There’s no denying that starting an ecommerce business today is an intimidating task. Chances are, whatever you offer, there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of other online businesses doing the same thing – and making profits at it!
In this hyper-competitive business atmosphere with an incredibly high failure rate (some studies claim this number is as high as 97%), online brands are on a constant quest to stand out.
Generally speaking, when it comes to ecommerce, copy and on-page content tends to take a backseat to aesthetics and UX-friendly design and layouts. However, if you’ve got the right brains behind the keyboard, content can be one of your most powerful weapons in converting visitors and getting them to open their wallets. A BigCommerce study found that content marketing contributes to over 75% of ecommerce revenue, directly or indirectly at major online stores.
Image Source: BigCommerce.com
Indeed, investing in content creation and marketing is one of the smartest decisions you can make for your online business. Here are a few ideas to think about when tackling your strategy for the year ahead.
Building an authentic brand voice from the ground up, especially in the ecommerce world, is a very intricate task. On the website, written words are the primary vehicle for showcasing your brand voice, tone, and values. This is how people begin to trust and relate to your messaging. A big mistake to avoid early on is getting in the mindset that you will just get the basic text on the page, then tweak it later.
Keep in mind, establishing a memorable brand involves a meaningful correlation between words and visual effects. That said, the copywriting and design processes need to be on the same page during the initial creative stages.
For instance, your brand might need to have a bold, but not overconfident aura to it. Or, you might need to be cheeky, but not disrespectful or offensive. Most importantly, the copy – be it a product description, email, or social media post – needs to be able to differentiate you from every other business working towards similar goals.
British fashion brand Missguided does this beautifully, projecting itself as “forward thinking” and “inspired by real life.” The tone on their site, emails, and social networks are chatty and colloquial, the brand is constantly projecting a kooky and rebellious personality.
Image Source: Missguided.co.uk
The Small Business Marketing Report stresses the importance of content on an ecommerce site that is focused on selling products. “In a crowded market, having a website that simply serves as a brochure is no longer competitive,” says the report. While blogs on ecommerce sites are intended to provide valuable information and reviews of various products, along with use cases, the business goal of converting readers to customers remains.
However, online retailers have found it difficult to integrate content that drives traffic and offers a better experience to shoppers from backend functionality that makes order processing, payments, and other transactions possible. Again, sites that start out as blogs and then add ecommerce functionality also run into a wall when they find that their content management systems (CMS) are not up to the task.
The solution is headless ecommerce, which essentially “decouples” the presentation layer of the platform from the commerce functionality, giving retailers more legroom to serve rich brand experiences via digital content. If you’re looking to publish content that is personalized via AI-based tools, that changes dynamically across multiple devices and platforms, new-age CMSs such as Contentful or Vue will do the trick.
One of the best uses of headless ecommerce for retail brands is that it enables them to create satellite content presences, microsites, campaign-specific mini-sites, or even progressive web apps (PWA) for mobile, with top-of-the-funnel (TOFU) content that increase brand awareness, engagement, or even build a critical mass of web traffic – all of which indirectly aid in selling.
A good example of a micro-site that features a successful content series (in a specific format – video in this case) for an ecommerce brand is Will It Blend? by Blendtec, the blender and mixer maker that gained fame for their mind-blending video of blending an iPhone.
Building on the success of that video, they created a whole site just to showcase more brain-blending videos of the “Don’t try this at home” variety. And yes, it all serves to feed their marketing funnel, thanks to prominent “Our Blenders” links and other UX elements on the site.
Image Source: WillItBlend.com
Scripting product pages is an art.
Now, it doesn’t take a super-creative copywriter or an engineer to spell out the technical details and functionality of a product or service. However, this only defines a good product page. A great product page is one that does this in a way that clearly expresses the brand voice while instilling customer confidence.
Product pages are what truly define an online storefront. The bad news: A study conducted by Conversio (now Campaign Monitor) tracked over 400 ecommerce businesses and found that the average conversion rate on product pages was just below 9%.
As intimidating as this number sounds, the underlying message is brands need to step their game up and provide top notch information. Ultimately, a product page should work to give prospective customers the proper knowledge and motivation to make a purchase.
In most cases, the name of the game with product pages is writing short and sweet copy that gives potential customers all the information they need in your one-of-a-kind brand voice. Further, headings and descriptions need to be written with the proper attention to SEO. Also, just like the rest of the website, the words need to be written in accordance with the visual aesthetics of the page. As you can imagine, this is much easier said than done.
Finally, every product description needs a crystal clear value proposition that emphasizes why the visitor should buy your product. Spell it out in detail, whether your item is unique and unusual, or commodity-like and faces high competition. Cosmetics brand Glossier has mastered this art.
Image Source: Glossier.com
If the design and visuals of an ecommerce website are its bricks, content is the mortar. When you are starting out and budgets are tight, it can be tempting to cheap out on both content creation and promotion. However, the message of your brand is what visitors (and Google) relate to. A feature-rich product range or swanky website will only get you so far if the accompanying text is plain and lifeless.
Ecommerce content has many different variables attached to it. A seasoned marketing team can tie it all together across multiple digital channels, so that your audience sees a consistent brand voice everywhere, and connects with your products, values, and unique selling proposition. Utilizing branded content to the fullest is one of the smartest decisions you will make.