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Why High Quality Content is Paramount to Winning at the Digital Shelf

Posted By: SGK January 15, 2018

eCommerce is obviously a huge priority for CPG companies and retailers. While we know this, the quality of execution here in the market is varying widely.

The right product content and eCommerce strategies are essential to succeed. Today, eCommerce sales of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) accounts for around 1.5 percent of total sales in the U.S. Over the next 10 years, that percentage is expected to grow to around 9 percent and is a major component of CPG growth.

That is not only very significant growth opportunity, but it also represents the disproportionate amount of growth for the CPG and retail industries over that decade.

It is critical that companies win in this space, as the benefits include:

  • Driving speed-to-market
  • Cost efficiencies
  • Brand consistencies

All of those things are part of getting eCommerce right. The reality is, there is really no other alternative.

WATCH: Key Strategies for Winning at the Digital Shelf  

Thirty percent of consumers are willing to click past the first page, so if you think about driving search results and engagement, it is critical to have content well managed.

We also know that rich content drives market share gains in sales growth. Think of eCommerce not only as another retail channel, but another marketing channel in a way to drive your brand.

Eighty-seven percent of consumers are rating product content as extremely important, yet only a third are satisfied with what they’re finding in the market. This may result in abandoned carts and lost sales. So even though we know about the importance of e-content, there seems to still be a disconnect.

What can we do about it?

Winning at the digital shelf requires a strategic and integrated approach. We call out integrated, because these things need to be a cross-functional effort. These efforts also need to be thoughtful within your brands and budget in determining where you’re going to invest.

We’ve outlined 5 areas we feel are critically important to focus on:

Not only are these areas of strategic importance, but also they are low hanging fruit in which brands can leverage and see impact in right away.

eCommerce Product Content. When we look at a product detail page on a retailer site, the above the fold content includes product images, bullet copy, and product title. This is called the basic content — focused around the product and what is indexed in search.

On the product detail page you also have the below the fold, advanced content (on Amazon this is called A+ content). This area could involve both static and rich media content, like videos or infographics that really extends the conversation with the consumer and gives them something to engage with.

Make consumer discovery and engagement with products easier.

Once you get the basic content right, brands can move along to enhanced content for top-selling or high potential products. Those can involve anything from new products or account specific SKUs to further engage consumers.

Retailer Site Search Rankings. Search rankings drive findability on an online retailers site. So, it’s important for a brand to aim to rank on page 1 and at the top of an online retailer’s search results for the key terms.

Search rankings are influenced by:

  • Product title copy
  • Right key words in title and descriptions
  • Sales rank
  • Compliance with retailer requirements

Brands need to continually monitor where their products rank for key search terms. Adjust your key search terms to ensure the product content reinforces brand equities while it also answers common consumer questions.

Ratings & Reviews. Consumer feedback is an important driver at the digital shelf. Sixty-nine percent of all consumers will search the Internet for online reviews of a product before making a decision to purchase. Shoppers use rating and reviews to filter product selections and compare to competitors to narrow down their consideration set.

Brands can use the insight from consumer reviews to develop additional product content to drive its ability to influence consumers.

Mobile Screen Optimization. As we know, more and more consumers are choosing to shop on their mobile device, and that’s a trend we’ll continue to see throughout the year. A lot of this is due to the convenience and time saving aspect of shopping. Because of this, products need to be recognizable on small screens.

Increasingly, shoppers are using their mobile phones for online shopping, especially for replenishment products. The key information mobile shoppers are looking for in order to purchases are: brand, product, size and variant cues.

Consumers frequently add the wrong item to their cart when images aren’t optimized for mobile display. This creates frustration and a negative consumer experience, which decreases the likelihood to repurchase the product if they made a mistake the first time.

Pricing. Online pricing is competitive, highly transparent and a basis for comparison-shopping. Therefore, companies need to monitor and understand how their products are priced relative to competitors and do this on a daily basis. Rigor of monitoring is needed to preserve brand equity and also ensure retailer compliance to Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) policies.

Rather than competing solely on price, manufacturers should also look at alternatives such as:

  • Differentiating their products on features and benefits
  • Developing account specific SKUs
  • Alternate pricing strategies like bundled promotions and quantity discounts

It is also important to refresh content regularly based on retailer analytics and other content/consumer insights. Overall, good, comprehensive product content influences search rankings on many retailer sites, including Amazon. Always remember to communicate in an engaging way.

We tend to be focused on optimizing our own brands, but we also need to maintain an external consumer perspective and tailor content to what they’re looking for. Upon a brand audit, we can identify gaps and plan content more efficiently and provide information to the consumer that pushes them over the hurdle of purchase decision-making.