The Importance of Good Content for E-Commerce
Retail doors may be opening, but the experience inside is hardly business as usual. Product-test areas and touchscreens have become hand sanitizer stations. Packed checkout lines, once reliable for impulse buys, feature X-marks six feet apart. These sanitation measures may seem drastic, but with fears surrounding the highly contagious COVID-19, they’re important adaptations.
Even more essential? E-commerce. The retail landscape has been moving in this direction for over a decade. In 2007, e-commerce accounted for 5.1 percent of total retail purchases. By 2019, it reached 16 percent. And for brands that invested in digital storefronts and e-commerce-driven content before 2020, the work is paying off.
When it Comes to E-Commerce, Content is King
With an almost unfathomable increase in competition, how do brands and retailers stand out online? This million-dollar question has a surprisingly simple answer: content. Good content is going to help you define your brand and show its core values.
Take popular beauty retailer Sephora, which operates over 2,300 stores in more than 30 countries. It shut its doors for months during the pandemic, but kept the Sephora audience engaged with spot-on, immersive content that leads customers through the buying process. Quizzes, including the “Concealer Quiz” and personalized “Skincare Quiz,” are an entire category on the Sephora website. Sure, this quiz content is entertaining, but it’s rooted in e-commerce, both now and for the future.
Another legacy brand poised for e-commerce success? Saks Fifth Avenue. In 2016, Saks introduced a personal online shopping service to test the digital waters. Brand associates create boutique pages for customers with hand-selected merchandise they can discuss one-on-one via live chat or email. That program — implemented four years before COVID-19 — is now more relevant than ever.
It’s Not Too Late to Invest in Content — But it May Be Soon
These innovative e-commerce strategies make sense for Sephora and Saks. But e-commerce adaptations don’t have to be flashy or ultra creative. Success comes down to giving customers what they want, how they want it — and doing so as soon as possible.
For retail powerhouse Target, that was simply a new way to shop. Target’s digital comparable sales grew from 33 percent in February 2020 to 282 percent in April 2020. Furthermore, its same-day services like order pickup and drive-up spiked by 278 percent in the first quarter of 2020. Even as shelter-in-place restrictions ease, this adaptation could become a retail staple.
Retail brands across industries are rapidly acclimatizing to this new normal as well. Home goods store Crate and Barrel and outdoor gear retailer REI also offer sanitary, zero-contact curbside pickup to help customers feel safe and secure while shopping.
Now, that’s great and all, but what does curbside pickup have to do with content? A lot, actually. Think of curbside pickup as the true end of the sales funnel; content is the beginning — and the beginning is arguably the most important part.
Times Are Tough, But There May Be a Light — for Retail Content Creators, at Least
Brands will likely rely on their content partners even more now, especially given changing consumer habits require new creative content strategies, not to mention multiple versions of each content piece for testing. A culture of testing is essential, now more than ever.
Poorly produced content isn't going to engage your audience. Content creators need to understand the customer and the category while bringing their own creative spin to the mix. And at the end of the day, it comes down to quality. Even with the strictest deadlines, you have to keep the quality up. That’s key.
David Gibbons is the director of marketing for Adorama Business Solutions, the technology resource for corporate, educational and government institutions. Offering unparalleled expertise, dedicated service and competitive pricing on hundreds of thousands of products from over 2,200 brands for all your professional equipment needs.
David Gibbons is the director of marketing at Adorama. He has been involved as a marketing professional for over 20 years. His background includes significant experience with working with brick & mortar and e-commerce retail brands like Party City, Spencer’s, Spirit Halloween, Toys R Us, and Adorama. David believes strongly in putting the customer first when it comes to marketing, utilizing input from customers to understand their needs and positioning the brand to help solve them.