Mike Tran, web technology specialist for Sierra Trading Post, discusses how the retailer worked with PowerReviews to answer questions, while increasing sales conversions and clickthroughs.
Q What prompted Sierra Trading Post to adopt PowerReviews’ AnswerBox technology platform?
A We’ve been using PowerReviews’ products for about three years. When they came out with the new solutions for customer Q&As, which is the AnswerBox, we quickly adopted it. We wanted to give the customers a way to interact with our customer service and give them a way to ask questions that they might have about a certain product before making a purchase decision. It launched at the end of November 2009.
Q Who answers customer questions?
A Mostly, they’re answered by the staff. Sarah Glatfelder, our AnswerBox specialist, manages this. She’ll go through all the questions and answer them. If she can’t answer a question, she’ll forward it to one of the product experts, who’ll research it and come up with the best answer.
Q How does AnswerBox fit with Sierra Trading Post’s overall marketing strategy?
A It helps improve conversion on an item that has a Q&A about it. When a customer asks a question, they enter an e-mail address. Then when we answer that question, an e-mail gets sent out to the person who sent the original e-mail. When the customer clicks to purchase that item, that item gets converted. In these e-mails, Sierra Trading Post has had a 300% higher click-through rate and a 50% increase in conversion over traditional e-mails.
Q What were some of the initiative’s challenges, and how did you solve them?
A We were worried that the amount of volume would be too much for us to handle. We hired Sarah to be our full-time person to answer all the questions. There wasn’t much of an integration challenge because we did not need to do any internal programming code to get the AnswerBox going.
Q What are some of the results you saw after implementing AnswerBox?
A It has also allowed us to [flesh out] the type of information missing from our product descriptions. From these questions, [we see that our] product descriptions were not thorough in terms of sizing or whatever else the customer is asking. We can see a common thread related to the product. We then add the additional information to the production descriptions based on the questions people are asking. l