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    October 6, 2016
    5 minute read

    New Data Confirms: Every Buyer's Journey is a Winding Road

    by: Peter Crosby

    The Takeaway: Shoppers use multiple devices to browse and research before buying. It's no longer enough to have quality product content for every product, you need to have content ready for every stop along the way. We provide our advice on how to improve product page performance.

    Shoppers use at least a half-dozen channels on their path to purchase. Approximately 60 percent of purchases happen after customers browse for items across more than one device and at least two channels, while more than 75 percent of online shoppers start buying on one device only to complete that purchase on another. With so much device-hopping and often wildly-circuitous shopping journeys, providing top-notch content for different channels is just a baseline business expectation these days — the way having a website was table stakes in the early days of e-commerce. Good, even great content, is no longer enough to meet the needs of shoppers.

    At Shop.org ‘16, Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSNi and vice chair of NRF’s Board of Directors, declared that the customer is now the point of sale — and the moment of truth turns out to be everywhere customers can interact with brands. It’s no longer about omnichannel, or multichannel, but distributed commerce. The question is, what can you do  the next step towards success in this new era?

    The Strategic Content for Every Stage

    The vast majority (88%) of consumers say product content is important or very important to their purchase decision, yet currently only 18% of retailers have a unified commerce/single commerce platform that can help them get there, according to a recent report from Boston Retail Partners, and two-thirds of these companies realize their efforts “need improvement.”

    Improving the content on your product pages is a good first step to ensuring that your content is found by shoppers and improving conversion rates from the page.

    Page_components.pngHere are some best practices on how you can enhance the 5 key elements of a product page:

    1. Specific Product Titles. Follow each retailer’s formatting and only include information that distinguishes the product from other similar products.
    2. Catchy (but Clear) Feature Bullets. Include information about main product features, materials, assembly information, and included accessories and limit the length to one, jargon-free sentence.
    3. Basic Product Descriptions. Summarize the most important product features,  and avoid cliches or branded taglines.
    4. Engaging Enhanced Content. Maximize the opportunity when retailers allow for more content in the lower parts of a web page by including strategic use of images, customer reviews and tasteful branding.
    5. Strategic Interactive Features. Depending on your vertical and your sales objectives video, 360 product shots and even content marketing, such as recipes or tip sheets can help turn a browsing shopper into a buyer.

    The more detailed, specific, accurate, consistent and engaging your product content is, the more you’ll move the needle. Shopper appetites for content are ever-growing — everything from in-depth descriptions, technical specs, ingredients, reviews, images, videos and more. Each channel — mobile, email, search, desktop, in-store — has unique capabilities, but it’s not just about optimizing for mobile or dropping a “buy” button on a page. It’s about providing contextually relevant experiences that reach individual consumers.

    Ultimately, you need to determine what drives your consumers to buy, what is most relevant to your buyer personas, and ensure your product descriptions, features and attributes fit the bill.  You need to work cross-functionally across departments to aggregate data points at a SKU by SKU level. You need to centralize that data in a place where each stakeholder can update their data set, or you can create automated linkages.

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