How Online Product Content Enhances the Consumer Retail Experience
To provide context on the importance of e-commerce product content, a survey by Namagoo, a company that tracks and helps companies with digital customer experience, found that out of the ten top reasons consumers listed for what makes a great online shopping experience, six of these ten top reasons were all product content related or influenced by product content.
Additionally, consumers have said that other important factors include:
• Clear and ample product images that answered their questions
• Product reviews that are endorsed by other people like them
• Product descriptions that give more information
• The ability to easily find the product that they were looking for in search
• Easily recognize products on mobile devices
In a very visual world, a lot of people depend on the images first when they are shopping online. They may support that with reading a company’s content, but product images need to be able to stand alone — in fact, any visual content needs to be able to stand alone.
When thinking about e-commerce core content, the role of that core content really is to help online shoppers quickly identify the products that they are looking for, recognize, and quickly add to cart. It’s also to give them the information they need to get them over any hurdles to purchase.
What is the goal of e-commerce product content?
The ultimate goal of e-commerce product content is to actually persuade consumers to buy, and that could be either through the brand story, the product story, or important details that support the credibility of the product.
Ensure the product title stands out.
One of the most important aspects of core product content is the product title. The title appears on the product detail page, but it’s also what shows up in search listings both on desktop and mobile. It also appears in search listings along with the primary image of the product, so it’s actually the most critical to get right.
For retailer site search e-commerce optimization, which is the algorithm that retailer sites use to make your product findable in search listings, it is important to make sure that, for product copy, it includes the right keywords that consumers are using to both search for the product as well as keywords that are related to the product category. Additionally, these are the keywords that the retailer also uses to optimize for search, so the right keywords are necessary for the product to show up in the search listings and can be found by consumers.
Choose the right images.
The other key piece is the product images that appear in the image gallery or carousel in the product detail page. The goal is to aim for a minimum of six or seven high resolution, high quality images. On Amazon for example, there are up to seven slots that appear in the primary gallery, and then there is the option to click through for additional images. Therefore, it is important to understand through key retailers to determine how many images they support and how many it makes sense to offer.
The images should include the key information that is important to consumers, and images need to be able to stand on their own. Eye tracking studies have shown that consumers often just look at the images for information and may not read the accompanying product copy, so the images should convey all the information potential customers need, even if they don’t read the copy.
Make your assets work on mobile displays.
As consumers shop on their mobile phones, especially for products that they want to replenish, brands should try to include a mobile version of the primary product image. Size and quantity are the biggest areas of confusion when consumers are shopping online, so it’s important to provide size or quantity context and give as much information as makes sense on other product specifications.
The primary product image is the most important image to get right because it also shows up in the search listings along with the product title. Besides those two pieces of content, including a short form video is also suggested. Video has been shown to provide a sales uplift when it’s included on the product detail page. A short video, 1.5 minutes or less, is ideal. The video can be used to reinforce product benefits and features, usage, and also show other varieties of the product that are available on the retailer’s site.
Ask for reviews and ratings.
The last vital aspect of core product content is reviews and ratings. A lot of consumers read at least three reviews before deciding to buy a product. These reviews can create both sales traffic and uplift, and so it’s important to get as many positive and recent reviews as possible.
One way to increase the number of reviews is to ask consumers for reviews through means such as Amazon giveaways and promotions and by driving traffic there through social networks. The goal is to get a minimum of fifteen positive reviews and an average rating of 4 stars or above. Brands should also respond to both positive and negative reviews as quickly as possible so that it extends consumer satisfaction that their questions are being heard.
There is an opportunity for brands to align their marketing campaigns to their ecommerce strategy — especially with Millennials and younger consumers, the way your product content is presented online offers an overall enhanced retail experience.
Key Strategies to Drive the Omnichannel Experience
Customers are in control and their experiences are increasingly digital. This digitization is creating an explosion of channels that demand more content. Leading brands are realizing that brand management is dead, and that a shift to delivering brand experience is taking its place.
In our next BrandSquare webinar, join Rachelle Sokan, engagement manager, client solutions, at SGK, as she shares key insights, strategies and actions you can implement within your organization to deliver the customer experience modern consumers are demanding.
Be sure to register now and tune in Wednesday, October 24, 2018 at 1-1:30PM ET.
Register now for: Key Strategies to Drive the Omnichannel Experience
Drive better customer experience through improved omnichannel strategy and content — join us to learn how!
About Rachelle Sokan: Rachelle Sokan is a consultant specializing in content management on SGK’s Client Solutions team, a global brand development and deployment provider. She brings over 19 years of experience in B2B2B and B2B2C environments working with sales and marketing professionals to drive acquisition, retention and growth strategies. With a background deeply rooted in consulting and e-commerce content strategy, Rachelle leverages the power of design thinking with process optimization to elevate and differentiate brands to more meaningfully connect to their customers in an ever-evolving digital landscape.
5 E-Commerce Best Practices Revealed
This blog post has been contributed by Uma Kannappan, Global Product Director, e-Content, SGK.
Product content for consumer packaged goods (CPG) is more important than ever for e-commerce sales. In fact, according to Salsify, 1/3 of consumers are unsatisfied with the amount of product or visual content provided online. Product content plays an important role in conveying a compelling brand story, listing important information, and accurately representing the appearance and usage of products—so it’s key to get this right.
We know both brand consistency and consumer experience are important, whether the product is being presented at physical or digital shelf. Brands that don’t optimize for both may suffer from abandoned carts or reduced trust. While both shelves must align in terms of branding and design consistency, the digital shelf requires specific content to facilitate the online shopping experience and reduce friction points.
Online grocery is the top catalyst for e-commerce growth for many retailers, including Walmart and Amazon. This is reflected in the investments that retailers are making in supporting e-commerce initiatives in grocery categories, including mandates to ensure suppliers are providing complete, accurate and relevant content that is kept updated over time.
Here are five e-commerce best practices that brands can take action on today to improve the findability and conversion for their products on a retailer’s site:
1. Product title. The product title is often the most critical for search ranking on a retailer’s site and is one of the first things shoppers will see displayed as part of the search listings. The tailored information in the product title can help convince consumers to click-through to learn more.
Be sure to include keywords in the product title that a shopper would use to search for your product, and that are relevant to your product category. Consumer focused keywords should also be used throughout feature bullets and product descriptions to have the best organic site search relevance.
2. Short-form video. Consider a short video (1.5 minutes or less; 30 seconds or shorter is ideal) centered around the product—highlighting usage occasions, core benefits, lifestyle settings etc. Videos in an e-commerce setting mimic the experience of interacting with the product in a physical store. It is important to grab the shopper’s attention in the first three seconds of the video, with the first frame providing a compelling introduction to the featured product and brand.
As much as possible, the visuals used in videos should be able to convey key messaging, without relying on the accompanying music and voiceovers to accomplish this. Videos created for e-commerce platforms can also extend brand equity, storytelling or marketing campaigns when re-used across other marketing applications, such as social media and online advertising.
3. Images. Aim to include 5-9 high-resolution, high quality images on product detail pages. These images should include the key information important to consumers, and should be legible on mobile screens. High-quality images help a brand stand out from the competition and attract customers.
Images must be able to stand alone to communicate relevant details about products, even if consumers don’t read the accompanying product description. With the rise of what industry analysts are calling visually-driven commerce, high-quality images are no longer just a nice addition—they’re a pre-requisite for success.
66% of consumers want to see at least 3 images of a product when they are shopping.
4. Ratings & reviews. Reviews create traffic, conversion and sales uplift. The number of reviews, especially positive ones, and high ratings can influence retailer search rankings and consequently the discoverability of products. Positive reviews bolster consumer confidence, reinforce that the product will meet or exceed the shopper's needs, and help to ensure a positive purchasing experience.
Consumers read at least three reviews before deciding to buy and they rely on reviews as a trusted source of independent, third-party information about the product. Actively encourage happy customers to rate products and aim to respond to both positive and negative feedback as soon as possible.
5. Mobile images. Increasingly, shoppers are using their mobile phones for online shopping, especially for replenishment products. The key information that mobile shoppers are looking for in order to purchase are brand, product, size and variant (e.g. flavor or color) cues. Consumers frequently add the wrong item to their cart when images aren’t optimized for mobile display, since many products designed for physical shelf all look similar at the scale of a mobile screen.
Mobile shoppers often rely on mobile images alone to make their purchase decisions, without reading the accompanying copy. It’s important, therefore, for mobile images to be able to stand on their own and be clearly legible on mobile screens.
Mobile shoppers need to recognize four key things in order to choose the right product:
The product image should be simplified and decluttered to allow these elements to stand out. If space allows, an additional ‘category specific’ element can be included. This should help shoppers find the product they want more easily, drive incremental sales, and reduce the frequency of the wrong items being added to cart.
About Uma Kannappan: Uma Kannappan brings over 20 years of experience in developing and implementing marketing, digital and e-commerce strategies and technologies to create omnichannel customer engagement. Her experience includes working extensively with clients in various industries and sectors, including consumer products, retail and technology. Uma has also worked with industry bodies like The Consumer Goods Forum on thought leadership around how CPG manufacturers and retailers can collaborate to create mutual value, foster innovation and drive growth.
Why High Quality Content is Paramount to Winning at the Digital Shelf
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.
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.
eCommerce Optimization: Creating Connected Experiences
The world’s biggest companies, run largely by digital immigrant baby boomers, are still struggling to figure out how to navigate the new relationship between consumers and their brands.
The rules of engagement have changed.
The role of packaging has changed.
This is because the entire marketing landscape has been irrevocably transformed by technology. Years ago, the path to purchase was linear; today it is completely non-linear.
How, when, where and why consumers make buying decisions today is influenced by exposure to an almost limitless barrage of content online 24/7.
To thrive in today’s rapidly-changing marketplace, companies must reimagine their relationships with customers and how they sell their products. Successfully synthesizing digital and physical commerce into a connected experience for customers requires a fundamental shift in thinking. Transformation, key to growth, is no longer a lofty aspiration. It’s required to win.
Consider this report by eMarketer: Amazon’s eCommerce revenue rose 15.8% in the last 12 months prior to June 2016, which is roughly the same as Wal-Mart. But Amazon posted $82.7 billion in sales, compared with $12.5 billion for Walmart, a chasm that just keeps widening.
McKinsey has noted, “Digital technology, despite its seeming ubiquity, has only begun to penetrate industries. As it continues its advance, the implications for revenues, profits, and opportunities will be dramatic. And that on average, industries are less than 40% digitized, despite the relatively deep penetration of these technologies in media, retail and high tech.”
So, the challenges most companies face today due to digital disruption promise only to become magnified in the next few years.
What does this mean to the packaging industry? The package that consumers view online is at least as important as the package on store shelves. And that the package on-shelf needs to support the brand’s marketing.
Grocery sales through online platforms represent a very small part of the overall grocery retail market, but are amongst the fastest growing segment.
The U.S. online grocery market is estimated to generate sales worth of about 14.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, with sales forecast to reach 29.7 billion U.S. dollars by 2021. Among the leading online food and beverage retailers in 2016, were Amazon and Walmart.
In 2016, some 5 percent of U.S. consumers preferred shopping for groceries online. In total, U.S. online grocery sales amounted to about 7 billion U.S. dollars in 2015 and are expected to rise to 18 billion U.S. dollars by 2020.
For time-strapped consumers, online grocery shopping is a convenient and timesaving option. When shopping for groceries online, U.S. consumers visited about 2.2 different websites during their online shopping trip on average.
About one third of consumers placed an order for groceries online about once a month in the United States in 2015. In the same year, the most popular e-grocery product categories included snacks, health and beauty care products and paper products such as paper towels or napkins in the U.S.
Online grocery sales set to surge — grabbing 20 percent of market by 2025. Online grocery shopping could grow five-fold over the next decade, with American consumers spending upwards of $100 billion on food-at-home items by 2025, according to a report released earlier this year.
"Grocery shopping will reach digital maturity and saturation faster than other industries that went online before, such as publishing or banking," said the report.
"Younger, newer and more engaged digital shoppers adopt digital technologies more quickly, and will hasten the expansion of digital grocery shopping further."
The report also found millennial shoppers surveyed were more willing to buy groceries online in the future than other consumer groups.
SGK works closely with global companies to uncover the right business opportunities and insights to drive the rapid development and profitable operation of their eCommerce business. Our integrated eCommerce solutions, built to perform and scale, help attract, engage and retain customers throughout their digital journeys.
Learn more about SGK’s Digital Shelf Solutions: sgkinc.com/ecommerce