Did you know that content marketing is a critical piece of the customer journey? It’s true! In fact, customers rely on content throughout their entire journey, from the initial idea phase to post-purchase use of the product. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that your content is available at every digital touchpoint. We’ll discuss this in more detail below.
What makes content commerce so important?
In the digital age, large parts of customer journeys are moving to digital channels. As a result, more and more customers are shopping online. This trend has been accelerated by the closure of local retailers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Manufacturers and retailers should offer customers a similar shopping experience online as they do in brick-and-mortar stores – but without the personal service of salespeople and without the ability to touch and try out products. The use of online stores as mere product catalogs with checkout functions is not sufficient for this purpose. They cannot “recreate” high-quality customer experiences without content – texts, images, videos, interactive elements.
There is a high demand for advice about technical products, travel, and even fashion. Customers have dozens of questions and need assurance that they are making the right choice. Content can provide the answers they need. Additionally, customers expect to be entertained and inspired while shopping, beyond mere information.
Amazon and global brands are almost impossible to compete with in terms of offering and performance. Almost every product is interchangeable. Content that is unique offers a way to differentiate oneself and to bind customers to a brand.
Channels and content types
Using what types of content can you support their customer journeys and provide unique digital customer experiences?
They may have an online store or digital channels:
- Descriptions of products
- Specifications and technical information, prices, delivery information
- Images, videos, animations of the product and its use
- Purchase advisors, configurators
- FAQs and instructions
- Customer-generated content, such as reviews, testimonials, and case studies
- Blogs, editorials
- Email newsletter
- Microsites, landing pages
Other digital channels:
- Using social media to promote campaigns
- Affiliate marketing and influencer marketing
- Press releases, technical articles, and test reports
- Online reviews
What are the opportunities offered by content commerce?
Content commerce benefits brands and retailers, but what are the benefits? Which opportunities come from investing in content marketing for ecommerce?
Experiences that are high-quality
Shopping online has hardly replaced shopping with friends. It is too technical, too boring, and not as enjoyable. When they needed advice, they went to a store where they could speak with real salespeople.
Using content-driven commerce, brands and retailers can offer their customers better shopping experiences, including advice and excitement.
Increased purchase rate
According to various studies, 60 to 80 percent of online shoppers leave products in their shopping carts but do not complete their purchases. This is because doubts may arise shortly before payment. Typical questions may include, “Does the product really meet our needs? The better informed your customers are, the more likely they are to complete the transaction with you.
A lower rate of return
A SalesCycle study found that one in four products purchased online are returned. About two-thirds of all products ordered in some categories, such as fashion, end up being returned.
The most common reasons are:
- The product looks different in real life than it does in pictures
- The garment runs larger or smaller than usual
- As soon as they try it out, customers realize they were disappointed with the product.
It is possible to prevent your online customers from making the wrong purchase and reduce the number of returns by providing detailed information, photos and videos.
Streamlining customer service
Having fewer returns also means less work for customer service, call centres, and returns processing. Make it easier for your customers to use the product – by providing content like how-to guides and FAQs – so they can use the product skilfully and avoid mistakes. Therefore, they encounter fewer problems they have to resolve through customer service.
Distinction from competitors
There is a good chance your competitors sell similar products or even the same range as yours. Simply based on your products or services, it’s difficult to differentiate yourself. Also, outperforming Amazon in customer service is unlikely.
In ecommerce, your content offers a rare chance to stand out from your competition. Using your unique style of content, you can provide customers with an experience they’ll only get from you.
Despite the digital age, word of mouth and asking friends are still important factors in our buying decisions. However, sending a link to an online store is not exciting. If you distribute unique and entertaining content, it will be easier for your target groups to recommend you via the messenger app among friends or via social media.
Optimization of search engines (SEO)
Targeted searches for products or ideas are often the prelude to a purchase thanks to Google, YouTube, Pinterest, and more. Organic traffic accounts for one-third to one-half of all online store visits on average. By providing good content, you will be discovered more often – not just with your online store, but with all of your marketing channels.
The importance of personalization
As ecommerce companies produce more content, the greater the risk of customers becoming overwhelmed and confused. Personalized content, or content driven by content, is the key to content-driven commerce.
One of the first methods of personalization was the individualized email newsletter. Ecommerce and content management systems today offer customers individual campaigns, products, and information. The store or website looks completely different for different groups of customers or even individuals.
In addition to defining different customer groups, companies can manually assign customers to these groups, such as private customers or business customers, male or female customers. Algorithms are increasingly taking over the task of segmenting customers or visitors based on certain characteristics and showing them customized content. The more information companies have about their customers, the better they perform this task.
Content commerce’s technical implementation
The technical implementation of content commerce is challenging, despite its many benefits for marketing and sales. There used to be a clear division of labour
The online store managed the products, while the content management system handled landing pages, blogs, and other content. There are several other systems that are connected.
Ecommerce and content marketing must be deeply integrated for content-driven commerce to succeed. Implementing this with disparate or partially compatible systems is almost impossible.
What makes it so difficult, and how can it be solved?
Challenges with technology
Data and content are distributed across different systems, which is the fundamental problem. Every system has its own strengths and special functions, making it more or less suitable for certain types of content. The product data might be managed by a store solution, marketing texts by a content management system, images by a digital asset management system, and personalization data by an analytics program.
It is imperative to “assemble” all of this data for a uniform, digital customer experience. However, this is a technically complex process. Marketing managers, content authors, and ecommerce managers need to maintain data in multiple places; often twice or three times, depending on the channel and format.
User experiences vary depending on the channel, such as desktop and app. Additionally, tracking and personalization do not work across channels.
Implementation of a headless CMS
A headless content management system (CMS) is the best way to implement an integrated content commerce system. You connect all the data sources to the CMS.
As if it were native, existing content in the CMS, authors can work with all data and content. Based on the content, they build campaigns and content experiences and create variants to suit the needs of the target audience.
In turn, the content can be delivered to virtually any number of different front ends and channels. All content is controlled by a central system, so customers get consistent experiences across all channels, which enables true omnichannel content marketing.