April 12, 2012, 10:30 AM

How feedback tools help The Container Store satisfy consumers

The retailer better understands how online research influences purchases.

Lead Photo

Storage and organization products retailer The Container Store Inc. uses feedback from consumers who’ve visited its e-commerce and mobile web sites to understand how its online sites influence purchases made in its retail stores.

The Container Store, No. 308 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide, began using OpinionLab Inc.’s feedback and survey service about a year ago to query consumers who used ContainerStore.com’s then-new elfa Design Center tool, which leads shoppers through the process of designing custom closet and organizational systems. The feedback helped Container Store to understand the reasons why consumers used the tool and what they planned to do next, says Catherine Davis, direct marketing director for Container Store.

When consumers tried to click away from the tool, a pop-up survey appeared. “We asked consumers what was their intent for using the Design Center tool—were they just playing around with it because we were promoting it, were they serious about using it for planning, were they leaving because they couldn’t get the solution they needed or were they going into the store to make a purchase there rather than online,” she says.

The consumers who said they were heading to a store to buy helped Container Store to better measure the conversion rate of the Design Center, and the feedback from consumers who said they couldn’t get the information they needed helped Container Store make improvements to the tool, Davis says.

Consumer views obtained via an OpinionLab feedback button embedded in the footer of the retailer’s mobile web site led to changes for that site as well. Mobile users who filled out a free text “comment card” told Container Store that they were having trouble using the store locator function on the mobile site, which required them to enter their ZIP codes to return results. Davis says the desktop web site made that requirement clear, but that it got lost in translation for the streamlined content of the mobile site. Consumers later used the feedback tool to request that the mobile site include more of the functions found on the desktop site, such as access to the gift registry and organizational tips. “The feedback really helps us prioritize what we should do first,” Davis says. “When you look at the things people are saying on a daily basis, you are able to identify trends and use that as business justification to get support to tackle new initiatives,” she says.

Lauren Freedman, president of The E-Tailing Group will present at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 in Chicago in June in a session titled “What shoppers want: Listening in on the consumer voice.”

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