What Product Manufacturers Need to Know About e-Commerce Content Trends
March 28, 2019
Four e-commerce content trends worth adding to your online channel playbook over the next 12 months and beyond.
Search the internet for e-commerce trends and you’ll find dozens of helpful articles and blogs listing the innumerable developments we can expect to make an impact this year. There is so much happening in the e-commerce space that as a busy e-commerce director it’s hard to keep track.
There is a lot about the e-commerce channel that as a product manufacturer you can’t control, but you can manage your product content strategy. In this blog, we’ve narrowed the list of 2019 e-commerce trends down to the four content-related issues that are really worth some of your precious time.
None of these 2019 e-commerce trends are particularly new, and all have been on ‘future trends’ lists for at least a couple of years, but in the next 12 months advances in Voice technology, Personalization, Omnichannel and Video have the potential to really make an impact on your online channel business.
Our master’s voice
Voice-related technologies have received a lot of attention recently, especially with Amazon, Google and others investing billions of dollars in smart-speaker and voice technology. As brands and product manufacturers still grapple to understand the full implications of voice, technology and e-commerce giants are already moving forward by introducing voice-enabled advertising to embed it deeper into the online shopping experience.
Voice is fast replacing the keyboard as the primary online shopping interface for consumers. According to ComScore 50% of all searches will be voice driven by 2020. Smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home are driving a lot of interest in voice-enabled commerce, but already more than half of voice shopping transactions start on a smartphone.
In 2019 the most important thing for brands to consider is how to optimize their content and messaging for voice, taking into consideration how consumers are likely to interact with their content. According to Google some key factors consumers consider when they decide to use voice as an interface, include:
- Location: Voice is an increasingly convenient interface for people on the go, driving or generally out-and-about. Hence the significant use of mobile devices.
- Sensitivity: However, because of the risk of eavesdropping, consumers tend to use voice when their search is not of a sensitive nature. No one is going to ask Amazon for a new delivery of that rash cream when they are on a public bus!
- Complexity: Consumers who use voice are looking for a quick and easy solution. They are likely to revert to the keyboard if a website requires significant interaction.
As consumer practice becomes the driver for voice e-commerce growth, it really is time for brands to react, and place voice-enabled content optimization at the center of their online channel plans.
There is nothing new about the omnichannel concept. This point is included more as a reminder for product manufacturers, rather than a new trend. We’ve already adjusted to omnichannel when it comes to communications and sales analysis. Brands and retailers are constantly developing tactics to engage consumers at new touch-points. The Amazon Dash button and Sephora’s widespread use of tutorial videos are well-known examples of how brands and retailers are connecting the omnichannel dots.
Content planning and distribution are central to having the unified communications strategy vital for creating an effective marketing strategy for your product or service. As consumers seamlessly switch between platforms and channels, it is essential for brands to cover all key engagement points to keep the conversation going with consistent, relevant messaging and calls to action.
To achieve this, you will need to understand the journey taken by consumers from the moment they start researching their needs, to the final purchase decision. You won’t own all the content consumers engage with along the shopping journey. Up to 70 percent of content shoppers see relating to your brand, is delivered by third-party sites including e-retailers, bloggers, or other portals.
As consumers, we’ve been spoiled by the capabilities of the Google search engine. It delivers search results that seem to understand our deepest intentions – even when we make spelling and grammatical errors in our searches. Online store search has made significant strides in recent years, but e-commerce retailers still fall short when it comes to delivering the levels of personalization online consumers have come to expect.
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This is a problem. In a recent survey carried out by Infosys 74% of respondents said they were frustrated when content was not personalized to their needs. On the other hand, data suggests that if we can get it right, personalized content can boost sales by up to 20%.
It is relatively straightforward for brands to implement personalized content in channels they control, such as social commerce platforms or direct to consumer (D2C) sites. In online retail, it is going to require better cooperation between brands and e-retailers to deliver the sort of personalized content that lives up to the promise. But, the rewards are there for brands and retailers who can work together to develop product page content that truly nurtures consumers’ business intent.
Say it with Video
If a picture paints 1000 words, video paints 10,000. Like omnichannel marketing, video and animated content is not a particularly new trend, but its impact on e-commerce and online sales is growing fast. Consumers rely more and more on the information communicated by short, snappy videos.
Anyone who has deployed video content in the e-commerce channel will tell you it works. It drives conversions, improves search results and builds trust. The success rates vary by category but can deliver anything from a 20-to-90% sales lift, as well as being a proven tool for brand building, and inspiring consumer loyalty. All reasons why this year more than ever you need to be thinking about how to use video as part of your e-commerce channel strategy.
Content is a key pillar of any e-commerce channel strategy. In the coming months, it’s time to broaden the view of your content strategy and test some of the wider implications of content, and capabilities of the channel to really make an impact. Voice, personalization, omnichannel and video are four areas where your efforts could really pay off.