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Why content is ecommerce’s missing link

As consumers demand bigger and better ecommerce experiences, it’s never been harder to reach, engage, and retain your customers. 

But thanks to its unique ability to tell stories, content is at the heart of differentiated customer experiences that capture and convert. Surprisingly though, many brands are still not taking advantage of the ‘content for commerce’ opportunity.

Here we look at the benefits of a combined content and commerce strategy and explore how you can prepare your retail organisation for a ‘content for commerce’ approach.

Unlocking content’s potential

Every retailer has a story to tell, a picture to share, and a video to show. Delivered around your ecommerce proposition, content should tell your brand and product stories in rich and engaging ways that drive and support consumers through the purchase journey. 

Cosmetics company Lush is a great example of how this is done. Since launching its new site in 2014, every Lush product page has a hero video where the product is taken out of the box to show how it’s used and give customers an online experience that mimics the tactile, sensory experience of being in a physical store. 

As Econsultancy puts it, the Lush website doesn’t feel like your typical ecommerce shop – it feels like ‘a website that happens to sell stuff, too’. And it’s paying off. Within the first 18 months of launching the site, the company experienced a 64% increase in digital orders, 75% increase in website sessions, and a 16% decrease in abandoned shopping carts.

Lush products are accompanied by videos for a more sensory experience

Stories like Lush’s are a testament to the power of a content for commerce strategy. But many brands are still failing to jump on this opportunity because content isn’t a natural partner of commerce in business terms (or technical terms, which we’ll explore in another post). 

Content & commerce: worlds apart?

Marketing and ecommerce personnel often operate in silos with differing objectives. While content has traditionally sat within marketing, ecommerce is intrinsically linked to the traditional sales cycle and supply chain. This naturally leads each group to buy and operate independent solutions for brand content and transactions. 

Overcoming these frustrations isn’t easy, but brands are increasingly breaking down the divide between traditional departments to make this happen. Lush, for example, has created a new company unit that brings together all stakeholders of the digital revolution under one roof – including ecommerce, content, customer services, and development. 

So for commerce experts, it’s time to be more than just lunch buddies with your content colleagues. The next challenge is identifying the right content to support your strategic objectives.

Understanding your content needs

Content not only has to be relevant and engaging – it also has to tick the right performance boxes. If it doesn’t, there will be very little ROI to measure at all. Putting a strategy in place with KPIs and business goals is essential for brands that want to get it right and track the progress of their content for commerce approach.

Content needs to enhance and enable the complete customer journey – from initial engagement, through to sale, and then to after-sale care and customer retention. 

Engaging editorial is woven seamlessly around Lush product information

The different phases along the way are reliant on different types of content. If brands want to target consumers in the research phase, content needs to include the right keywords, and if brands want to build awareness, their content should be inspirational.

For those that get it right, the options are endless with a content for commerce approach. After all, content is the key to differentiated experiences that engage and inspire your customers, making them actively want to buy from you.

Download the Inviqa Content for Commerce Report 2016 and start improving the experiences you deliver.

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