A Digital Shelf Guide
Today’s online shoppers are sophisticated. They expect it to be easy to find your products online, and that useful content will be on the product detail page (PDP). Brands that stand out are the ones that also make their PDPs engaging and helpful.
Engagement comes from PDP elements that a consumer may find interesting or compelling, like attractive images or interactive product tours. Meanwhile, helpfulness depends on whether a PDP has detailed product content presented in a way that’s easy to digest — so much so that it informs a shopper’s purchase decision.
All this means that standing out on the digital shelf comes down to one thing: what content you have on your PDP.
Interesting, helpful, and high-quality enhanced content sets brands apart in today’s evolving ecommerce landscape. It’s true that producing this kind of content can be difficult, and syndicating it to a multitude of online retailers even more so. But doing so is necessary to win on the digital shelf.
Evidence of the importance of enhanced content can be found in Salsify’s “Consumer Research 2022” report. This report compiled data from consumers in the U.S., the U.K., France, and Germany about their shopping preferences.
Almost half of the respondents named the quality of images and product descriptions one of the top three factors that determine where they shop online. Similarly, almost half will abandon a purchase if not enough information or details are provided.
These results demonstrate how much influence engaging and helpful product content has on whether a sale is made. Therefore, investing in enhanced content is key to growing sales online.
While every PDP has to have certain elements — like a title, product description, and hero image — enhanced content lets you go a step further with elements that may not be strictly necessary, but create powerful experiences for shoppers.
Enhanced content, also known as below-the-fold content, rich media on Walmart, or A+ content on Amazon, refers to the portion of the page that a shopper must scroll down to see.
A term originally coined to describe a newspaper that has a physical fold in the middle of the page, “below the fold” encompasses anything on the bottom half of the page.
The term remained as publishing shifted from paper to web, and today, below-the-fold content improves a PDP by providing additional details about a product and giving the shopper a richer experience.
Enhanced content can contain any type of product content that goes beyond the essential product requirements of a PDP, including:
Enhanced content is useful because it can give consumers a more thorough understanding of your product and whether it suits their needs.
You’re able to transform the PDP into an extension of your brand and tell your unique brand story — while capturing shoppers’ attention and driving conversions. The presence of rich media also keeps the consumer exploring your product page for longer.
When done well, enhanced content can help create authentic, memorable brand experiences for consumers.
While ecommerce is often more convenient for shoppers than traditional brick-and-mortar stores, it poses plenty of unique challenges to consumers and brands alike. Enhanced content can help you overcome some of these challenges.
For one thing, enhanced content can take what may otherwise be an impersonal online shopping experience and make it engaging and exciting.
Compelling galleries, videos, product tours, and other types of rich media can make your product pages interesting enough that consumers want to explore them. Regardless of where a consumer is in the buyer's journey, enhanced content helps to inform their purchase decision-making.
Particularly creative uses of enhanced content can go even further and support fun brand experiences that a shopper will remember positively.
Shoppers also create positive associations with brands that make their lives easier or align with their own values — enhanced content can convey this as well.
One of the challenges of ecommerce is that shoppers can’t easily ask salespeople their questions, so they may feel frustrated when hunting down information. Enhanced content can help overcome that challenge by giving consumers comprehensive information in a clear and accessible way.
Finally, most online shopping takes place on massive retailer websites like Amazon, where consumers are confronted not with the small handful of competitors that a brick-and-mortar store would carry, but with dozens and dozens of competing offers.
It can be difficult for brands to grab attention in this environment, but enhanced content helps you claim consumer attention and sets you apart from competitors.
All of this ultimately means making more sales. In fact, a report from Profitero examined the use of enhanced content on Amazon and found that it can boost sales by anywhere between 15 to 58%.
Companies looking to better engage online shoppers and stand out against competitors should invest in enhanced content. There are a few indicators that may demonstrate a need for an enhanced content solution in your organization. Ask yourself the following questions.
Enhanced content can help you stand out on the digital shelf. Investing in a customer experience solution for creating and syndicating enhanced content is essential for producing high-quality enhanced content at scale.
The core benefits of an enhanced content solution are:
Publishing enhanced content manually is nearly impossible — especially for brands that have a significant number of SKUs or sell on multiple retailers. It would be too time-consuming and complex of a process. Digital customer experience software solutions make enhanced content production faster with drag-and-drop templates and other helpful tools. Not to mention that without a third-party solution, there is simply no way to publish enhanced content for the majority of retailers.
Many solutions have built-in syndication capabilities that help you quickly publish to the biggest online retailers. In addition to fast publishing, syndication also means automated formatting, easier editing, and other process improvements. The best solutions also connect to a product information management (PIM) tool, so you can efficiently syndicate enhanced content alongside all other product information.
All of the above benefits contribute to one primary goal: higher conversions. The efficient, scalable creation of compelling content-based experiences naturally generates more sales.
Once you’ve decided that publishing enhanced content is part of your go-to-market (GTM) strategy, it’s time to select the solution that will best support your efforts.
A number of factors need to be considered when selecting a customer experience solution for enhanced content production. You need to make sure you choose something that saves you time and effort — while enabling you to meet ambitious content creation goals.
Here are some best practices to follow when choosing the best enhanced content solution for your business.
The first step is to gain a thorough understanding of your company and how it can best leverage enhanced content. Ask yourself:
You should select an enhanced content solution that allows you to produce content for all your SKUs and publish them to the highest number of your priority retailers.
It’s important to know what types of content you’ll need your enhanced content solution to support.
Think about what your products are and how your target customers interact with them to develop a preliminary plan of what enhanced content formats you’ll need. Then, make sure each solution you’re considering can support those formats.
In general, try to search for a solution that supports the highest number of content types and templates.
One of the key reasons to invest in enhanced content is to stand out against the competition. Browse the product pages of your competitors to see what type of enhanced content they have, and then think about what capabilities your company would need to produce something better.
Consider what your enhanced content goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) are. These will help you narrow down the most useful solution.
Enhanced content production goals may include:
KPIs for using enhanced content could be:
After hitting these initial goals and KPIs, the right enhanced content solution should be able to grow with you as you continue to improve and innovate. Consider whether a solution:
Once you’ve decided what you need from an enhanced content solution, it’s time to get buy-in from leadership by creating a business case. The business case should clearly detail the following:
Now that you’ve achieved buy-in from your colleagues and leaders, it’s time to evaluate the solutions available to you. You’ll ultimately be comparing solutions against the needs you discovered in step one, but there are a few key criteria any good solution should meet.
A good enhanced content solution should be able to handle hundreds or thousands of SKUs. Not only that, but it should be flexible enough to add more as your business grows.
Part of the goal of an enhanced content solution is to make enhanced content production quick and easy. That means the software should take care of all the little details, like sizing or formatting content according to different retailers’ needs.
It should also provide direct syndication to high-priority retailers so you can quickly and easily get your enhanced content published.
Your creative team is busy enough without having to format each piece of content to meet the standards and requirements of each retail endpoint. After they’ve created the images, copy, or video you need, a good enhanced content solution lets you easily put that content into customizable drag-and-drop templates. Not only that, but having dynamic templates that automatically populate fields based on the product selected helps you build and publish more layouts faster.
As you scale your content efforts, maintaining an enhanced content solution separate from all your product information can create hassles and introduce disorganization. A solution that connects with your PIM can keep everything synchronized no matter how you grow. You know that the product content you publish to each endpoint is always accurate because it pulls from your system of record.
Most retailers don’t allow you to preview enhanced content before publication, and mistakes can slip through as a result. A good solution will have preview capabilities so you can be certain that what you’re publishing is clean and accurate.
It’s now time to reach out to vendors and examine how their features measure up against your requirements.
As you do, don’t shy away from asking hard questions. This is a big investment, so be sure to get answers about:
Nothing compares with firsthand experience. Many vendors make trials or demos available to prospective customers. Take advantage of these from each vendor you’re seriously considering.
As you explore product demos, take note of:
After purchasing your enhanced content solution, there are a few steps to follow to make sure you’re setting yourself up for success. Here’s a guide to implementing your enhanced content solution:
You likely developed general plans during the evaluation phase. Now, it’s time to turn those plans into concrete action items developed with input from creative teams.
Existing product content can be repurposed for enhanced content or used to inform it, but only if that content is easily accessible. Take the time to track down all existing product content and store it somewhere that can be easily synced with the enhanced content solution.
Now it’s time to let your creative departments do what they do best and develop the images, videos, and copy you’ll need for enhanced content.
Using your new enhanced content solution, insert the content developed by your creative team into the appropriate templates. Because your enhanced content solution is now also integrated with your existing product content, you can also populate that alongside any net-new content. If your solution has a custom template builder, you can leverage it to tell your unique brand story.
With the help of your enhanced content solution, you’re now ready to start pushing enhanced content live on retailers’ sites.
Ecommerce is always changing and evolving, and your product pages need to do the same.
Enhanced content is a necessity if you want to stand out on today’s digital shelf.
Ecommerce has evolved past the point where simple, condensed, or forgettable product pages can drive sales. Instead, consumers need to have expansive, memorable experiences to be convinced to buy.
An enhanced content solution can help you create high-quality enhanced content at scale and continue to meet consumers’ expectations even as your business — and the broader ecommerce landscape — evolve.