Build Content You Can Bank On: 5 Strategies to Drive Online Conversions
Delivering the right content at the right time often can mean the difference between a sale and a lost customer, and in this economic environment, that’s a chance no catalog/multichannel retailer can afford to take.
Creating dynamic content that entices customers to order your merchandise and creates memorable shopping experiences is essential to maximizing traffic, conversion rates and average order size. Follow these five steps to help you accomplish that goal:
1. Provide easy-to-access product content. More than 85 percent of online shopping trips start with the search key, so it’s vital to invest in both paid and natural search. Monitor the search terms used on referring search engines and your site; then evaluate the right keywords to focus on as well as your competitors’ use of those keywords.
Optimize product catalog search, guided navigation and dynamic merchandising. Guided navigation is a great tool to provide the right content to your audience and drive sales in key areas. With guided navigation, a retailer can help focus a customer’s search by controlling the sort order of products and how they're displayed, effectively helping to influence purchases.
2. Categorize and segment content for accuracy. Understand who your customers are, and personalize products and offers according to their profiles. Categorize products in a logical and intuitive manner that makes it easy for your customers to navigate. Most importantly, merchandise should be portrayed accurately. Manufacturing content syndication allows for two-way transfer of catalog content directly to the retailer from the manufacturer — easily ensuring this information is correct.
3. Create additional product-related content. Creating additional content that can be easily coupled to products is one of the easiest ways for a retailer to make its site a destination for customers. Contextual selling, such as “How-tos” and “Tips and Tricks” are great ways to lure in consumers and position your company as an expert in its field. Once on the site, you can sell additional products to your customers when they're “captive” and interested in learning more.
4. Use visual product content. Use visual content to appeal to a multitude of your customers’ senses, creating rich and compelling shopping experiences. Visual content is one of the key brand-building tools for retailers. A visually impactful site that maximizes use of video, animation, virtual modeling, zoom and swatching helps create an experience that matches in-store, generates word-of-mouth and drives conversions.
5. Empower consumers to write content. Getting customers involved is the best way to create a destination site, while at the same time providing content that you wouldn't be able to create otherwise. Ratings and reviews, customer comments, and other original, unbiased content are great ways to keep your customers engaged with your brand to drive return visits.
Finally, continuously review your strategies and customer data to enhance and improve on what works and what doesn’t. With dynamic and compelling merchandising content that draws customers in, you can create the type of interactive shopping experience that drives conversions.
Scott Todaro is senior director of product strategy at Demandware, developer of an enterprise-class, on-demand e-commerce platform.