traditional advertising methods.
Teens and the Power of Recommendations and Reviews
Those media habits could make Gen Z a tough nut for online merchants to crack. But some new research from Social Media Link found that there are still some things that do exert a lot of influence over their purchase decisions: recommendations and reviews.3
According to the company’s survey, nearly all Gen Zers (96%) said they often read recommendations or reviews for products they were thinking about buying.
These young shoppers also relied heavily on their personal networks for guidance on purchase decisions. 80% of teens looked to friends and family for recommendations about new products and brands, making it their No. 1 source for those types of endorsements.
But online reviews were almost as popular with Gen Zers, with nearly eight in 10 accessing them for insights on potential purchases and brands. In fact, reviews were a bigger influence on their purchase decisions than social media, influencers, and even ads.
Social Media Link also found that these young shoppers aren’t just likely to read product reviews. They’re also highly predisposed to writing them as well. More than 90% of Gen Zers wrote product reviews at least some of the time, and more than a quarter wrote one for every product or service they used.
To sum up the research:
- 96% of Gen Zers often read ratings and reviews about things they’re thinking about buying.
- Members of the generation tend to look first to friends and family for product recommendations, but online reviews are a close second.
- Gen Zers are not just reading reviews; more than 9 in 10 also write them for at least some purchases
- Gen Z spends substantially more time on smartphones than with older media platforms like TV
To Reach Gen Z, Think Mobile-First
Just like our entire product suite, Ratings & Reviews is mobile-first and uses responsive design principles to make reviews submitted on a smartphone frictionless. To be clear, we’re not just making things look pretty on mobile devices. We’re changing the way content is collected based on smartphone users’ behavior.
It’s an approach that makes things as easy as possible for Gen Zers on smartphones—who, remember, are already primed to write reviews—to submit more content about their purchases to eCommerce sites.
TurnTo’s Visual Reviews™ takes this mobile-first approach a step further. Its visual-first collection flow lets shoppers send photos and videos to eCommerce sites with just a few taps. As a result, eCommerce sites get to bank even more content on their product pages, and customers don’t even have to type anything out.
Want to learn more about how TurnTo’s innovative products can help you connect with Gen Z?
1 Defining Generations: Where Millennials End and Generation Z Begins; Pew Research Center, January 2019
2 How Obsessed is Gen Z with Mobile Technology?; The Center for Generational Kinetics, 2018
3 Infographic: 27% of Gen Zers Say They Always Write a Product Review After Making a Purchase; Adweek, April 2018
April 4, 2019 by Rahul Chadha
Is your eCommerce site failing to give your shoppers all of the information they want? Some recent data from Salsify1 suggests that might be the case.
In a survey of 1,000 US adults, Salsify discovered that nearly 70% of respondents abandoned a product detail page (PDP) because it didn’t offer enough product detail or other information.
To put those survey results in context: more people left a product page because they wanted more information than those that left because prices were too high, or because they were concerned about potentially buying a fake product.
Nearly 70% of respondents abandoned a product detail page (PDP) because it didn’t offer enough product detail or other information.
eCommerce sites that fail to do the simple work of including enough product information on their PDPs are basically leaving money on the table.
But the problem is also easily fixable. Here are some key takeaways from the report that eCommerce companies should take to heart:
1. The More Reviews, the Better
112 is the magic number. No, that’s not a typo. It’s the average number of reviews that shoppers want to see when they’re looking at a product online, according to Salsify. And that figure was even higher among younger demographic groups.
On average, shoppers ages 25- to 34-years old wanted to see 159 reviews per product; that figure jumped to an average of 203 reviews per product among those ages 18 to 24.
In short, your customers want reviews. Lots of them. Why? Because a high review count is social proof that a product is good, and that can alleviate shoppers’ hesitation about pulling the trigger on a purchase.
On average, shoppers want to see 112 reviews for each product
“Consumers are really looking for that extra degree of validation, and it’s not even necessarily the star rating,” Andrew Weber, Data Insights Manager at Salsify, told Retail TouchPoints in an interview. “Those ratings are pretty similar between the top performers and poor performers. The difference is the average review count.” 2
2. Images Are Also in High Demand
The desire for more content extends beyond just five-star ratings and written reviews. Customers want to see more visual content like photos and videos on the product page than they did just a few years ago. In fact, Salsify found that shoppers expect a baseline of six images for each product. But even top-selling items in the image-focused grocery and electronics verticals only had an average of four.
The same went for videos; shoppers indicated they wanted, on average, a minimum of two per product page. And some age groups wanted as many as four to five videos for each product.
3. Customers Trust Each Other
It’s not just numbers that matter—customers also want to see highly relevant reviews on product pages. Salsify found that 30% of respondents said it was a good sign that a brand or retailer understood them when product reviews came from people similar to them.
Today’s shoppers place a tremendous amount of faith in one another to share authentic and honest feedback about online goods. Product ratings and reviews written in a conversational tone resonate better with shoppers, rather than marketing copy, which might read as inauthentic.
4. Shoppers Have Questions—Give Them Answers
Unfortunately for online shoppers, there’s usually no sales associate standing by to respond to questions. But your customers still want answers.
In fact, Salsify found that most shoppers wanted answers for anywhere from eight to 13 questions about a particular product to appear right on the product detail page.
“One option is to put in more textual descriptions that reveal what a specific product feature actually does, or have common Q&A questions literally right on the product page that can be interactively displayed,” Weber said in his interview with Retail TouchPoints.
Salsify also noted that commonly asked questions sometimes reveal shortcomings in product descriptions. Brands and retailers can respond to this valuable feedback by updating their product detail pages.
How TurnTo Can Help
Salsify’s research attests to the need for eCommerce sites to provide their customers with more written reviews, better visual content, and answers to their questions. TurnTo’s industry-leading innovations can help with that:
- More reviews – Our Ratings & Review product is designed to increase review collection rates right off the bat. We do that with features like Inbox Submission, which lets customers submit reviews directly from the body of an email, increasing content collection rates by as much as 200%. Our review solicitations are optimized for mobile, so it’s really easy for customers to submit content on their smartphones. All of that adds up to more Ratings & Reviews for your products.
- Better Visual Content –TurnTo’s Visual Reviews™ product is the easiest way for eCommerce sites to collect even more photos and videos. Our review collection flow is designed to collect photos and videos first from smartphone users—and submit reviews without any typing. These customer-created images can help improve sales at every step of the customer journey.
- Give Shoppers Answers – With our Community Q&A product you can supply answers to customer questions right on the product page. Believe it or not, most customers are happy to share their knowledge—we’ve found that about 90% of questions sent to previous shoppers get answers. But Community Q&A can also draw on information from places like existing product descriptions, previously asked questions, and even a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page to deliver near-instant responses to questions.
Want to learn more?
1 5 New Rules to Tackle Shoppers’ Rising Expectations of Your Brand; Salsify, March 2019
2 Study: 69% of Shoppers Leave a Site if Product Info is Subpar; Retail TouchPoints, March 2019
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.
September 19, 2009 by George Eberstadt
From The Internet Retailer survey of IRNewsLink e-newsletter readers conducted in August 2009 with e-mail marketing and survey firm Vovici Corp:
Social marketing was a top priority for 49.5% of survey respondents this year, compared with 35.7% for video, 34.1% for blogs or customer ratings and reviews, and 22.5% for live chat or product personalization.
February 3, 2009 by George Eberstadt
Here’s the TurnTo presentation from the OnMedia conference today. This talk focuses on the whole idea of “Trusted References”. The TurnTo part goes from roughly minute 1 to minute 10. (I’m hoping the conference will provide a version of this without the side-bar. I’ll upgrade if we get one…)
January 23, 2009 by George Eberstadt
I just got back from the Social Networking Conference in Miami. Here’s the presentation I gave, titled “Ecommerce Meets Social Networks: A Different Approach to Driving Online Referrals”. The usual caveats about slides-without-accompanying-commentary apply.
January 22, 2009 by George Eberstadt
We just rolled out Rave. If you’ve had a particularly good experience with a product from a TurnTo network site – the sort of experience you’d normally tell your friends about – rave it. Your TurnTo friends will see your rave in their TurnTo news feed, and you can also push it out to your Facebook friends. (Coming soon: you’ll be able to push your raves out to other networks, Twitter, and the like…) Other people can see your raves, too, but we don’t push it to them, and they don’t see your name as the author.
How come only “rave” and not “pan”? The main idea behind rave is to make it easy for you to bring something to the attention of your friends that they might find valuable. Getting warned off of a bad product is useful mainly if you were already considering it. There’s no need to tell me not to get something I didn’t want anyway. But getting alerted to something really special can spark a brand new idea. Plus, we wanted to focus on the positive. And a lot of our partner sites already have tools for collecting ratings and reviews, so we felt it was more important to focus on the communicating-with-friends aspect than on collecting scores and feedback.
We’d love to hear what you think. Please drop us line.