Community Q&A: Ecommerce Marketer’s Guide
Ecommerce brands are beginning to recognize the power their community has to influence potential shoppers’ purchase decisions. To harness that power, many brands have adopted Community Q&A, a community-based approach to answering product questions shoppers might have. Community Q&A differs from product reviews in that it creates a community-powered searchable knowledge base, that best of all, integrates directly into the PDP experience. Shoppers can type in their questions and instantly access related knowledgebase articles or answers that may have been posted previously by the community. Shoppers can submit questions directly to the community should they desire additional information. An average of 41% of questions submitted receive an answer from the Community within one hour; 87% within 24. What’s more, customers who already own the product are able to provide information about their experience for shoppers, thus freeing up your support channels and service representatives to handle more specific inquiries. It’s a win-win on the surface, and as ecommerce channels grow more advanced, so do customer expectations.
Why does your brand need a community Q&A?
Increase sales and stay ahead of the competition
Baymard Institute, a UX research firm, conducted extensive studies on product page usability. Their results showed that community Q&A sections “proved immensely helpful to the test subjects,” but 55% of websites don’t provide a Q&A section. Consumers highly value community Q&As, yet more than half of ecommerce brands don't provide them. That means making Q&As a focus puts you a step ahead of the competition. In fact, 76% of customers say that the absence of CGC, such as a community Q&A, makes them less likely to buy. If customers land on a competitor’s site and don’t see a quality Q&A section, they’re going to seek out a brand that puts more effort into creating a trustworthy customer-generated source of information.
Improve your Ratings and Reviews
Community Q&As can answer customers’ most basic or unexpected questions. When shoppers know exactly what they can expect from a product, there’s a much higher chance that the product will fit their needs perfectly. Customers who find a great product through the community’s help will be more likely to return that help by leaving a positive review or answering future questions. Sometimes, an answer in a Q&A will deter someone from making a purchase. This might instinctively seem like a bad thing, but it’s actually great. No business has a product that’s perfect for every single customer. It’s better to weed out customers who aren't a good fit, as they’re the ones who will be dissatisfied and leave negative reviews. Fewer negative reviews mean customers who are a good fit won’t be scared off by too many negative reviews.
Increase Organic Search Traffic
Organic search traffic is the holy grail for marketers because it’s free and has enormous conversion potential. Brands with a community Q&A have a secret SEO weapon: Customers write their Q&A questions exactly like they write their search engine questions. This means the Q&A section is overflowing with top-notch keywords and greatly improves a brand’s SERP rankings. The Q&A offers another important benefit for SEO. Because questions and answers are added to the Q&A section frequently, there’s always fresh content there. Search engine algorithms can’t resist the combination of great keywords and fresh content. Brands with well-populated Community Q&As see an average 20% increase in organic search traffic.
Lend Credibility To Product Page Claims
Consumers are naturally wary of claims made by brands on their product pages. They may skim this content, but their full attention and trust are given to information provided by other shoppers. Over 70% of consumers say that customer-created content increases their purchasing confidence. Allowing existing customers to answer pre-purchase questions removes the bias that consumers know exists within the brand-generated product information. When past customers share their personal opinions and experiences, it’s authentic and trustworthy.
Fill In Information Gaps
No matter how detailed you get with your product information, there’s no way to cover every question a customer will have. Even if you could, customers wouldn’t put much faith in the information anyway. Instead of overwhelming shoppers with an intimidatingly long product description, look to your past customers to fill in the additional information. Potential buyers trust customers like themselves, so product details from the community are much more effective. When you have an active Community Q&A, you can focus on providing the most important details in the product description and let the community do the one-on-one work of answering individual questions and influencing sales.
Community-Driven for the Win
In Baymard’s comprehensive product page study, it concluded that “Q&A sections [are] irreplaceable companions to the product description.” There’s simply no substitute for the conversion power of a community Q&A.