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A Five-Step Approach To Creating Stellar Product E-Content

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My team and I have been working in product e-content for several years now. After working with many of the biggest FMCG companies globally, we’ve developed a comprehensive yet streamlined process for product e-content, which I’d like to share with you here.

What is product e-content?

Brands selling products online — be it on their own e-commerce website or the likes of Amazon or Alibaba — are facing a real challenge: replicating the buying experience from a physical store and translating it to the online world.

In a physical store, we can clearly see a product on the shelf, touch it and smell it. We can pick it up and read the ingredients on the label and understand why — if the product marketers have done their job properly — we should buy it. How do you recreate those aspects of the shopping experience in a virtual store?

The answer is highly optimized product e-content, which refers to all product information that facilitates the online shopper experience on digital platforms. Product e-content starts at product detail pages and extends to brand and category assets.

So, what kind of content would you need to create to improve shopper engagement with your product? Ultimately, content that helps conjure a more enjoyable and complete online shopping experience and that helps shoppers overcome their barriers to purchase.

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Before you throw yourself into creating a whole host of shiny new content, you’ll need to traverse five stepping stones:

1. Assess your current content needs.

Do you currently have product content in place, and is it really telling the story behind the brand and products in the best possible way? Are there gaps that need filling?

What are the strengths and weaknesses of your product in comparison with competitors? Have you benchmarked against them to see if their e-content is doing a better job of selling?

When working with brands, we recommend running a gap analysis. Analyze all aspects of your product page — from the title to hero images, and from product descriptions to advanced images or videos. Score each aspect in order to assess the level of readiness and to spot gaps vs. competition, thereby only implementing changes where needed, saving time and costs.

2. Get strategic.

Once you know your content needs, establish a specific action plan by brand. Set out what elements of product e-content need to be created and by when.

Action plans are best established with all stakeholders around the same table. We recommend including brand managers, trade marketing managers, e-commerce or e-business leaders and agencies. Under the leadership of an expert, such training sessions help the project owner to understand what type of content is already available, what can be repurposed, and what needs to be created from scratch, identifying clear roles and responsibilities for all parties.

3. Create.

This is where you start putting the strategy into action. Create specific actionable briefs by workstream (i.e., images, video, copywriting, etc.) that allows your respective agency or in-house team to develop content with your goals in mind.

Make sure product titles are specific, focused and searchable through SEO or internal search keywords. You’ll want to create basic high-quality images with CGI technology, allowing mobile users to clearly see essential product information (like quantity or flavor variants). Your written product descriptions should use the brand’s tone of voice, focus on key features and benefits, use local search keywords and be consistent with your advanced images, which are usually used to show the product in use or to demonstrate how it should be used. This is an opportunity to overcome shopper barriers. With food products, for example, you might want to include recipes. For appliances, you could show the product within a home environment.

Make it easy for would-be purchasers to ask questions about your product and to see ratings and recommendations from other users. And forward-thinking brand managers should think outside the box, like producing short, punchy videos or incorporating AR.

Don’t go thinking these are mainly nice-to-haves. Far from it. They are all must-haves that we’ve found directly impact conversions.

4. Deliver the assets.

Once you’ve created your product e-content assets, make sure all key stakeholders across your organization know how to access and use them to their best effect. From our experience, in addition to uploading all assets onto a Digital Asset Repository (DAM), what really works well is the creation of a “playbook” document containing not only the assets but also implementation guidelines that explain the best ways to use each of those assets.

Playbooks can also ensure continuity in circumstances, such as when a new manager takes over. Think of it as a “book” that contains all your key product e-content information with mockups and real examples.

5. Measure.

You’ll now need to measure the success of your new product e-content. How will you report back the results within your organization? What metrics and insights can you gather to help improve and tweak future iterations of the content?

When it comes to metrics, a simple framework will go a long way.

We recommend monitoring your sales progressions through your “sales per product” page as you implement new product e-content. Besides that, product e-content drives improvement in most retailers’ search algorithms, so be sure to monitor the ranking of your products against specific keywords. Last but not least, work on your rating and reviews to make sure you can achieve a 4.2-4.5-star rating, and establish a routine to read consumer feedback.

In Conclusion

As you can see from the five stepping stones I’ve briefly described above, there is considerably more that goes into creating product e-content than getting your creatives to chuck a few ideas around to see if they stick.

But if you take a best practice approach to each step and the process as a whole, you will be in a brilliant position to create exciting content that can help increase online sales of your products.

Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?

CEO of eBusiness Institute. We help companies invent their own tomorrow. Business transformation experts creating value for all stakeholders. Read Luigi Matrone’s full executive profile here.

Source: A Five-Step Approach To Creating Stellar Product E-Content

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