Last month, inRiver had the pleasure of sponsoring and taking part in a panel discussion, along with our integration partner, Jasper Studios, at Fashion Digital New York.
The topic of the session was “micro-moments”—defined by Google as those moments of intention during a shopper’s buying cycle when the buyer conducts research, forms opinions, acts on preferences, and ultimately makes purchasing decisions.
We were excited to include Michael Burke, Head of Industry—Fashion, Sports & Toys, Google and Mark Lippmann, Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Deborah Lippmann, on our panel to cover topics ranging from the challenges of addressing micro-moments for fashion retailers to the types of tools and measurements you need to be successful. We will be continuing to cover aspects of detecting and addressing micro-moments over a series of blog posts in the coming weeks. In this initial post, we would like to offer some insights into the role of content.
The Right Content for Micro-moments
Micro-moments are creating challenges for retailers across industries. There is a very short window in which a retailer has the opportunity to engage the buyer and convince them to buy. The key is to get the right content into shoppers’ hands at the place and the time that they are needing it—when they are researching products and ultimately making purchases.
To do this, you may need more content, in more formats, so that you can satisfy the needs of a variety of customer needs. In addition, your content may need to be more granular and of higher-quality, so that it can be found and identified when it is needed. Last, it must be served up to the right shopper at the right moment in time.
Identify Key Touchpoints
The first step in developing this content production factory is to identify all of the touchpoints where buyers will be in need of product information. You will then need to prioritize those touchpoints to address the most critical ones first. Because many companies do not have enough information about how consumers are interacting with their content, it is important to set up metrics to measure the success of your content and touchpoints at those crucial junctures.
Determine Where You Are Losing Potential Customers
Online retailers frequently measure the frequency of abandoned carts. However, you need to consider the possibility that you are losing customers and related sales long before the “Add to Cart” button is clicked. This may be because your content is insufficient, irrelevant, or inaccurate for a given buyer. Determine where you are losing customers before they are reaching your cart and establish a feedback loop to improve your content. Analyze what type of content is most likely to convert or influence conversion. What do your buyers want from your content that will result in clicking that “Add to Cart” button?
Create a Content Production Factory
Once you have established a strategy for providing content at key touchpoints, you will then need to start developing your targeted content. However, to produce this better quality, more copious content, you need the right tools and internal processes. Companies that have been successful at this effort have been structured in their approach. They have developed a “content production factory” to make the content creation process faster and easier. There are a number of tools that support this production effort, but the heart of the ecosystem is the product information management (PIM) application. Providing excellent product stories is the foundation on which you can build enticing product assortments and stellar customer experiences.
In the coming weeks, we will delve further into some of the techniques and tools that you can employ to help run your content production factory. In addition, we will highlight some companies that have been successful in addressing micro-moments and share some of their secrets.
Kathryn Zwack, Senior Content Marketing Manager North America, inRiver
The term, “micro-moments” was coined by Google to describe the intent-driven moments of decision-making that occur throughout the customer journey. These micro-moments present new challenges for eCommerce marketers. Marketers are finding that targeting unique individuals that are moving among devices, places, and contexts is a very different exercise compared with targeting large customer groups based on demographics. According to Google’s research, those marketers that are trying to reach their audiences solely on demographics alone risk missing more than 70% of potential mobile customers. Thus, companies need to figure out how to provide customers with the exact right content in the precise micro-moment when they are seeking it.
Anywhere, anytime content
Many customers that have a want or need turn to their digital devices for help. In increasing numbers, the chosen device is a smartphone, with many retail customers using more than one device during their buying journey. Although B2B buyers are often in front of a desktop or laptop computer, they too are also moving more frequently across devices.
Although the size of the screen on a smartphone inhibits the rendering of the same rich product experience that can be experienced on a laptop or a TV screen, smartphones have the advantage of being able to serve up content anywhere, anytime. This means that marketers need to consider where customers are in the buying journey, where they are physically located, and what device they are using when serving up content in real time.
A simple answer to the challenges associated with micro-moments would be to invest heavily in content delivery platforms, such as eCommerce and Customer Experience Management solutions. However, these platforms need a large amount of content to be effective. One image and one single long description just isn't enough anymore. With this approach, all customers will be exposed to the same content regardless of who they are, where they are in the buying journey, when they are looking, the device they are using. This tactic would be like taking the print catalog from the 90’s and publishing it in many places. It increases reach, but it doesn't support the customer’s micro-moment decision-making.
Today’s content requirements
In order to drive the delivery vehicles, we need to provide them with fuel. In this case, the fuel is content. Targeting each customer in their unique micro-moments with the right content adds some new requirements:
However, these requirements present additional challenges. For example, speed is an enemy of quality, and when we have less and less time to create content, quality can suffer.
Enabling your content delivery process
So if the answer is to produce more content, with better descriptions, higher granularity, and higher quality, how do we do that?
Throwing more resources at the process—brute force—is the simple answer. However, adding more people to a broken process has not typically proven to be very successful. Rather, working smarter rather than harder is a better approach, assuming that the requisite systems are in place to support the content production process and enable the automatic syndication of the content to all touch points. Therefore, assuming that micro-moments are now a major driver for digital initiatives, a product marketing platform should be the foundation of your content delivery process.
Johan Boström, Co-founder and Evangelist, inRiver