4 Steps to Rich Shoppable Content That Converts
Retailers are more aware than ever of the power of rich, impactful digital experiences. More than 50 percent of in-store sales were influenced by digital channels in 2015, and that number will just continue to grow as customers expect fresh and interactive content. In a recent Demandware and L2 report, industry experts explored four strategies that brands must prioritize to cut through the noise and deliver engaging digital experiences to their customers:
1. Embedded video: Video can be a powerful tool, but if integrated poorly it can actually hurt the customer journey by pulling the customer out of the buying process. L2 stresses that video content needs to live on or link back to a product page, allowing the shopper to continue down the purchase path and hopefully add to cart. Video can be a costly investment, so retailers have to make every frame count.
2. User-generated content: UGC is most effective when it exists directly on the product page, encouraging the shopper to buy by providing information from sources that they can trust — other customers. UGC assists brand marketers by allowing customers to do the advertising for them.
3. Guided selling tools: Shoppable experiences are especially successful when they incorporate guided selling tools. This can include everything from a sophisticated product grid with interactive features to rich media content that pushes upsells. What makes these tools powerful is their "shoppability," allowing the customer to make their purchase as soon as they're inspired, without leaving the page. Retailers use these tools to guide customers to the best fit, the complete outfit, and to get them closer to their products.
4. Leveraging rich, shoppable content: Integrating rich content into the customer journey prevents the dreaded e-commerce dead end, directly driving conversion rates and revenue. Valuable content should allow customers to explore the brand and products while they shop, instead of making them choose. This encourages the buy without forcing it, creating an organic path to purchase.
One brand providing an exemplary digital shopping experience is New York & Company, as evidenced through its Soho Jeans experience, which features a visual and clickable guide to its denim collection. With this campaign, New York & Company has created a complete rich media experience that both focuses on the customer through contextualized, shoppable content, while also correlating with the desired metrics of the brand.
The Soho Jeans experience includes all the important performance attributes that contribute to what L2 refers to as a “Genius” digital experience. The guided selling tools quickly follow with highly informative, in-depth descriptions of each fit of the new Soho Jeans to properly educate the customer on which fit may be right for her, complete with high-resolution images of models. Displaying the jeans in the context of a completed outfit offers inspiration to customers on how to best achieve the “look.” New York & Company’s Soho Jeans digital experience is just one of many initiatives that industry leaders should take notice of if they wish to bring their e-commerce experiences to new heights.
However, there are still barriers to making shoppable content like New York & Company’s. The Content Marketing Institute released a whitepaper declaring resource constraints as the biggest hurdle for retailers, including a lack of bandwidth and budget. Brands believe this sort of interactive content is too expensive and time consuming to produce regularly. Features like embedded video, lifestyle images, hotspotting and UGC are seen as out of reach — and too difficult to create. But these are the features that create beautiful customer journeys as well as streamlined paths to purchase and are therefore more than worth the investment.
Brian Rigney is the CEO of Zmags, a company that helps brands create rich shoppable content without coding.
Brian Rigney, CEO of Zmags, has over twenty years’ experience leading high performing, entrepreneurial teams in launching new businesses and bringing innovative new products to market. For more information on Zmags, please visit their website and follow the company on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.