May 29, 2013, 3:50 PM

Google to boost e-retailer ratings with StellaService data

Consumers will see more information when they shop online.

Lead Photo

StellaService CEO Jordy Leiser

Google Inc. will add more e-retailer ratings to its search results, ads and e-commerce services through a deal with StellaService Inc. Google initially will use the information to beef up its Trusted Stores ratings program, though officials from both companies say that StellaService data could be used in other ways.

StellaService rates web merchants by how well they serve their customers and how quickly and accurately they deliver the goods and process returns. Depending on their ratings, some online retailers can display StellaService customer service badges on their e-commerce sites. The company also operates StellaMetrics, which provides retailers data about how well they and their competitors handle customer service.

Google Trusted Stores, meanwhile, grades participating retailers in such areas as shipping and customer service—the percentage of on-time deliveries, for instance, and how quickly merchants resolve consumer issues. Retailers display on their sites a badge with their grades.  The program also includes a way for consumers to ask Google to help resolve issues with orders that they are unable resolve themselves and offers a purchase protection guarantee for up to $1,000 on orders placed with participating retailers. Google declines to say how many merchants take part in Trusted Stores.

Neither Google nor StellaService gave many details about the deal. Google pays StellaService a license fee “to use and display [StellaService’s] ratings and data,” StellaService CEO Jordy Leiser says, declining to be more specific.

StellaService rates hundreds of retailers included in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide and says it plans to cover even more using money generated during a recent $15 million funding round. The deal with Google does not preclude StellaService from providing other online organizations with similar services, Leiser says.

The deal potentially could increase online sales through Google. That’s because a test of Trusted Stores last year involving 50 retailers led to a 3.1% rise in conversion rates and a 5.5% rise in average order size, Google says. 

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