Doran Robinson previously worked for healthcare information technology vendor athenahealth.
The shoe e-retailer puts a question-and-answer tool on product pages.
For some shoppers the information on the e-commerce site operated by shoemaker and retailer Skechers USA Inc. wasn’t enough. They had specific questions, such as whether a pair of boots is good for welding, which required a consumer to contact customer service—or to leave the site altogether to find another way to get an answer.
That’s why Skechers worked with PowerReviews Inc. to add the vendor’s Social Answers question-and-answer tool. The tool enables a shopper to submit a question by clicking on the Questions? Button on the site’s product page. After the consumer enters his question, the question is pushed to customer service—as well as to some consumers who have bought the item.
Skechers guarantees that within three hours consumers receive a response in a follow-up e-mail with a link to the product page. Having a quick response is important because shoppers are in a buying mindset, says Timothy Lakin, e-commerce merchandising manager at Skechers. “A customer who submits a question is already engaged,” he says. “If we can give them the answer they want in a timely fashion they usually buy the shoe.”
The numbers bear that out. Products with the tool have a 32% higher conversion rate than other products. And, when shoppers submit a question they’re eager to learn the answer. That’s why the follow-up e-mails have an 80% open rate and 51% conversion rate.
Moreover, calls to the retailer’s customer support line dropped. And, because the vast majority of shoppers were clicking the Questions? button rather than using live chat, Skechers dropped live chat altogether.
Skechers is No. 441 in the 2012 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.