E-Commerce

4 Tips for Creating Successful Content in Online Retail

Content is king - even in e-commerce! High-quality texts and storytelling play an important role in online shopping. With the right content, online retailers can generate traffic and increase conversion rates.

Content and commerce go together like gin and tonic in the dot.com era. From helpful cleaning tips for new trainers to the latest trends round-ups, plus thriving social media accounts, many online shops offer more than just the sale of goods.
In today’s crowded marketplaces, retailers can set themselves apart from their competitors with high-quality and useful content. In fact, visitors attracted by this content can be turned into buyers, and in the long term, even into loyal customers. Therefore, the topic of “content commerce” is becoming increasingly popular.

Content Commerce

Content commerce refers to the symbiosis of “content” and “commerce” or the bringing together of “editorial staff” and “product”. Behind this lies a strategic approach that links high-quality content with products on offer.

Why is content commerce becoming more and more important in online retail?

One reason for the growing importance of content in online retail is to create long-term loyal customers through interesting and, above all, helpful content.
In addition, search engines rate websites with high-quality content better. Thus, the chance that online retailers will rank in top places is relatively high.
Customers should be supplied with content along the entire customer journey. Whether they are in the education or evaluation stage or have already placed their order, content can be used in all phases of the customer journey – even after clicking the checkout button.

Which kind of content can online retailers offer their customers?

There are several ways to deliver exciting content to customers. From corporate blogs to detailed product descriptions to how-to-manuals – there is the right format for every retailer.

1.   Product descriptions

Product descriptions are the be-all and end-all in online retail. They often decide whether the customer buys a product or not. Detailed and informative product information is all the more important for items that require explanation. Additional features, such as appealing product images or videos, are perceived positively by customers. Therefore, a product description should always provide a decision-making aid.
Text robots can also be used to create product descriptions. The added bonus of these is that they can be updated automatically. In addition, descriptions can be added quickly and easily to new products.

Weber BBQ’s produce fun and insightful product descriptions

2.   Blog

The value of a corporate blogs is regularly greatly underestimated. However, they are often the key to building brand awareness and increasing sales. Well-written, information and target-group-specific blog posts are one of the most successful instruments in the content sector.
Which topics can be included? Information on new products, company news, industry news or case studies – varied content always goes down well with customers. When writing, companies should ensure they research keywords correctly to help boost search engine rankings for the subject.

H&M Magazine features relevant and engaging content for their customers

3.   Advice texts

Which jeans are right for my body shape, or which vacuum cleaner is suitable for my home? Advice texts help ensure that the product ultimately meets the customer’s requirements. By providing these, the online retailer demonstrates its specialist knowledge and establishes itself as an expert in its field. In doing so, the retailer strengthens their customer’s trust. Indeed, those who advise their customers well are rewarded with customer loyalty.

4.   Discussion board

Discussion boards allow customers to exchange information and ask questions. If used correctly, customer service enquiries will likely decrease enormously. These are particularly useful when it comes to products that need more explanation than usual – e.g. a BBQ. Customers can share their experiences with the product and advise other customers on the purchase. Therefore, discussion boards are perfect for online retailers, reducing enquiries to their sales and customer service teams.

5.   Newsletter

Newsletters are great instruments for distributing content. Customers should be able to easily register for the company’s newsletter in the online shop. The newsletter itself should inform customers about the latest products or company news. In addition, promotions or discounts can be included.

Topshop’s newsletters include product details, links to social sites and user-generated content

4 tips to create successful content and how to use it

There’s no point creating content if it isn’t good quality and informative to the customer. When producing and distributing content, retailers should consider the following important tips:

1.   Great quality pays off

Content should be beneficial to customers. Indeed, great content is the be-all and end-all. Content only brings added value to the online retailer if it is of high quality and addresses the needs of the customer.
In addition, content on websites should be available in multiple languages to make it available to all customers.

2.  Convey emotions

Playing into people’s emotions is a useful way to generate attention for products. Indeed, the act of purchasing is emotional, and many people feel anticipation whilst waiting for the parcel to arrive.
The level of emotion varies depending on the person and product of course. Therefore, it should be considered whether product descriptions should feature factual or emotional texts. For example, a cooking pot is less of an emotional purchase than a pair of shoes, so the description style should vary.

3.  Use content even after checkout

Content is not only important during the order process, but also during shipping. Shipping is the key to customer loyalty and one of the most important phases of the customer journey. Unfortunately, many online retailers forget this and allow the delivery carrier to communicate with their customer instead.
Shipping messages are perfect for the integrating content into. This content can include product recommendations, competitions or user-generated content. The possibility is (almost) endless).

Example Shipping Notifications

Personalised shipping communication examples!

View Examples

4.  Consider multiple channels

Good content should not only be published in the online shop. Important channels such as social media should be included in the content plan. In particular, Instagram has become a sales generator in its own right. By sharing user-generated content, a retailer can retail brand ambassadors which will in turn drive brand awareness and traffic.

Conclusion

As consumers fall more and more out of love with traditional advertising, content-driven commerce is a genuine way for brands to connect with their customers. Not only does it differentiate them from their competitors, but it also gives the brand a personality that the customer can relate to. By following the helpful tips above, retailers can create compelling and informative content along the entire customer journey, from checkout to shipping to returns.

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Avatar About the Author

Katharine

Katharine is Content and Marketing Manager for parcelLab’s London office. An avid shopper, Katharine is passionate about helping retailers understand the importance of efficient post-purchase communications. When she isn’t looking for the latest trends for our blog, Katharine loves discovering new restaurants in London.

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