Bridging the Gap Between In-store and Online: 4 Reasons Your Brand Needs a Product Content Strategy
While the retail industry is still reeling from the realization that digital commerce is edging out brick and mortar, Amazon just had the biggest online retail day in history. The third Amazon Prime Day garnered between $500 million and $600 million in incremental sales, with a 60% increase in global sales and a 50% increase in U.S. sales.
It’s true, we’ve moved beyond the Information Age and entered the Age of the Customer, and customers demand convenience and better shopping experiences. Amazon has cashed in on the new emphasis on convenience and customer-centric selling, but more traditional retailers are struggling to keep up, with more store closures in the first quarter of 2017 than in all of 2016 (see below). Now that ecommerce is all about the customer and convenience, what options do retailers have to ensure they thrive in a digital world?
1. Customers are running the show.
The Age of the Customer isn’t just a fun buzz phrase. More and more retailers are realizing that digital commerce is replacing brick and mortar retail, and online competition is only growing. When retailers like Amazon are talking about having drones deliver groceries, it’s time to step up the way you cater to your customers. While we can’t all have drones delivering our products, there are other ways to focus on how to woo your customers, both online and in brick and mortar.
Millennials are spending more money than ever, and they are demanding a seamless retail experience. The internet has created a new brand of savvy, informed retail customer, researching products online before they buy and while they shop in the store. Because of this shift, the opportunity to win over customers lies in the way you shape your digital strategy.
There are three stages to the buyer’s journey: The Awareness, Consideration, and Decision Stages. Product content reaches the customer in each of those stages, from when they research products before entering a store, to consulting devices while within the store, to when they make their final purchasing decision. That means your product content has three chances to outshine the competition. So whether the store is digital or brick and mortar, product content is the most important factor for consumer decisions.
2. Siloed, disconnected departments don't produce good product content.
What happens when you ask for item information from siloed departments across your organization? With no product content strategy or process, that information is being scraped from different corners of the company with no real method of completion and correction. That’s where the marketing department should come in to create and drive a product content strategy.
Once marketing implements a product content strategy, users are guided by a workflow that allows content to move quickly between departments. Org members know what they are responsible for contributing, content errors can be identified and corrected through validations, and you can send out your product content knowing that it is complete and correct. Not only does having a product content strategy make your product content more attractive to the customer, but it aligns the different departments of your organization, creating fewer headaches for everyone involved.
3. When Product Content Goes Wrong: "Wait, I didn't order this!"
Picture this: you’ve finally justified a pricey gift for yourself (or worse, someone else), and you buy it online, either directly from the brand, or from a third-party e-tailer. You wait out the shipping period patiently--nay, bravely--and finally receive your package, only to find it’s too big, too small, the wrong color, or perhaps doesn’t fit the need you ordered it for.
When companies fail to invest time and money in their product content, it shows. When a customer is unhappy with the product they received due to incomplete or incorrect product content, not only will you lose that customer’s trust, but it is likely they will publicly tell you just how disappointed they are. User-generated content is the not-so-secret weapon to a complete and effective e-commerce strategy. But the only way to be sure your customers are satisfied and your brand stays intact is to invest in your product content to keep your customers (and your marketing department) happy.
4. Your product content talks to your customers before you do.
Crafting a successful, customer-centric digital strategy means providing rich, detailed product content with multiple images and fully populated attributes. Incorporating good product content as part of your brand and having that be cohesive across all digital channels is essential to creating and retaining customer loyalty. Any online retailer knows they are currently competing in a volatile and nebulous landscape, and the only way to stay ahead is by creating the most crowd pleasing online experience possible. In a digital world, cohesive branding and messaging are just as important to your digital strategy as customer service, because your brand and product content speak to your customers for you.
Creating a strategy for how you position your brand in the digital landscape will ensure your customers know that they can count on you for an enjoyable buying experience, and the right product every time. So before you go out and buy a fleet of delivery drones, look closer to home. If you have a strategy to ensure your product content is managed properly, there is no limit to the loyalty and rapport you can build with your customers.
To learn more about why your brand needs a strategy to easily and effectively manage your product content, check out the Edgenet Product Content Playbook.
To see what can happen when your product content is incorrect, watch this video.