How to Create Shoppable Content That Converts
Today, 24 million e-commerce stores exist worldwide and yet the industry is still growing. In 2020, retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to $4.28 trillion U.S. dollars, and e-retail revenues are projected to grow to $5.4 trillion U.S. dollars in 2022. This astounding progression shows no signs of stopping with more and more people shopping online, driving organizations in all industries to accelerate their shift from physical to digital. In fact, by the year 2040, it’s estimated that 95 percent of all purchases will be through e-commerce. Brands and retailers of all sizes are painfully aware that they must be prepared to keep up with the ever-growing e-commerce landscape if they want to be part of this trillion-dollar industry. If not, they undoubtedly will be left behind.
Yet, to be truly effective, a traditional online shopping experience requires individuals to search for the specific product they want and, once found, click away from that page to complete the checkout process. Thankfully, technology enables a more customer-centric way of shopping, and brands are adopting an array of solutions to help pave the way for shoppable content. The term shoppable content refers to any material (e.g., images, articles, videos, etc.) that allows consumers to buy the products directly from the content they're viewing in real time, such as Instagram.
Dissecting the Components (and Importance) of Shoppable Content
Brands, retailers and B-to-B companies are placing the delivery of shoppable content at the heart of their e-commerce strategy. It enables them to monetize their product content better and optimize their customers’ purchase experiences. Providing customers with the ability to buy products at the point of inspiration and from any digital channel is the first step; however, it also requires rich product content, vibrant images, interactive videos, and smooth storytelling to make products stand out. Effective shoppable content includes:
- Shoppable images: 34 percent of marketers prefer to use images over videos, making images an obvious choice for shoppable content. In fact, on average, 243,055 new photos are uploaded to Facebook every minute, and 95 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram per day. Savvy brands are showcasing “shop-the-look” concepts by applying images that show consumers design ideas and items so they can see how the pieces look together, as well as individually. They're also allowing shoppers to click on these images to learn pertinent details such as size, color, texture and material, and then quickly check out right there or add the product to their cart.
- Shoppable articles: Narrative articles and blog posts are another way to inspire consumers and influence them towards making a purchase. In fact, 57 percent of marketers that utilize blogs say they get more customers thanks to these narratives. Product images used in blog posts are assigned individual hotspots or "Buy Now" buttons to allow individuals to add products directly to their cart without interrupting the reading experience.
- Shoppable social media: Pinterest and Instagram are two highly visual social platforms that introduced shopping features that allow businesses to promote and sell products. Pinterest was one of the first, creating “buyable pins” that companies could attach to images or videos so shoppers could purchase products directly within the app. Similarly, shoppable features within Instagram include a shopping bag icon for images and a shopping sticker for videos. Both features take users to a brand’s product page when the shopper is ready to check out.
The benefits of shoppable social media can’t be denied, but the fact is shoppable content comes in many forms. One common trait is that each type of shoppable content focuses on keeping customers engaged and inspired by providing compelling yet straightforward shopping experiences. For example, Pinterest allows brands to reach a vast audience, but this is only valuable if they reach the right people with the right message. So how can B-to-B and B-to-C companies make product content shoppable?
To enhance the digital experience, drive more traffic to e-commerce sites, and keep engaging consumers, organizations need to start by creating the content audiences want and quickly provide them with an overall enriching experience across all channels.
The average amount of time consumers spend on a website is 15 seconds, meaning brands must capture the attention of their customers within the first 10 to retain interest. Creating rich images and videos that positively showcase products helps stop viewer defection. Still, images need to be photographed well by changing the image format from JPG to JPEG2000 or by using WebP to improve quality and loading speed. Organizations are also adding 3D so viewers can spin 360° or zoom on an image as the inability to do so sufficiently hampers the users’ product exploration process — an issue that occurs on 11 percent of e-commerce sites.
The next step is to provide complete, accurate and consistent product information. In fact, 40 percent of consumers have abandoned purchases due to poor product content, and 18 percent said they returned an item purchased online due to an inaccurate description.
Leveraging Technology to Streamline the Shoppable Experience
To help manage the complexities and requirements of creating a solid shoppable experience, brands are looking at technologies such as digital experience platforms (DXP), digital asset management (DAM), and product information management (PIM) to help. Gartner defines a digital experience platform as an integrated set of technologies based on a common platform that provides a broad range of audiences with consistent, secure and personalized access to information and applications across many digital touchpoints.
PIM and DAM solutions play an integral role as they're used to fuel the DXP and ensure relevant product information and digital assets are published and/or syndicated to various channels, marketplaces, and e-commerce sites. These solutions also help brands ensure product data and digital assets are managed effectively, that product content meets high-quality standards as well as automatically syncs up-to-date product content and digital assets.
These technologies also cut down the time needed to create shoppable content. Previously, organizations were forced to reinvent the back end of their e-commerce sites. This isn't an easy task because many brands and retailers manage product information and digital assets in multiple silos within and outside their organization, limiting how they can control their product content and everything associated with it. Leveraging PIM and DAM together is a start, but creating shoppable content requires a harmonized creation process to successfully craft and deliver content that converts.
While product content will continue to evolve to support touchpoints and manage a compelling digital experience, it’s up to businesses to make it relevant, engaging and enticing. By optimizing the shoppable content process, brands can reduce shopper defection and deliver the most relevant shopping experience possible.
Jennifer Krizanek is chief marketing officer at Contentserv, the leading provider of personalized, product experience management solutions that enables brand owners and retailers to easily manage and optimize product information.
Jennifer Krizanek is CMO at Contentserv, the leading provider of personalized, Product Experience Management solutions that enables brand owners and retailers to easily manage and optimize product information. To learn more visit them at https://www.contentserv.com/en/ or follow them on Twitter.