E-Commerce Innovation Through Content That Converts
You may have visual content on your website, but is it converting your visitors into customers? With the many common e-commerce challenges faced by retailers, my guess is not as many as you would like.
It’s no surprise that industry conversion rates have stopped climbing at their previous levels. According to the Forrester report “The State of Retailing Online 2016,” only 6 percent of retailers are seeing conversion rates higher than 10 percent, with most retailers’ rates hovering between 1 percent and 3 percent.
Some of those barriers to increasing conversions include a complicated path to purchase, poor omnichannel design and uninspiring content.
There's a solution to these issues: creating compelling digital shopping experiences that provide value to customers. Let’s take a closer look at rich content and some examples of simple hits that you can implement to increase conversion, average order value and time on site from your content marketing efforts.
Quick views are an easy win for retailers. They allow consumers to add products to their cart without having to leave the experience that inspired them to add the item to the cart in the first place. This instant conversion means consumers can continue exploring — and adding more items to their carts — without experiencing a jarring page load that removes them from your brand experience. Once they've reached that “gotta have it” mind-set, a quick view will help them convert instantly.
Without quick views, consumers are left to their own devices. Nothing makes a potential customer lose interest like being forced to search through product grids for something they already know they want.
You have likely spent significant time and resources on your content; make it easy for your customers to buy and then continue interacting with the rich media experience you've so carefully planned.
This can be one of the most challenging tasks for retailers, but it’s also one of the most important. As consumers come to expect and appreciate your frequent web content updates, they’ll return more often to experience and purchase new items. Fresh content is a fantastic way to represent your brand in crisp, new ways and build loyalty with tangible value to your customers. Taking inspiration from the latest trends, pop culture events and holidays is an easy way to create content that’s new and unique.
New York & Company took fresh content to a new level in the spring of 2016. When Beyoncé dropped her surprise “Lemonade” album, New York & Company jumped on the opportunity. The retailer already had a lemon-themed collection, so it immediately created a buying guide celebrating Beyoncé’s album. It was relevant and fresh content, and no one else could do it so quickly. Therefore, it was no surprise that the collection sold out almost instantly.
With 56 percent of e-commerce traffic coming from mobile devices, it’s more important than ever for retailers to provide rich responsive content. Mobile shopping is like “content snacking” — i.e., customers will leave if they aren’t satisfied, but will finish if they are satisfied. Mobile content has to be engaging and easy to navigate, and the purchase process must be as easy and painless as possible. When designing content, keep in mind that it should translate flawlessly to a mobile screen without losing the initial impact. Consider how and when consumers use their phones, as well as the limited real estate a mobile screen provides. Consumers’ expectations of a mobile user experience likely aren’t the same as on desktop.
Some easy ways to ensure your content translates to a mobile experience are integrating quick views for on-the-go purchases, shortening text blocks for streamlined viewing or considering a mobile-first design strategy.
Compiling products into curated collections lets consumers relate and connect those items to their own lives. A collection theme — e.g., what’s trending, an upcoming holiday or products for specific personas — gives the experience context. This experience should take everything that the customer could want and place it on one easy-to-shop page. And the clear framework makes it effortless for consumers to connect to your brand.
No one does curated collections like Godiva. The chocolatier's Gold Collection experience presents the chocolate series in a way that's easy to navigate and rich in content. It presents the brand’s most luxurious chocolates all on one page and functions as a one-stop shop for customers. And with instant shoppability, it’s a well-constructed experience and gives consumers no reason not to buy.
Guided selling content is an impactful way to lead consumers down the path to purchase without forcing them into buying. Think of it as e-commerce hand-holding. It’s a robust way to inspire the consumer and show them what they need before they even realize it themselves. A good guided selling experience should give consumers a reason to buy.
There are three keys to guided selling. First, make it relevant; second, make it easy; and third, make it fun. Marks & Spencer’s “School Uniform Checklist” experience is a great example. It’s perfectly relevant for parents doing last-minute back-to-school shopping. Everything they could possibly need (from pants to shoes) is found on one page, making the buying process quick and simple, and the bright colors and playful graphics make it much more entertaining than a stale product grid.
The e-commerce space is crowded, and today’s shoppers are tech savvy. They’re no longer satisfied by — or loyal to — retailers with cumbersome and unimaginative shopping experiences.
From quick views to guided selling, the above suggestions can completely transform your content strategy. Rich content creation needs to be a priority for retail marketers. It’s an investment that, when done right, will drive conversion, engagement and brand loyalty.
Brian Rigney is the CEO of Zmags, a shoppable content company that empowers marketing and e-commerce professionals to create engaging digital experiences in minutes.
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.