Product returnsI hate having to return products. At my local big box store, there are plenty of lines open for buying items, but usually only one overcrowded line for returning them. I guess I can’t fault the system – the goal is for me to buy and keep my purchase, become a loyal customer, and buy again.

When I do make it to the counter, the clerk asks me if there is anything wrong. I say no, and am happily on my way with my money back. This system makes it easy for me as a consumer to try products for free to see if I want to keep them. I do this when I can’t find all of the information I need before I purchase.

The manufacturer, however, does not go on their happy way. They are stuck with $25.3 billion in returned product costs, according to Accenture. The even more interesting statistic is that Accenture’s study showed that 60 – 85% of consumer electronic returns were No Trouble Found (NTF), meaning there was nothing wrong with them.

Incomplete product comparison and feature information seems to be a common problem. I came across a stat in Allurent’s 2008 “Holiday Shopping: Online Customer Experience Survey” saying “67% of users who visited a site intending to make a purchase left because there was not enough product information.” Brands could just add more product copy, but with a growing number of SKUs, maintaining this strategy is not scalable.

Because consumers trust each other for comparison, and trust manufacturers for technical answers, brands can work alongside their customers to efficiently provide the right answers. Canadian Tire empowered its customers to create a knowledge base of information that the entire community can benefit from. For products that had at least one question and answer they saw a 28% drop in pre-sales customer service calls. The drop was 81% for products with three or more questions and answers.

When asked about the impact of “Mr. Samsung” answering consumer questions on online retailer sites, the Director of US Marketing for Samsung, Kris Narayanan, said “Through BrandAnswers we can reach consumers at the very last stages of the purchase decision, so they need answers quickly and accurately. Our ability to be there is essential.”

Providing consumers with the right information at the right time is not only essential for driving sales, but for reducing returns and growing your base of brand loyalists. As consumers seek out information from each other, a manufacturer must empower its loyalists to become advocates at the point of purchase. For manufacturers, working with retailers to incorporate their brand advocates’ content across online retailer sites has tremendous benefit.

How is your brand making sure customers have all of the information they need to make a purchase?

BV ResearchCase Study: Samsung answers increase engagement, fill information gaps

Manufacturer Samsung created the public persona, “Mr. Samsung,” to answer customers’ product-related questions.

Read the case study for more on these answers’ “ripple effect” of value.

2 Responses to “Informed consumers are more profitable”

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>