Online sales grew by more than 30% in the fourth quarter, but store sales slid by 6.1% year over year.
Since Abe’s of Maine launched PowerReviews’ AnswerBox in March, the company has seen 7.5% of the customers who post questions convert. Sitewide the conversion rate is 2%.
For years, Abe’s of Maine customers would call the electronics retailer with the same questions about the company’s products, and answering the same questions over and over was inefficient and caused backups in the customer service department, according to Sarah Mishan, Abe’s of Maine marketing director.
That changed, she says, in March, when Abe’s of Maine added PowerReviews’ AnswerBox to the site’s product detail pages. The tool allows customers to post questions on the site that are then answered by Abe’s employees. The tool helped streamline Abe’s customer service, she says.
“When someone calls our customer service representatives, our representatives answer the question and that’s the end of it,” she says. “With [AnswerBox] we see what our customers are asking. We can fix something if we’re omitting it, and by showing the question and our answer on the product page we can preempt other customers from asking the same questions.”
The program also bolstered the company’s sales. The conversion rate of customers that ask questions is 7.5%. Sitewide the conversion rate is 2%. Moreover, of the people who request e-mail notification when their questions are posted and answered, more than 7% return to Abe’s of Maine to make a purchase via the e-mail link. The return rate for these purchases is also 40% lower than the average sitewide return rate.
To date, Abe’s has answered more than 5,200 questions.