High-Frequency Content: The Retail Game Changer
In today’s changing retail landscape, brands must continually evolve to consistently reach and stay relevant for their target audience. With the growth of e-commerce and omnichannel retail, larger brands are finding it increasingly challenging to reach consumers. Additionally, with the millennial generation becoming an increasingly important demographic, the way brands used to engage shoppers is no longer applicable. In the age of social media, iPads and smartphones, global brands must digitally excite their loyal customer base. The ability to effectively reach shoppers through high-frequency content will be a game changer in today’s environment.
Noticing the challenges that global retailers are facing when it comes to content and commerce, a recent e-commerce localization report from Amplience and L2 found that 70 percent of global marketers report increased content budgets for 2015. In addition, a majority (66 percent) reported wanting to do more than just localize. They want to deliver localized, high-frequency content — i.e., high-quality content that's refreshed often; weekly according to 40 percent of respondents or monthly, according to 26 percent.
With digital content continuing to take precedence in the e-commerce industry, those who can deliver high-frequency content gain an advantage amongst consumers. Deloitte Digital’s Digital Divide report highlights how digital content is a critical influencer for 30 percent to 50 percent of all sales transactions across the retail industry. This emphasizes the challenge big retail giants face.
The Amplience/L2 report brought the challenge into sharp focus, sharing the reasons large retail brands are unsuccessful with digital content. Retailers face difficulties with production complexity, including the high costs associated with delivering relevant digital commerce experiences across all contexts and channels. The report found that only 39 percent of retailers localize content on their websites’ homepages, with an even bleaker 17 percent of retailers localizing editorial content. User-generated content was localized by only 7 percent of respondent, and lookbooks and product guides by a meager 5 percent. Finally, fewer than one-quarter (23 percent) were able to localize reviews.
Retailers are well aware that this lack of merchandising sophistication represents a missed opportunity. According to the L2/Amplience report, “Eighty-three percent of marketers who localize content believe that it improves customer experience, highlighting a widespread belief that brand messaging should adapt to local nuance by market.” However, being aware of the issue and being able to resolve it are two very different things.
Only half of retailers use a consistent information system across global e-commerce sites, according to the report. This may be one issue, but it's indicative of a wider problem. Over time, retailers have acquired a fragmented set of channel-specific tools and content silos, and that creates a content complexity problem that drives costs up and makes it practically impossible to localize content across the board.
Of course, this is all being played out in the context of a highly competitive, fast-moving market. Therefore, on the flip side of this challenge, for established retailers this is an opportunity — one that smaller, nimbler retailers will seize sooner or later. Agile by content cost and complexity issues, smaller retailers will be far better placed to deliver the digital content experiences that drive significant commercial benefits in every retail angle.
Big retailers have the advantage of deep pockets, scale and name brand presence. However, if they're to remain on top they must transform. Specifically, they must find smart ways to consolidate diverse, channel-specific solutions and silos, as well as move to single, digital content platforms that will enable them to streamline content production and automate channels. This in turn increases exposure and measurement performance to maximize returns on every content investment.
Not every retailer will make the leap. Those that do not risk serious consequences at a time when content is so important to customer engagement, and therefore sales performance.
Rory Dennis is the general manager, North America, at Amplience, a SaaS-based platform that enables brands to produce digital campaign and product media.
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Rory Dennis, Co-Founder & GM, North America, Amplience
Rory co-founded Amplience and is GM of Amplience in the United States, developing Amplience's presence in North America. Rory previously worked as Business Development Manager for O2 Telefonica's Interactive Media Team.