“How difficult is it going to be to build this gazebo myself?”
“What tools do I need to install this towel rack?”
“I’m no handyman; should I hire someone to help set up my kitchen?"
Questions like these are very important to the do-it-yourselfer who’s considering a purchase from a home improvement store. But getting answers isn’t always easy – especially when shopping from home, alone, online. That’s why for French home improvement retailer Castorama, online customer reviews have become a critical tool for providing shoppers with the answers they’re looking for. According to Patricia Delhomme, eMarketing Manager, having those answers can make website visitors more likely to make a purchase.
“The conversion rate is better on products with reviews,” says Delhomme, “because customers can look at those reviews to get the information and reassurance they need to make a purchase with confidence.”
Increasing review volume by 170%, Castorama turns visitors into customers
Since working with Bazaarvoice to institute a programme for customer ratings and reviews in 2009, Castorama has documented a number of notable results. In the twelve-month period beginning January 2011, for example:
- 14.9% of orders are placed following an interaction with ratings and reviews and these orders account for 19% of online revenue.
- The conversion rate for review readers increased by 233% compared with those who did not read reviews.
To keep review volume high, the company implemented a post-interaction email (PIE) programme and a special promotion encouraging customers to review products. As a result, between January 2011 and January 2012, the number of reviews increased by 170%.
Using negative customer reviews to improve products and enhance service
Customer reviews have proven to be powerful tools for ensuring the quality of the products Castorama sells, as well as the quality of its customer service. The company has a customer interactivity service for responding to reviews that raise questions or concerns; in 2011, they replied to more than 20% of all reviews received. For reviews that include complaints about products, the company works to ensure that problems are resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.
In one case, for example, the company went so far as to completely redesign its “Equinox” shower kit that had been the subject of numerous returns and complaints. Castorama’s category manager worked with the manufacturer to develop a new version of the kit, which the company then sent out at no cost to all the customers who had returned the product or given it a poor review. Most of them responded with a positive review of the new version, which significantly boosted sales.
Adding ratings and reviews to Castorama’s Facebook presence
In 2011, Castorama extended its online review activity to include integration with Facebook where the company has 39,000 fans. Now, when a customer reviews a product on the company’s Facebook page, the content is automatically published on the ecommerce site as well.
Facebook integration enables the company to more easily target specific products for promotion than they can do on the website, where so many products are being displayed. In fact, Castorama originally implemented the integration to showcase the following line of product “Castoche Products: products that make DIY easier for everyone”. This integration has also seen other advantages, including the ability to target a younger demographic.
The bottom line
Castorama has found customer ratings and reviews invaluable in helping increase revenue and build customer relationships. Since working with Bazaarvoice to implement a programme for reviews, Castorama has been able to use information from reviews to improve products and increase customer satisfaction.
Established in 1969, French home-andgarden retailer Castorama was a pioneer of DIY. A subsidiary of the home improvement retailer Kingfisher since 1998, Castorama today commands 20% of the DIY market in France, where it operates more than 100 stores and the ecommerce site www. castorama.fr. The company also has stores in Poland and Russia.