How well are you combining content and commerce

No marketing strategy is effective anymore without good content. It’s the cornerstone of engaging with customers on social media channels, ranking in search and your vehicle to demonstrate your brand and values as a business.

With 73% of marketers having stated that they planned to increase their budget spend on content marketing in 2015, it’s abundantly clear that good content has become a major ecommerce marketing priority.

Approaching a content strategy in digital commerce has some significant challenges, however. Naturally, your digital commerce site is built to sell, and your content will likely take a softer approach, as it won’t be of value to your potential customers if it just contains promotional messages. Your content needs to entertain, educate, and demonstrate your brand, as well as (at least indirectly) help you achieve the objective of selling more products.

So how do you achieve this balance? Following ‘Where content and commerce collide’, we decided to look into how brands are marrying content and commerce across different countries.

The content marketing for digital commerce maturity index’ looks at the different types of content being used, its value and effectiveness. The index also analyses distribution methods, branding and the all-important balance between hard sell (product) and soft sell (content).

Our index is not a set of rules or regulations as every brand, product and customers are different. Rather it’s a checklist that allows retailers to take an overview of their content and commerce strategy in order to discover the areas where they might be stronger.

We used the index to score the strategies of retailers across three regions, Benelux, Sweden and the UK, looking at five from each and covering a variety of sectors and retailer categories. In broad terms, it was interesting to see how strategies differed across those regions, and what lessons we can draw from them.

UK retailers excel on quality, but fall down on distribution

As far as quality content goes, the UK is generally ahead of Benelux or Sweden. All of the UK retailers we scored are clearly putting solid investment into good content that is of very real value.

Fashion brand Scotts Menswear’s blog is one such example of extremely strong content from an online retailer. Well-written features, interviews with celebrities that embody the retailer’s brand, music reviews and (naturally!) fashion advice – it’s all there. However, it’s all a bit hidden, without so much as a link from the home page.