In the first part of this blog series based on our CEO Luigi Matrone’s keynote to the Alcon Gaze conference on eCommerce, we looked at how Shopper Experience is a key driver of online success for brands. Here, in the second, we explain why you can’t create great Shopper Experiences without great content.
eBusiness Institute CEO Luigi Matrone is one of the world’s leading experts on digital transformation, eCommerce, and the digital trends impacting retail. If you would like to see Luigi’s keynote slides, please download them here.
Great content is proven to influence conversion rates
People have been saying ‘Content is king’ for some years now, often without appropriate context, but it really is in relation to eCommerce and selling products online.
Great content is proven to influence shopping decisions and convert sales. Image source: Shotfarm product information report
By way of evidence to support this, did you know that the quality of content is proven to influence 77 per cent of shoppers in their choice of retailer?
Or that 46 per cent of consumers say that the quality of visual and written content very significantly influences their shopping decisions?
Consumers are deciding whether or not to make an online purchase depending on the quality of content supporting a product. Image source: DemandWare – ‘Building eCommerce Content you can bank on’ report
This shows that great content is no longer just something for marketers with king-size budgets to indulge themselves in – but an essential part of any brand’s strategy, if it wants to be successful online.
The types of great content consumers expect to see
Whereas online shoppers might once have been satisfied with a standard product image and some blurb about their prospective purchase, consumers today expect to see so much more.
They want well-crafted Mobile Hero Images optimised for mobile screens that make it clear to mobile shopper the product’s:
Great content is no longer a luxury – consumers expect to see it, and it influences online shopping decisions. Image source: Shotfarm product information report
Video is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a ‘must have’, whether it’s a punchy explainer video or a piece highlighting a product’s features and benefits that you know can influence their buying decision in that very moment.
A bland, matter of fact written product description is not enough – today’s online shopper wants to know the story behind the brand and its products, so great creative copywriting is essential.
People also want to know what goes into a product – particularly if they’re buying something like a food supplement or cosmetics. Is there anything the buyer could be allergic to? Are the ingredients that go into a make-up foundation ethically sourced and environmentally friendly?
And, user-generated reviews – third party endorsement from people that have bought your products – can be hugely influential, so it’s important to facilitate these reviews.
Great content is also a really effective way of optimising your content for search, helping make your products easy to discover and purchase.
Classic offline advertising and Product eContent – a distinction
It’s important to remember that great Product eContent – content used for the purpose of telling your product’s story and selling it online – can’t quickly be rehashed from advertising or video content initially designed for use in offline contexts.
While offline advertising and offline brand storytelling generally needs to be compelling and emotive, Product eContent needs to be very product focused – and focused on specific products, as opposed to the brand as a whole.
Great Product eContent quickly grasps the attention of an online audience and persuades them into making a buying decision right there and then.
Today’s consumers are expecting so much more from their online shopping experience. Image source: eBusiness Institute
So, if someone in your brand team tells you that fragments of the lengthy high production value Kubrick-inspired video they’ve put together will be perfect for your proposed Amazon video, make sure you give due admiration to the work that went into making it.
But also remind them – and yourself – that their video isn’t suitable for the purpose of improving the Shopper Experience or selling a specific product in an eCommerce environment.
Why does great product eContent benefit brands?
Great content that helps create great Shopper Experiences in turn has a very beneficial knock-on effect for eRetailers for five key reasons:
1. Great content drives choice of preferred eRetailer
Online shoppers are influenced by quality Product eContent when deciding which brands and eRetailers to buy from.
2. Engages consumers to spend more online
It’s well-documented  that online shoppers are often distracted, have shortened attention spans and are often in a hurry, so you need to grab their attention and hold it. The better the job your content does of engaging shoppers, the more likely they will be to spend money on your products.
The reasons why great content benefits brands, as well as consumers. Image source: eBusiness Institute
3. Purchase decision-driver, both online and offline
81 per cent  of consumers will now research products online before going into a store and buying them, so eRetailers that produce quality content in the form of photos, videos, consumer-generated product reviews, and product discoverability are more likely to influence a final sale.
4. Decreases the number of returns caused by poor description
A product not matching its description is among the top reasons  why items online get returned, which can be damaging for your brand and future sales. It’s therefore vital that you spend time and effort getting your product descriptions correct to ensure you’re not mis-selling a product.
5. Raises SEO rank on external search engines, such as Google
Great content is needed for product search strategies like Retail Search on eCommerce platforms like Amazon or traditional SEO for search engines like Google.
Six steps for creating great content
When our experts at eBusiness institute embark on a project to help our clients – which include some of the biggest brand names in the world – to improve their Product eContent, we implement a six-step process that we know delivers success.
Our formula for creating great content that we know helps increase product sales. Image source: eBusiness Institute
1. We will perform a gap analysis, whereby we establish what content is missing from their eCommerce (Amazon, for example) pages or isn’t of a necessarily high standard
2. We put together an action plan to determine our strategy and the resource required to develop great content for our client
3. It’s ideation, creativity and content development time, as we decide on the best content ideas and our talented team of content experts and designers begins to develop the creative content assets in partnership with the client
4. We place all the great new creative digital assets into a content repository (or digital content database) where the client can easily access it all when they need to
5. Implementation is where we put the client’s shiny and exciting new content into action, revealing it to online shoppers and driving sales
6. We look to measure the success of the content we have created and implemented for the client to assess its success in driving sales, with a mind to making any tweaks should they be needed in a spirit of continuous improvement
The three levels of Product eContent
Product eContent can be classified in three clusters:
1. Basic Product eContent that gives very simple, straightforward detail on a product
2. Advanced Product eContent that goes far deeper than that basic level in order to tell a more compelling story about a product and sets out its features and benefits
3. Shop-in-Shop eContent where a brand has its own dedicated space on an eRetailer platform, and goes all out to create great content that helps produce incredible online Shopper Experiences that mirror or even surpass physical in-store shopping experiences
The three different levels of Product eContent Image source: eBusiness Institute
The basic building blocks
At the basic Product eContent level, you are talking about something as foundational as a product name and basic images.
As you progress your level of content, you will be looking at improving how your images render on mobile screens by using Mobile Hero Images that show the product in its packaging or its quantities or variants in easy-to-read formats.
The basic content building blocks every product needs in an eCommerce setting – but brands drive more sales with more compelling advanced content. Image source: eBusiness Institute
Or well-written product descriptions that tell the story behind your product and brand, and why it stands out.
Similarly, you will want to tell your potential customers about the ingredients that go into your product, and encourage people that have bought your product(s) to review and rate them.
All of these factors go towards making a good Shopper Experience – but can you go further?
The advanced building blocks
Brands should invest in more advanced content to tempt online shoppers into buying more. Image source: eBusiness Institute
Brands can take things to the next level and go well beyond the basic to develop experiences that really excite and entice shoppers – all with a mind to getting them to spend more time on your pages and buy more.
Brands that go down this route – and consumers increasingly demand that they do – will be producing aspirational or explainer videos that work specifically in the context of eCommerce.
And brands may want to get shoppers to consider buying their usual product in greater quantity, or even trading up to a more luxury form of the product.
In conclusion – great content increases sales
It would be easy for us to simply say, somewhat theoretically, that great Product eContent increases sales.
But we’ve played a highly influential part in helping brands increase their sales by vast amounts through the creation of great content.
For instance, our approach has helped a dog food brand increase its sales by a huge +460 per cent. And a coffee brand by +190 per cent. And a beer brand by more +40 per cent. The list goes on and on.
What it ultimately boils down to is that great content is no longer a luxury, but something that all brands must invest in if they are to create great Shopper Experiences that convince today’s consumers to shop and buy more online.
In the next blog in this series, Mobile Content is critical to online brand and sales success, we show why brands and eRetailers should be taking a ‘mobile-first’ approach to all their content.
This article was written and created by the eBusiness Institute team.
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