How to tell your product stories online
Increased online shopping and a more competitive ecommerce sector mean brands and retailers can’t afford for their product listings to lack detail
Consumer shopping habits are changing faster than ever because of Covid-19, and brands will win online if they can tell their product story as well as they do their brand story.
This was the message from David Copeland, senior product manager at product information management company inRiver.
During the Festival of Marketing session ‘Digging into digital commerce insights to maximise revenue’ he pointed out that 78% of searches online do not include a brand name. This means consumers are seeing an unlimited assortment of products to choose from when they search.
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The pressure is therefore on marketers to ensure their product content is engaging and informative.
“There is a digital-first reality going on, and marketers must make data-driven decisions when it comes to how they display products on their website and across social channels,” said Copeland. “For high-engagement purchases, customers are self-directing their buying processes, which start with products and not brands. The pandemic has accelerated consumers’ shift away from shopping in physical stores.”
He said more purchasing experiences are beginning on social media, and ending with orders being made on a smartphone and then shipped to homes or to a click-and-collect service.
Copeland admitted that it can be difficult to know exactly what product content is likely to prompt buying decisions, but there is a direct correlation between search and conversion. The key is to not be afraid to experiment and to follow the data.
“Speed is crucial, and so is being able to get your arms around the data to collect the insights,” he said. He outlined some top tips for ecommerce product content.
Ensuring each item has a descriptive title that helps consumers find the product, and experimenting with different titles each quarter, adapting them for different buying seasons
Using high-quality product images and showing the product from different angles
Including a clear product description that lists important information such as size, weight and special features
Using rich content such as video
Including customer testimonials
Providing some details on availability, including how many items are in stock and the expected delivery time
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Marketers should also run regular audits, because things can go wrong when products are listed on different marketplaces. For example, pictures or key product content can be missing or not displayed. There are also examples of retailers mixing up brand and product information, which can harm consumer confidence and impact negatively on conversion rates.
Copeland advised brands to move away from just using spreadsheets and to invest in product information management (PIM) technology to improve the digital customer experience. Technology can help with auditing and to generate the data-driven insight that is essential to make informed product content decisions.
“You need to be gathering engagement intelligence and bringing it back into your system so you can experiment and have a fighting chance to win online,” said Copeland. “It’s a very crowded place, but there are a lot of opportunities. You cannot just let your product content sit there on the digital shelf.”
He advised marketers to look at some best-practice examples when it comes to getting product descriptions right on their own website. He cited Amazon as a role model for how to list products and use images effectively.
“Product information is more important than it has ever been. It is the digital front door for your business, so you want to tell your product story as best you can.”■
inRiver's David Copeland on the things you need to do to win online