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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3 Ways to Create an Immersive Shopping Experience Your Customers Will Love

When I first heard about Nordstrom’s NYC flagship store opening, I was curious to see what the company would do to take its in-store retail experience to the next level. Nordstrom didn’t disappoint.

When the company opened the seven-floor store at 57th Street and Broadway in Manhattan this October, it made sure service was at the forefront of the brick-and-mortar establishment. Though I don’t have any business ties to Nordstrom, I study retail markets and am always curious about how the latest brick-and-mortar store trends impact online shopping and e-commerce growth.

Here are some interesting retail innovations inspired by Nordstrom’s flagship store–and other retailers–that you can apply to help your brand.

1.  Create opportunities to spend time in the store.

The new Nordstrom location offers in-store spa services like blowout bars, facials, massages, waxing, manicures, and more. Offering services like these–and a martini bar and sit-down eateries–keeps customers in the store longer, making them likely to spend more money, according to a Journal of Marketing study.

Look for ways your company can create more in-store experiences that align with your brand, like how Lululemon’s new Mall of America megastore features workout studios, snack bars, and a 6,000-square-foot “experiential area.” Those could involve booking appointments online to try on clothes, providing an in-store café (à la Ikea), or hosting product demonstrations and interactive experiences, like Lush.

2. Create a seamless omni-channel experience and provide multiple ways to get products.

Nordstrom says its online sales jump about 20 percent in a local market when it opens a store there. That, in my opinion, is because of the company’s buy online, pick up in-store options, as well as its offering easy curbside pickup.

Online retailers are opening brick-and-mortar stores because they recognize that customers like to have an option of returning an online purchase in-store. If you’re an e-commerce company that isn’t ready to launch a retail store, consider offering an inventory-free showroom, which could equate to customers spending 60 percent more and buying more expensive items, according to research from the Wharton School and Harvard Business School. Or launch a temporary pop-up shop, like Adore Me’s invite for VIP shoppers.

3. Build smarter, tech-driven experiences.

Customers want a full-service experience from the moment they walk in the door. If you’re a clothing retailer, one way to do that is to create smart fitting rooms. That can be as simple as creating a button customers can push that calls a sales associate, or it can be as advanced as the smart-mirror fitting rooms at Ralph Lauren’s flagship store, which show various sizes and colors available for items. Luxury beauty companies are testing out AR in airport pop-up shops around the globe, enabling customers to play with virtual makeup in trials through virtual mirrors.

By Maria HaggertyCEO, Dotcom Distribution

Source: 3 Ways to Create an Immersive Shopping Experience Your Customers Will Love | Inc.com

2.08M subscribers
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Chinese E-Commerce Giants Report Booming Singles Day Sales

A big screen shows the online sales for e-commerce giant Alibaba surpassed RMB 100 billion or US14 billion at 01:03:59 after the Nov. 11 Tmall Shopping Festival started midnight in Shanghai, China Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. (Chinatopix Via AP)

(BEIJING) — Chinese e-commerce giants Alibaba and JD.com reported a total of more than $50 billion in sales on Monday in the first half of Singles Day, an annual marketing event that is the world’s busiest online shopping day.

Singles Day began as a joke holiday created by university students in the 1990s as an alternative to Valentine’s Day for people without romantic partners. It falls on Nov. 11 because the date is written with four singles — “11 11.”

Alibaba, the world’s biggest e-commerce brand by total sales volume, adopted the day as a sales tool a decade ago. Rivals including JD.com and Suning joined in, offering discounts on goods from smartphones to travel packages.

E-commerce has grown rapidly in China due to a lack of traditional retailing networks and government efforts to promote internet use. Alibaba, JD.com, Baidu and other internet giants have expanded into consumer finance, entertainment and offline retailing.

On Monday, online retailers offered discounts on goods from craft beer to TV sets to health care packages.

Alibaba said sales by merchants on its platforms totaled 188.8 billion yuan ($27 billion) between midnight and noon. JD.com, the biggest Chinese online direct retailer, said sales reached 165.8 billion yuan ($23.8 billion) by 9 a.m.

Electronics retailer Suning said sales passed 1 billion yuan ($160 million) in the first minute after midnight. Dangdang, an online book retailer, said it sold 6.8 million copies in the first hour.

Alibaba kicked off the event with a concert Sunday night by Taylor Swift at a Shanghai stadium.

Chinese online spending is growing faster than retail overall but is weakening as economic growth slows and consumers, jittery about Beijing’s tariff war with Washington and possible losses, put off big purchases.

Online sales of goods rose 16.8% over a year earlier in the first nine months of 2019 to 5.8 trillion yuan ($825 billion), according to government data. That accounted for 19.5% of total consumer spending. Growth was down from an annual average of about 30% in recent years.

By JOE McDONALD

Source: Chinese E-Commerce Giants Report Booming Singles Day Sales

993K subscribers
Nov.11 was Singles’ Day in China, the country’s busiest online shopping day of the year. More than 35 billion RMB was spent on two online platforms, Tmall.com and Taobao.com, which are owned by China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba. A total of 170 million transactions were made during the day.
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