In today’s online marketplace, content is critically important. Having rich, compelling content can significantly impact the success or failure of an e-commerce site. At Accorin, we believe strongly that to have a highly successful e-commerce site, you need to have strong content. So, as a best practice we recommend that content creation and messaging should be integral to the design, development and on-going updates of any e-commerce site. Content + commerce is a profitable combination.
Why Commerce + Content?
There are a few main reasons that commerce + content are so intertwined.
Good, targeted content is the foundation of SEO and getting found online. Having well-structured content that can be indexed is how retailers and brands build a successful and solid SEO foundation for their sites. Strong content successfully brings more clicks and eyeballs to all levels of an e-commerce site. Organizing your content in a way that gets your site to the top of Google search results and getting found “organically” is critically important in today’s online marketplace. Having your team put in the time and research which keywords accomplish this task, and then implementing those words into vibrant and eye-catching content is invaluable to your brand marketing (and not always easy to do). Capturing the profitability of organic visitors is one reason to incorporate content into commerce.
Good content can have a major impact on conversion rates. Converting visitors to customers is another reason to consider content and commerce two halves of the whole. There is much to be said about content quality and its ability to successfully convert first-time visitors.
As an example, Ted Baker uses stunning imagery and basic yet arresting web design to capture their audience and push their brand successfully. They also incorporate highly effective videos and provide handy links to their social pages. Their content does a great job of enhancing their brand and creating a desire to buy.
Ted Baker does a great job of incorporating rich content into their e-commerce site.
This content is a combination of photography and copy that directly links to products available for purchase on the site in a “lookbook” type of merchandising.
Quality content also helps users understand the differences between products and compare them. E-commerce sites are able to demonstrate how their products are superior to the competition by creating good structured content. By organizing the content to properly advocate for their product, retailers also have an opportunity to strengthen their product’s perception. Through good content and a positive perception, retailers can create desire for their product, which will boost conversion rates as well.
Providing information about the product can increase your conversion rates. You will earn new customer’s trust sooner by giving that customer the information they need in a highly-effective manner. Lush is a great example of a company providing ample information to its customers. Their website not only details the ingredients of their products, but provides excellent imagery and photographs of the ingredients themselves.
Lush has a unique site layout that really highlights their products through the use of different content formats.
Another great example of rich product content is McMaster-Carr (we have written about them before: B2B e-commerce is SEXY!). They give their customers a great description of the various fastening products they sell and accompany them with great black and white representations. McMaster-Carr also includes content in the form of diagrams, PDFs and CAD drawings.
McMaster-Carr is one of our all-time favorite B2B e-commerce sites. It’s incredibly usable and content rich with multiple levels of different types of content.
They take a very different stylistic approach to Lush or Ted Baker, but it works for their product types and B2B customer base.
Ample reviews on your site are also a great way to boost consumer confidence in your product. Having real customers post reviews of your products can increase e-commerce conversion rates. It’s important to remember however that these reviews must be genuine. Some websites such as Amazon have begun suing individuals that are posting false reviews. If you are using an e-commerce platform like Magento, it is easy to ensure that reviews are done by customers that have actually purchased the product they are reviewing. Alternatively, you can integrate a tool like PowerReviews – it takes a bit of effort to integrate into Magento, but the power of the platform can be very beneficial and can help ensure that your reviews are credible. Credibility is key, and can influence the trust between e-commerce retailers and their customers…..which in-turn leads to more reviews and increased conversion rates.
Social Content Drives Traffic
Social Media is all about content – what you post, what you say, what you follow is based on the content. For companies that engage in social media tactics, your on-site content can have a tremendous impact on attracting and converting first-time visitors. A recent VWO e-commerce report states that “53% of shoppers (ages 18-34) say Facebook keeps them informed about the latest in online shopping” while “25% of Millennials and 16% of all age groups will check out a product if their friend shares it on social.” Before there can be social sharing, good imagery, videos and copy must exist, and your e-commerce site is the foundation for that sharing.
How Can You Do It?
The only way to successfully combine commerce and content is to fully commit your company to pursuing this route. Quality content creation doesn’t happen overnight; it takes time and a concerted effort from your entire marketing and web design team. Creating the imagery necessary to successfully advertise your brand should be top of mind throughout this process. Having pictures and videos that are tied to your brand are great, but you also must be consistent. If you commit to posting something every Tuesday, you must then post something every Tuesday. Consistency is how you form a community and a consumer base.
Having an effective content creation platform is critical. There are few platforms available today that do both e-commerce and content well (though the Magento 2.0 roadmap has some really strong content features). At Accorin, we suggest you use Magento as an e-commerce platform for catalog and transaction management while using a best in class content management system such as Drupal to manage compelling content. Any successful integration must combine different layers of technology to make it a seamless experience for the customer.
The Bottom Line
Integrating content into an e-commerce site is critical. If it’s set up correctly, content can drive new customers to your site and will keep them coming back. An effective content program takes time and effort, but the increased traffic and increased conversions are well worth the effort. Need help with your content program? Give us a call today.