There are just a few sleeps until Santa arrives and we are already hearing what a successful holiday shopping season this is and already has been.
Internet Retailer reported that e-commerce sales were up more than 10% to top $50 billion in November 2017 compared with the same time last year. With physical retail locations closing at an unprecedented rate, it is great to see the industry doing well in other channels and attracting new shoppers to their online stores.
More Men are Shopping Online
Women frequently look at one another and roll their eyes when they discuss their male counterparts and Christmas shopping. I know that my husband frequently waits until Christmas Eve. Survey data have revealed that women are typically considered more responsible for holiday shopping and that men delay their purchases until closer to the “big day.” Therefore, it is comforting to know that more men were shopping on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Granted, they did wait until later in the day to finalize their purchases, but we commend them for starting their holiday shopping early!
Amazon Cleaned Up
On the “shopping weekend” which is anchored by Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday, Amazon enjoyed more than 30% of retail traffic. In second place was Google Play, with just over 20%. Retailers are especially challenged by Amazon’s low prices and two-day shipping with Prime membership—accelerating the “race to the bottom.” With more than 90 million “Prime” members in the US alone and more vendors signing up daily. Amazon will continue to enjoy the dominant spot.
The devices that shoppers are using to shop online for the holiday season remains relatively unchanged from last year. Not surprisingly, Millennials are more comfortable shopping with their mobile devices than older consumers. Nevertheless, sales from smartphone purchases increased by more than 41% on Cyber Monday. Another large change is how quickly consumers convert when they are using their smartphones. Although conversion is still higher on laptops, the gap is narrowing quickly. Mobile is quickly becoming a dominant online shopping channel.
What This Means for You
As always, we want to impress upon you the importance of compelling product stories when you trying to attract shoppers to your products and your web store. This will help when you are speaking to busy holiday shoppers who are seeking the perfect gift.
And, of course, we want you to ensure accuracy and consistency across channels as you battle for a customer’s attention. This will help to counteract price competition—if you can be found first and have the perfect product information, customers will feel confident to immediately purchase. In addition, consumers of varying generations, using different methods and media for their holiday shopping will always find perfect product information—regardless of channel or device.
In addition, we also want to remind you that relevancy is really the key to converting within your channels. The story you want to convey to a male shopper may differ from that for the female shopper. Having a content creation factory that allows you to create the right content for each instance along the customer journey—content that is appropriate for that particular customer—is the key to success.
We can help you with that! Book a demo of inRiver Product Marketing Cloud.
Remember the old adage that a satisfied customer will tell one friend about your product, but an unsatisfied customer will tell nine people?
Now, with the proliferation of user-generated content in the form of reviews and ratings, those numbers have grown exponentially! Research from Forrester Consulting found that 71% of consumers are influenced by ratings and reviews, while 76% say that positive reviews make them more likely to purchase a product.
You shouldn’t be afraid of what your customers might say when they review your products. Instead, leverage this opportunity to increase your conversion rates, while you gain valuable insights into your customers. Utilize your ability to create great product content to gain satisfied customers who write great reviews!
Good Product Information Means More Satisfied Customers and Better Reviews
When you provide comprehensive, complete, and accurate product information, your customers should never be surprised by the product that arrives on the doorstep or at the office reception area. If you are describing the product with the correct attributes, your customers should be completely aware of what they are buying. As a result, when you approach them to provide a rating or review, the information they provide should be more focused on the quality and performance of the product, as opposed to whether the size, shape, or colour was not what they expected.
When you are providing product information, consider what your customers need to know to have a positive experience and ensure that critical information makes it into their hands.
Insights from User-Generated Content Can Fuel Better Product Information
User-generated content gives you a valuable feedback loop. When customers are providing ratings and reviews they are telling you directly what is great—or not so great—about your product. You can then take that first-hand feedback and fix what is broken, or promote what is working. If the customer was disappointed because the size or colour was wrong, you can augment your product information with context that lets future customers know how the garment will likely fit, or what hue of blue they should expect when they buy a particular office chair.
When you foster a dialogue with customers, you boost the impact of your marketing efforts and utilize your customers’ experiences to reinforce your product stories.
User-Generated Content Can Inform Your Product Categories and Messaging
How do customers describe your products when they write a review? Are they using the same labels for attributes and product categories that you do in your product information? What attributes do they focus on the most? What were the key reasons they stated for buying the product?
When you answer these questions, you can align your product categories and messaging with what your customers are searching for and provide the key selling points to seal the deal. You can refine your SEO strategy to reflect commonly-used search terms that your customers actually use, which will help to boost your search rankings, click-through rates, and ultimately drive more sales.
When your customers tell you directly how they search, what they search for, and why they buy, you also have a wealth of insightful information to inform your future search marketing efforts.
Need help developing great product information? Contact us at inRiver! We have the solution for you!
Kathryn Zwack, Senior Content Marketing Manager, inRiver
inRiver’s upcoming PIMpoint Summit 2017 is heavily focused on micro-moments, those intent-driven moments in a buyer’s journey when they are deciding where to go, what to do, how to do something, or what to buy.
The challenge is determining how to make all your best and most appropriate product content available to the buyer in those micro-moments - when they need it. Not only does this take skilled marketers who acutely understand the individual buyer journey, but also requires tools and processes that can support what can be a Herculean effort to address micro-moments.
Manufacturers and distributors may, in some cases, be one step removed from the micro-moments that exist in the retail environment. However, an increasing number of B2B purchases are also being transacted digitally, or, at the very least, being researched in real-time online. It is also important to note that many of today’s Millennial-aged business buyers did not grow up reading catalogs. Making up as much as half the number of B2B buyers, this generation of businesspeople are very comfortable with both researching and buying online.
Thus, we are now in the age of the customer, when empowered buyers can quickly compare product options and make purchases in a single click. They may only contact you when they need to, such as when product information and pricing is only available to the sales rep or when they have a problem or complaint. You need to make the access to information and buying options easy; if you don’t, your competitors will.
The Content Store is an functional application within inRiver PIM. Many types of content can be stored in inRiver’s content store, including images, multi-media files, specification documents, user manuals, product descriptions, and safety information. All these content types are available in a simple-to-use portal.
For those of you who are manufacturers, the Content Store allows your distributors to access and download product information. For wholesale distributors that sell to retail stores, dealers, or contractors, you can provide your customers with a simple way of accessing product information. This is a method that avoids the exchange of emails, files, and spreadsheets. Essentially, the content store within inRiver PIM is a repository for content and product information. You no longer need to email, send spreadsheets or marked up PDF or Word documents. You can simply send your partners, dealers, customers, and internal stakeholders to the Content Store for whatever information they need.
inRiver PIM is a powerful, easy-to-use solution that encompasses and enables the four key stages of the PIM process - supply, enrich, plan, and publish.
The Content Store is the heart of the inRiver PIM organism - a virtual one-stop shop of product information that users can access for all of their product information needs. Instead of descending into spreadsheet Hades or searching for the latest version of product data within the organization’s “content spaghetti,” users can simply add needed content to a shopping cart for download or create assortments online for distribution internally or externally. In addition, multiple Content Stores can be created based on user need. For example, many distributors have set up content stores for their customer-facing sales teams to streamline content and facilitate the sales process. Simple administration functionality allows for the management of users and granting of user permissions. In addition, the inRiver PIM Content Store provides a single-click catalog creation feature for easy publishing - to multiple channels - of customized assortments, looks, or product bundles in PDF format.
If this concept intrigues you, we invite you to learn more. We recently recorded a brief 20-minute webinar and demo that describes the Content Store in more detail and provides an in-depth look into the functionality. Designed specifically for B2B companies who aspire to sell online, the demo includes real-world data and examples.
It is time to be resurrected from an eternity spent in spreadsheet purgatory. Take a look at inRiver PIM’s Content Store! Watch the Webinar On-Demand!
Kathryn Zwack, Senior Content Marketing Manager, inRiver Inc