Who says old dogs can’t learn new tricks? Dingo Brand, a specialty brand of United Pet Group (UPG), has always had a following of loyal customers. Since the company was founded roughly 10 years ago, consumers and their dogs have been avid fans of Dingo products. In fact, UPG consultant Mike Halloran dubs Dingo a “Harley-Davidson-like brand” because of the company’s sustained customer loyalty. But for all the excitement and buzz surrounding Dingo, the company had yet to find a way to channel and capture customer enthusiasm to promote and expand business on the Web. Sure, Dingobrand.com had a testimonial section where fans could speak to the value of the company’s products, but it was built on “fairly basic archaic technology,” Halloran says. “It wasn’t profound or state of the art.”
As a result, six months ago, Halloran turned to Bazaarvoice, a provider of social commerce technologies, and the early results have been worth howling for.
Bazaarvoice’s technology enabled Dingo to create interactive Web pages where consumers could post stories about Dingo products, ask questions and give answers, offer product ratings and reviews, and post pictures of their pets. The content generated is now indexed organically within search engines so that when a consumer runs a search on raw hide treats, he may actually find an organic listing for Dingobrand.com even though he didn’t have a particular pet product manufacturer in mind. The reviews written on the site are carried by retailers like Wal-Mart—a company whose reach allows Dingo to access a broader audience.
The exposure has reaped great rewards. Since the Bazaarvoice implementation, average order value has increased by 6 percent. The customers who use the Ask & Answer section of http://Dingobrand.com have increased their order value by 42 percent. Average time on site has increased by 78 percent overall, from six minutes to nearly 11. Page views per visit have increased by 22 percent overall. “[Our] consumers are getting better information, finding out what’s good about a product, and what its strengths and weaknesses are,” Halloran says. “[As a result our customers have] higher confidence and they are ordering more products. We know that when consumers have better information at their fingertips, conversions of average order size go up.”
The content consumers have created on the site is rich, entertaining, informative, and compelling, according to Halloran. “I can hire my best copywriter and he’d never come up with the stuff that these consumers come up with. It’s the best way to promote products, assuming you’ve got good products.”
However, the revamped site isn’t just about e-commerce. Halloran says he still believes Dingo customers will go to retail locations to buy products and that the Bazaarvoice implementation will allow Dingo to provide better information online, which would ultimately drive overall purchases rather than just online orders.
“I know for a fact we’re more dramatically affecting our offline business,” Halloran says. “Even if we didn’t sell anything online, we’d still be [working with Bazaarvoice] because online has become too important to how consumers make decisions today. User-generated content has become an extremely important piece of real estate to control and build online.”
Dingo customers are not only visiting the site more often, producing great content and buying more products, but they’re also returning to the site post-sale to express their satisfaction. In fact, Dingo’s average overall star rating is 4.86 out of 5, compared with the industry benchmark of 4.33. Reviewers gave Dingo products a rating of 4+ stars to the tune of 96 percent (industry average in this category is 79 percent).
The product ratings and reviews can also help Dingo nip troubles in the bud, specifically with products that contain flaws or could use improvements. Halloran would not acknowledge that any Dingo products had ever been revamped as a result of a negative rating or review, though he did mention that the information collected from customers helped UPG make improvements to some of its Nature’s Miracle brand products.
For Dingo, however, the praise far outweighs the criticism. The brand can thank Bazaarvoice for helping it bone up on social commerce.
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