Over the last year content marketing has really taken off for e-commerce sites. More businesses are wanting to relish the benefits of producing creative content.
I’m not just referring to the product descriptions, but other more exciting forms of content like product tutorials and user-generated content. It’s this type of content that helps you to differentiate your brand from your competitors. Price is of course a big factor in a shopper’s decision-making process but there are other factors that help to influence a user’s decision.
In this blog post I have looked at how a number of successful e-commerce brands have used the power of content to their advantage. Read on to find out about some of the techniques used by AO, Decathlon and others…
Videos are a great way to demonstrate how your product works; AO have published their own range that feature on their product pages. They have a mixture of product specific videos for each individual product but they also have a set of standard videos that feature on product categories. For example, for their washing machine product pages they have generic videos like ‘what is a sports cycle?’ to help explain the key features of the machines they sell.
Top tips: When producing videos, think about what common questions you are asked by consumers and conduct some basic keyword research into what your shoppers are searching for. Whilst the videos can feature on product pages it might be worth also including this content in the form of a blog post to attract long tail traffic. With so much choice available online, e-commerce shoppers tend to conduct a fair amount of research before they buy a product.
Remember: Google isn’t able to crawl video content so it’s important that you include transcripts of your videos so that Google is able to crawl the content; also your videos should be optimised with unique titles and descriptions.
User-generated content is becoming increasingly popular. Companies are now encouraging shoppers to become part of their brands content marketing story. Online retailers like Oasis are taking full advantage of their customers’ love for good clothes and their willingness to share their experiences and trends. Shoppers want to see that real people like them are buying the products.
Oasis frequently run competitions where they ask their customers to share a photo of themselves sporting their latest purchase for a chance to win a prize. This creates a more visual way for shoppers to review their purchases.
Another great example is from Snazaroo who have created an online community to help inspire their customers. They encourage their customers to share their experiences with their face paints in order to inspire other shoppers. In turn this naturally helps to promote their products and enhances their brand perception.
Want to take advantage of user generated content? Check out Hubspot’s blog post which has a wealth of examples of user generated content to inspire you!
Everyone loves great photography but sometimes we want to see what the product looks like in the flesh without all its airs and graces edited out. A great example of this in practice is from Decathlon. They supplement the standard professional pictures of their products with authentic images that have been sent in by their customers. This is not only a great way to increase the number of images you have of a product but to also to help their customers make an informed decision.
90% of customers are influenced by online reviews, so it’s clear to see why product reviews are so important. We know why they are important but do we know the best way to present them? Whilst it’s great to have the standard star rating and the reviews that people can leave, retailers don’t have control of how people view these testimonials.
What if these reviews were hand picked and had more context to them? Freederm have created a visual aid to help display one of their customer’s reviews. This helps visitors feel more comfortable with their decision because they can see what it has worked for others.
Sometimes the content on your product pages just isn’t enough for those further down in the purchase cycle. These shoppers often require more information to help aid their decision. Some shoppers need a little more information to help solve their problem before they know exactly what product is right for them. Guides are a great way to aid the decision making process and equip visitors with enough information that will inspire them to make a decision.
Mothercare have a section dedicated to guides on their product ranges like car seats and pushchairs. They have identified that shoppers need this information and have provided helpful information to help them make informed decisions.
Top tip: When creating guides make them as informative and as engaging as possible. No one wants to read blocks of content so it’s wise to split the guide into important sections and include visual aids like graphics and images.
Remember: Although Google can crawl PDF documents you ideally don’t want these pages to be indexed. From a user perspective, when you land on a PDF there is no option for the visitor to continue their journey back to your site. You should have a dedicated landing page that hosts your PDFS so visitors can open the PDF documents without having to leave your site. Alternatively you should do what Mothercare have done and host the guides on a page.
Content within your main navigation must be useful but it doesn’t have to be boring. I am starting to see a number of online retailers use icons or even images within their main navigation to make it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for.
Visual presentations are perfect ways to help your visitors find what they want. A perfect example of this is demonstrated by Fitbit. This is perfect for those who have seen a Fitbit and know what it looks like but aren’t aware of the model.
To help shoppers make informed buying decisions it’s important that you have content that helps to not only sell the product but help them buy into your company. It’s also a great way for shoppers to get to know your brand and start a relationship with you. A great example of this is by Fitbit, they have created an educational centre that creates a hub for those that have a Fitbit. Not only will this help to attract new customers it helps to retain existing customers and gives them a reason to come back to your site.
Top tip: The majority of products people purchase fit into their lifestyle and are chosen for a reason. Creating content that assists with their lifestyles means you can foster a longer relationship with these shoppers.
Just because you’re an e-commerce business it doesn’t mean shoppers won’t be interested in learning more about your products, your business and any other relevant information. In order to get this content noticed it needs to be presented in the right way.
Asos is a great example of how to present this type of content. They promote content that will be relevant to their shoppers like the latest trends and other relevant information that will keep shoppers coming back. This helps to make your marketing effective in the long term because you’re constantly trying to grab your shopper’s attention and help to answer their questions.
Creating valuable content is more than writing a unique product description. Shoppers want more than just your products, they want your expertise and advice. Creating exciting pieces of content like my hand selected examples have done, will help you attract first time customers and retain existing ones.
Do you have any good examples of how e-commerce sites are taking advantage of the power of content? If so, please leave me a comment below with your recommendations.