Why does the rumor mill continue to say retail is dead? It’s not. Retail in 2018 is evolving like everything else, and some companies are adapting better than others. According to a recent Forbes article, physical retail is not dead, but boring retail is and it’s time for you to get creative and become remarkable to succeed.
The most savvy retailers know the secret to becoming remarkable is to optimize the customer experience both online and off. Top ecommerce organizations are doing this by creating compelling content stories, ensuring that customer experience online is pretty darn amazing to help drive purchases, increase average order size and minimize returns.
Retailers that aren’t focused on the customer experience and adapting to the omnichannel way of life are falling behind. Consider Toys-R-Us who didn’t adapt fast enough and has sadly gone out of business. Innovative brands will not only adapt, but will thrive by harnessing the power of their content stories.
So how do you keep your company relevant with product content stories?
1. Dig deep. Online retailers don’t have the luxury of buyers picking up, feeling, trying on or even closely examining their products. That shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. Be descriptive and exacting in product descriptions to connect with your customer. Share what the fabric feels like if it is a clothing product or textile, clearly and artfully describe the color, and show images of the product from every single angle including zoom functionality. Why? The more descriptive the language, the more the buyer can “engage” with the product, and evaluate everything they want to see. Don’t make the buyer wish for more information.
Ethan Allen offers extensive, relevant product details, additional product information, as well as care and warranty information. If the buyer doesn’t find everything they need, they offer a chat window on the product page and multiple photos to see the furniture in different settings.
Don’t forget to give detailed care instructions, build time, or weight or size details for products too. It all matters when the buyer is comparing products online. Online, more information is better and the best description often drives the purchase.
2. Context increases average purchase. Online buyers like to see products in context. Think of an outfit versus just a shirt or a pair of shoes, paired with the right pants or dress. In-store buyers have the luxury of being wooed by complimentary or adjacent products, while online, too often marketers neglect to offer context to their products.
In the article, “Why Presentation and Context are Crucial in E-Commerce Product Photos” by Neil Patel, an image of a GE refrigerator shows not just the refrigerator, but different views of the refrigerator filled with food. This helps the buyer connect with the purchase, showing how different food fits in the refrigerator. The context matters and ensures the buyer has all the information they need to imagine how their food might fit in the refrigerator, and helps drive conversions.
3. Use emotion. Product stories online are more than just showing the product and providing detailed views. Successful ecommerce marketers tap into the emotion that the product delivers to deliver remarkable experiences. For example, in the Neil Patel article, Netflix shows a family enjoying a movie, snuggled lovingly together on a couch.
Netflix didn’t show a picture of the mom trying to download the movie or show her using a remote. The image and product story highlights how Netflix enables families to enjoy time together, not the functionality of Netflix. Top performing brands understand the role emotion plays in the content story to drive the connection between buyer and product. It’s a critical component of the customer journey.
Although there are many challenges retailers face today in driving revenue in our ecommerce-focused world, retail is far from dead. The key to success is to become remarkable and memorable via content stories. Exceptional content is what will make or break a brand today online.
Want to learn more about how to create remarkable product content? Listen to our podcast PIMtalk, covering all things marketing, product information management, and everything else under the sun to keep you at the top of your game.
Erika Goldwater is a B2B marketer with almost 20 years of experience in demand generation, public relations and global events. She creates marketing that drives revenue. Goldwater is a CIPP/US and has been consulting for leading SaaS organizations including Protagonist, Leadspace, Eloqua and ANNUITAS, a demand generation strategy consulting organization.