B&Q plans to bolster customer interaction on its website in a bid to drive sales and develop its online community.

The DIY retailer will implement an online tool, called Stories, in mid-April. The tool will operate in a similar way to a blog, where content including video, text and images is posted and customers can comment.

B&Q multichannel development manager Joanne Robb said the move is part of its online strategy, in that “customers are more likely to buy a product when it is recommended by a community they trust and they’ve got all the information on it that they need”.

She said research into why shoppers go to B&Q found expert advice was high up the list. “It’s bringing this store community of experts and customers together online,” she said.

The tool, by Bazaarvoice, follows on from the implementation last year of Ratings & Reviews and online helpdesk Ask & Answer.

Robb added: “We want to make Diy.com a destination for advice and inspiration that people come back to whether they are shopping or not.”

She said over 80% of customers visit the site for research and 20% to 25% go in-store to buy products. She added: “The website, as well as directly selling products to customers, can be a support channel that may result in people going in-store for a purchase.”

Robb said customer feedback from the applications is analysed to inform purchasing decisions. “If a product is getting negative feedback, then we don’t buy it in our next range review,” she said.

When B&Q implemented Ratings & Reviews, it received a 40% increase in click-through rates on five-star-rated product promotions in December. In the month after the launch of Ask & Answer, 1,000 questions and answers were posted.