Become a media producer, drive demand and create new paths to conversion.
A couple of months ago, I attended Group Commerce's "ThinkCommerce" summit. Group Commerce focuses on e-commerce for Publishers, making their business adjacent to ChannelAdvisor if not completely overlapping. A lot of the content was still extremely informative for me. If you're interested in a snapshot of where the Media Industry's e-commerce efforts are, there's a lot of reports, slides, and videos at the ThinkCommerce website. I particularly recommend the Keynotes video presented by Forrester's Sucharita Mulpuru and Terence Kawaja.
The primary message in this summit that stood out to me as an e-commerce professional, is that the Media Industry is actively coming after e-commerce in 2013. With subscriptions and ad revenues both in decline, they have to. There is no choice in the matter.
The quote to the right was one of the big things that I heard the ex-News Corp Chief say. The whole message of this conference was that media companies have to enter e-commerce fast. This quote turns that proposition on its head. Retailers should be creating media to drive consumer demand. Retailers should become media companies that drive demand through media/consumer interaction. This is the primary idea that I took from the day.
What kinds of media could this include? Here are 3 simple things you can do to create media that helps build your customer community.
1. Video reviews & Lifestyle Videos
Video reviews can be a great conversion enhancer and present an opportunity to create a unique voice that your customer can relate to. Numerous studies have shown that including product videos can significantly enhance conversion rates.
Similarly to a review, lifestyle videos can provide an opportunity to connect with your consumer and provide great content for other marketing channels like email or social media. The next time that you conduct a product photography session, try capturing some video* of the shoot and editing the footage into a "Spring Preview" or "New Products" video. This can become a great recurring featurette to highlight on your homepage, blog, or marketing channels.
Retail brands that consistently feature content become regular destinations for consumers that want to know more about a product before they will make a purchase.
*Most digital point-and-shoot cameras are capable of capturing quality high-resolution video and many laptops and desktops come pre-loaded with video editing software (iMovie / Windows Movie Maker). Odds are you also have an employee that's already familiar as a hobbyist with the skills necessary to produce great video content to use in a pilot program. YouTube can host the videos for free. With an initial success you can justify putting more resources into a more substantial effort.
2. Top 5 List / Tips List
People love lists! Featuring a list of "Top 5 Products for... X" on your homepage will always attract clicks. There's no reason to rely on magazines and blogs to create these for you. Simply identify products with some common threads and pull them together with some thematic copy that appeals to the type of shopper that you’re targeting with each list. Consumers will use this when shopping for themselves as well as for others.
Products used to accomplish a consumer's goal can also be bundled together into a "Tips" list. For retailers of tools and hardware, try creating a list of products necessary for completing home improvement projects. For automotive retailers why not try writing an article about "5 Simple Projects to Pimp Your Ride."
3. Featured Product write-ups / Trend Alerts
Try to take a different angle on the product review. Is your brand identity tied to a region? Have any company connections to celebrities or athletes? Try working with strong personalities within or without your organization and have them integrate the products that you sell into their daily life, possibly with a regional twist if possible. Do you sell kitchen products? Have one of your employees that loves to cook try out a new product to make something and share the recipe.
If you see a category emerge within your products that is really moving, try building on that natural momentum. Feature the product category on your homepage. On the alert page, highlight what product trends your buyers need to know about with editorial and links to products that relate to this trend.
Hopefully, these ideas have sparked some creativity. Being a retailer can be about more than just the products you sell, but also about the personality of your Brand. Letting your consumers see into this personality is part of what will keep them coming back. The media companies are coming. As a retailer you are already ahead of them in knowing how to be successful at e-commerce. Now it’s time to show them how to create great content.
Check out some of our customer success videos to see how we've taken a case study spin on content creation.
Blog post by David Monterroso, ChannelAdvisor Senior Solution Consultant @MontyCommerce