The Container Store keeps customers at the center of its business with CGC
Customer experience has been at the heart of The Container Store’s values since it opened its first storage and organization retail store in 1978. Today, the company’s commitment to customer care is as strong as ever, especially when it comes to listening to customers and using that feedback for continuous improvement and business value.
The Container Store’s trademark customer experience extends to the online world that didn’t exist decades ago.
Even when the world was all analog, customer feedback was in our DNA, says Patrick Burk, Customer Content Manager, The Container Store,
so this is just a natural progression for us.
We’ve always relied on the voice of the customer, says Burk.
From the very beginning, we’ve used comment cards and read every single one of them. Now we can do that online, and we can also easily share customers’ comments with other shoppers.
The Container Store uses Bazaarvoice Ratings & Reviews to capture the voice of the customer today. The solution enables the company to collect customer-generated content (CGC) online, repurpose it in several ways, and integrate it throughout its business to drive revenue. These efforts have helped establish the company as a best-in-class CGC marketer.
Volume generation efforts result in more site traffic, orders and revenue
Since rolling out Bazaarvoice Ratings & Reviews in 2009, The Container Store has actively invited customers to review its storage and organization products, using post-interaction emails (PIE) to reach customers after a purchase.
An unexpected development in 2015 demonstrated the value of the post-interaction email in some surprising ways. Worried that customers were feeling inundated with email, the company decided to suspend many non-essential email communications — including PIE.
Review volume dropped.
We recognized the reduction in review volume right away because of Bazaarvoice’s reporting capability, says Burk.
That was the canary in the coal mine. Along with a decrease in volume, the company saw a drop in average ratings, review impressions, page impressions, and the number of reviewers who recommended the product.
The value of review generation had become evident. When The Container Store responded by reinstating PIE, all of these metrics increased — and, even more significantly, so did order volume and revenue.
Compared to the months just prior, when PIE was turned off, the following two months with PIE reinstated resulted in:
- 325% increase in review volume
- 21% increase in page views
- 57% increase in order volume
- 27% increase in in revenue
Finding more ways to share the voice of the customer
In addition to allowing customers to share their opinions with other shoppers online, The Container Store also uses reviews in marketing materials and other customer-facing channels beyond the site. This creates many more opportunities for shoppers to learn about products from customers who’ve already experienced the benefits for themselves.
We use consumer content everywhere we can — in marketing emails, in-store graphics and signage, and catalogs, says Burk.
Extending the value of reviews throughout the business
The Container Store further solidifies its position as one of the most successful companies in leveraging CGC by deriving value from the program in many other ways.
In addition to making it easy to collect consumer feedback and share it with others, reviews play an important role in helping the company improve its products and processes. For example, reviews recently catalyzed innovation around the company’s extremely popular line of storage boxes for shoes.
We started seeing a trend of customers saying in reviews that they wished the boxes were taller, so they could use them to store high-heeled shoes upright, says Burk.
As a direct result of customer-review feedback, we started offering a tall shoe box, and it’s been a major hit from the get-go by every metric imaginable. The box currently has a five-star rating from customers.
Reviews have also proven instrumental in pressing for product improvements from manufacturers.
We can tell from reviews if a product starts slipping, says Burk,
and our buyers can use the reviews as evidence of the need for changes when they meet with vendors.
With reviews driving constant product innovation and improvement, the company has been able to move up its timeline for making a change if a product is not performing. As Burk puts it, when reviews reveal a product problem,
if the vendor can’t make it right, it goes away.
CGC also has a significant offline impact, giving consumers more confidence when purchasing in store. The Container Store recently collected data to understand the impact that reviews have on its in-store buyers. The results showed that 35% of in-store buyers read reviews before making their purchase.
For a company that has recognized the importance of the voice of the customer for nearly 40 years, being able to benefit from CGC in so many ways now is extremely gratifying. As Burk puts it,
Bazaarvoice lets us enjoy the 21st century.