In the world of digital commerce crowded with mobile devices, your customers are omni-present and always online. According to Forrester Research, regardless of whether the purchase is ultimately executed in a brick-and-mortar store or online, more than 40% of US retail sales are influenced by information that customers find online. In this context, online product information needs to tell a compelling story – one that appeals individually to each customer and is aligned where they are in the buying journey.
In addition, each customer’s interaction with your ecommerce site and a given product story is a direct interaction with your brand promise. Although we often think of the brand promise as the company’s positioning in the marketplace, each customer’s interaction with your company and your products is an opportunity to fulfill that unique understanding of your brand promise. Failure to do this can result in irreparable harm to your brand essence in the mind of that customer.
Further to this concept, when a customer proceeds through the online purchase experience – from search and selection to payment and fulfillment – they are forming a concrete opinion about your company and brand. When the product finally arrives on their doorstep, the customer experiences a reaction to your brand, whether it is excitement, satisfaction or disappointment. If this in-person experience with the product matches their expectations of the product and positive online experience, you have a much better chance of a positive fulfillment of your brand promise.
Would you want it any other way?
Telling a compelling story for each and every product can be a daunting task. With more rapid product release cycles, greater proliferation of goods and brands, and ever-expanding markets, touch points and localization needs, product information that needs continual creation, tracking, and modification is growing exponentially. As a result, marketing and merchandizing organizations can spend an inordinate amount of time and resources managing and disseminating product information across multiple media, all in an attempt to be agile and responsive to customers’ needs.
However, the risk of not engaging in these efforts could result in severe damage to your brand in the marketplace. Here are some key things to keep in mind when you are developing your product stories:
- Keep SEO best practices in mind. Use copy that contains the keywords and phrases that you know customers search on.
- If different channels have unique content requirements, such as description length, media type and the number of images, address those requirements upfront so you can control what information will be displayed.
- Categorize and cross-reference your products to assist the customer in finding complementary products and accessories. (Read how Icebreaker has grown sales using personalized product recommendations, for example.)
- Consider automating this process to streamline your efforts and ensure consistent information across channels.
Managing your product content may be perceived by some in the organization to be simply an “operations” or “marketing communications” issue. However, compelling product stories not only can increase your conversion rate, but also can be a boon for your brand—increasing revenue and resulting in a throng of loyal, satisfied customers.