Written by Jocelyn Lin, Creative Director & AJ Leale, Sr. Director eCommerce
Consumers around the world use the internet to search for, compare, and learn about products before making a purchase decision. Seldom do consumers go to one site and immediately buy what they’re looking for.
Unless they have strong brand loyalty or trust a certain site for its products and pricing (the Amazon Effect), they comparison shop.
The connection between commerce and online content is more important than ever, and enticing customers with great products and keeping them engaged is achieved through strong content, both in terms of text and images.
By better understanding the cause-and-effect between great content and well-planned eCommerce experiences, retailers and manufacturers can reshape their digital presence to exceed expectations of consumers and be in a stronger position in regards to their competition.
What do we mean when we talk about “good content”?
Great content should solve the customer’s problems in a way that’s easy to engage with.
If they are going to a site to look for a specific product, content helps them find the one that fits their needs. If they are going to a site to see what kind of product they need, the site will help them figure that out.
In both cases, providing comprehensive but easily readable information or step-by-step instructions with photos and videos are great ways to solve the customer’s need for more information.
Products should be described thoroughly and every listing should have a photo. Accurate product descriptions and attractive photos can increase conversion rates for online stores.
Customers are looking for specific characteristics, so long paragraphs should be avoided. Using bullet points is the way to go. And lastly, transparency is key.
Here are the most important benefits of content-driven eCommerce.
1. Higher Brand Awareness
Customers feel a positive connection with brands that produce engaging content. Remember, visitors come to your site expecting you to be the expert on your products.
The most valuable type of content provides a rich and informative experience for visitors. Specialized and long-form content can be extremely helpful in creating a strong brand story.
When they engage with the content that brands provide, potential customers build familiarity with the products and are more likely to feel they have a relationship with the brand even before making their first purchase.
The ideal result of content-driven commerce is a customer relationship that extends beyond individual purchasing experience. Online content gains a greater value while commerce strategies are supported by the larger customer journey.
Brands no longer depend on traditional media outlets to showcase and promote their products. In fact, brand publishers are the visionaries of content marketing. Two brands that are great leaders of the brands-as-publishers model are United Colors of Benetton (Colors Magazine) and Airbnb (Airbnb Magazine).
Brands should not forget the importance of product page content that influences the consumer to make a quicker purchase decision. This content consists of both informative text and visually stimulating imagery.
Brands can also work with external influencers for high-quality, user-generated content that achieves higher brand awareness. Look at all the YouTubers who generate direct sales for the products they are paid to review.
Collaboration with these influencers has proved to be fruitful for many brands. They are a trusted voice in their communities and they can improve ROI for eCommerce brands.
KUIU and REI are brands that have built a deep relationship with their customers, thanks to their content efforts. They are not only seen as retailers but as partners in consumers’ outdoor adventures.
2. Increased Conversions
Brands need as much “sticky” content as possible to drive engagement. The more time customers spend on a website, the more likely they are to buy something. Engagement is one KPI with direct ties to increased conversion rates.
Adding fresh content regularly and integrating CTAs within the content drives customers to purchase, dramatically improving conversions from content like how-to articles and blogs.
Using an editorial calendar to plan content helps motivate regular content generation and can make your content strategy more successful.
ASOS is a great example of a brand that has enjoyed a lot of success thanks to content marketing. Their multichannel approach has made them a pioneer in the online fashion industry and the brand has its own magazine with a circulation of nearly 700,000.
3. More Trust
Customer-centric content strategy emphasizes content that is personalized towards a specific audience. Such valuable content can instill more trust among customers and entice them to buy.
Good content should extend beyond product descriptions and blog posts. What customers find extremely valuable are testimonials, well-written FAQ pages, and a flexible return/exchange policy. Good content uses strong imagery to avoid being dry.
Good content-driven eCommerce selling also helps customers find products quickly and easily. A great example of this is Dooney’s style finder.
Zappos is another brand getting the customer-centric approach right. It all starts with their employees: Zappos’ flexible structure counteracts organizational silos and everybody is allowed to work within a team they are passionate about.
4. Increased Organic Traffic
Like all sites, eCommerce projects need a solid content strategy to bring in targeted organic traffic. SEO strategy lets content harness “free” advertising from search engines. Keywords are an important part of SEO and should be researched and implemented into blog posts and product descriptions.
When it comes to the latter, they are sometimes overlooked as being important to the website’s SEO optimization. Brands need to make sure to include good product descriptions wherever possible.
A great thing about content is that the retailers of any size, especially small ones, can create a cost-effective strategy and thus decrease the high paid-traffic acquisition costs that are typical for platforms like Google AdWords and Facebook.
A robust content strategy can be very cost-effective in comparison with the cost of getting the same amount of paid traffic from SEM or other advertising channels.
Rebecca Taylor is an example of a site that was successfully revamped for better social engagement and cross-selling opportunities.
5. Better Engagement and Understanding of Your Customers
As clients engage your site you are able to see what they look at and what products interest them, and then you are better able to enhance and personalize their experience by recommending other products.
A long-term option for many brands is to use a recommendation tool like Salesforce Einstein AI software, which offers numerous ways for recommending a product.
Lowes is a company that has done a great job in this sphere. Currently, Visionet is working with another of America’s leading online tool retailers in a similar fashion.
These are just a few important points when it comes to understanding the benefits of content-driven eCommerce. Even if your eCommerce website is not huge, you can still strive to optimize it and increase your ROI by using the points described above.
Contact Visionet and let our team of experts help you build a detailed digital strategy with content that attracts, engages, and converts.