By Andrew Chen, Ask & Answer Product Manager

When we were first envisioning Ask & Answer, we knew there was a need for a structured, moderated, community-driven question and answer service that could be accessible directly in the shopper’s buying path. However, clients questioned the level of user involvement and whether significant answer volume could really be generated. We asked ourselves how often questions would remain unanswered.

I’m glad to see our concerns turned out to be nothing more than concerns.

 Hindsight is 20/20, but it turns out that blended deployments of Ratings & Reviews and Ask & Answer have exceeded expectations.  Our preliminary analysis shows, in aggregate, answer volume is 87% of question volume. It’s expected that answer volume will lag behind questions, but that gap is smaller than we thought. Through proper promotion and placement of the feature, our clients have been driving user awareness and participation in a tangible way.

As more and more questions come in, we’re discovering many types of questions that retailers may never have been able to predict – questions like how an article of clothing fits or compatibility with other products. More importantly, we’re seeing customers helping one another and saving each other from potentially expensive mistakes.  We expect this altruistic behavior to continue for all the same reasons people write reviews.

As we continue to evolve our Ask & Answer offering, I predict the keys to success are enhancing ways to drive answer volume in general, but more specifically, creating incentives to drive the most relevant and accurate answers.  More insights to come!

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