Staples Gives High Marks to Customer Ratings and Reviews

There’s no question that adding customer product reviews to your site is good for business. When Staples rolled out user reviews on its Website two years ago, the office supplies cataloger/retailer saw an uptick in conversions immediately, according to Eileen White, director of e-commerce strategy and site operations for Staples Business Delivery.

In her Sept. 15, luncheon keynote at the fall NEMOA conference in Newport, RI, White told attendees Staples now has more than 370,000 reviews on its site. (One dedicated customer has furnished over 1,000 of those reviews himself, she added.)

But as with any social medium, companies need to have a plan in place to handle the comments, White said. “When you solicit feedback on merchandise, you have to be prepared to do something about it,” she said. This takes some time and effort , but it will likely pay off.

For instance, Staples was getting some negative reviews on a furniture item, White said. So its merchants went back to the product manufacturer and got the problem fixed; new reviews coming in on the product are positive, she said.

Do you have to include all customer reviews on an item? Yes, White said, unless the reviews are abusive. “You have to take the good and the bad, but not the ugly—take those out of there,” she said.

Staples also includes customer questions and answers on merchandise on its site. “We now have full-time employees monitoring our questions and getting the answers to them,” White said. Other customers are allowed to answer posted questions on products as well, she noted. “We just don’t want to have any questions waiting on an answer.”

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