Author: Zelda Hyman, Head of Content Services, Revonic
As an optimist, I try to see the positive in most situations and COVID-19 has brought upon a movement of positive change amidst our digital landscapes. We're seeing leading apparel players accomplish two years of digital transformation in just two months1 and the UAE is making rapid strides as the fastest growing eCommerce market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)2. Perhaps this will be the inevitable push so many businesses needed to realise their online potential.
Your existing eCommerce site may have ticked the right boxes before COVID-19 hit; however, due to a plethora of influences, your online shop now needs to adapt. It needs to stay current and more than ever, your content needs to overflow with empathy for your customers to keep the numbers climbing.
To improve your digital capability and make it relevant to today's consumer needs, there are a few practical steps you can take to help you come out at the top. There's a lot of interconnected elements, including, user experience and data analytics that we need to keep in mind. For this article, however, I would like to focus on the all too often forgotten aspects of content actions that you should take right now to minimise the downside of COVID-19.
Why? Because without structured content, that empathises with your audience and answers to their needs, you will have a tough time building brand rapport, confidence and trust to get them across the check-out line.
We'll be looking at the following:
How many times have you landed on an online shop, frustrated with the lack of product information, reading through content riddled with spelling and grammar errors that don't correctly merchandise features and benefits? These issues, which some brands see as a minor detail, not only hurt a brand's image but they also hurt sales, both online and offline.
To follow a content-first approach, I would begin by running a content audit on a few top priority pages. An audit is the most practical way to understand the quality of your content and can help you:
Tip: During an audit, trends surface quite rapidly as you work through pages. Instead of running an audit across your entire site, pick a maximum of 25 pages (most likely product pages) that will have the most significant impact on your goal.
An analysis uncovers unrealised challenges, risks and opportunities. With your analysis in hand, you can base your future recommendations on reality. Without an analysis or one that's out of date, entire strategies are built on un-researched assumptions and isolated opinions - costing everyone time and money. Here are a few steps to help you through your analysis:
It's most likely that some of your initial messaging and personas are now out of date, so the analysis will help you get back on track. Combined with the tactical audit, these two tools will set you up to create much better content.
It enables you to:
So, the more work you do in the beginning to refine your (and your users') content needs, the more targeted and cost-effective your content will be down the line.
While beefing up your strategy, try to push the envelope when it comes to creatively informative, share-worthy content related to your brand that gives your readers real value. A big focus should go towards your product content!
When creating content, also ensure you provide a variety of content types to ensure an overall sensory experience. According to Mashable, you can increase conversions by an average of 86% by adding videos to some of your top landing pages5.
Our brains process visual information 60,000 times faster than text, which means that visitors to your site will absorb information in videos better than they would by reading text.
Another content format to pay attention to is imagery, more specifically, product images in carousels. A whopping 95% of customers who look at an eCommerce product image carousel view every single photo6. It makes it very easy for customers to learn about your product before buying it, especially when pictures include important and detailed product information.
Storytelling wins customers, and luckily, the digital shelf provides an opportunity to publish diverse media and content that would never fit on typical product packaging or point-of-sale materials. This means you can share enriched, high-quality product content such as images, videos and other media to tell your brand's story in a way that resonates with your target customers.
Before you go live with your new content, test, test, test! Confusing words or jargon can profoundly impact a user's experience. By not researching, measuring, and testing content, you could easily miss the opportunity to learn how users understand and react to various tones, word choices, and content structures.
During user testing, find out:
Which means you're missing out on sales, engagement and other essential gains that directly impact your bottom line.
While there are still several other content factors we can address that will enhance your site, these are but a few steps and actionable implementations that you can put in place, and that we offer through our content services, to gain a few quick wins on your eCommerce site.
We must tackle these challenges now, while we still can, to ensure that more businesses survive this current crisis and emerge to better position ourselves for the future through better digital capabilities.
So, let's action some of these steps, fix some problems, monitor the results over time, repeat the process for additional pages, and together watch your eCommerce sales grow.
Head of Content Services