Why content marketing is ecommerce’s new best friend in driving customer journeys
Ecommerce is constantly evolving along with the rest of the web, yet one aspect has not changed. That is, the important of search intent in the buyer journey.
Consumers continue to use search to find, research and buy the products that they want.
However, though this basic fact may not be changing, the way search works is. Search algorithms and in particular those by Google are regularly updated to focus more on quality and relevance of content. So now ecommerce businesses have to think differently about content's position in the buyer journey.
Long gone are the days of keyword density, link farms and ghost pages. Want your products to rank well for search? You need quality content.
How are Ecommerce businesses using content marketing? New research from Econsultancy and Episerver report shows an increasing importance attached to content marketing In ecommerce, 60% companies see content engagement increasing and 30% of companies plan to invest more in creating original and unique content. They are making this investment to stay ahead of competition, as well as a way to improve SEO.
Of course the trend is not just one affecting ecommerce, content marketing is now a tactic deployed across a broad variety of sectors. But it has particular value for ecommerce, and ecommerce companies are already seeing real value from a financial perspective. They are starting to realise that content is the conduit for merchandising, and many are putting more emphasis in creating high quality product and editorial content that fits with their customers’ lifestyle interests as a way to help drive ecommerce journeys. No wonder all of the companies interviewed in the recent Econsultancy and Episerver report have cited increased revenue as a commercial benefit of doing content marketing.
'Content' can play many roles in an ecommerce context. We're seeing a rise of editorial and curated merchandise, where brands have identified the need to engage customers around lifestyle elements or interest areas and not just sell products. Content is playing a key role in educating, inspiring and seducing customers in this way.
Take our customer Norrøna, a high end outdoor clothing brand who has recently re-launched their website to combine the content and commerce experience. They believe that the story of the sports (snowboarding, skiing, biking etc) can be as important as the product (outdoor clothing) itself.
The editorial follows various professional ambassadors in outdoor and snowsports. An example piece of content features Andreas Wiig, a famous professional snowboarder, on a trip to Japan to review the snow condition and local culture. A video shows him on the ski slopes with his Japanese host, alongside information about how to get to the island of Hokkaido and curated product merchandise to match.
Interest area example:
Another of our customers Key Music, a music retailer operating in several regions across Europe, has a particularly strong case here. As musicians are invariably passionate about their past time, Key Music saw an opportunity to use specialist content to help it engage with its customers. The screenshot here is a branded landing page combining the brand story of Gibson and product merchandise with a video of the craftsmanship of Gibson guitars.
The business also employs a network of freelance music writers who have specialist knowledge in the different areas its customers are interested in. Operating across several countries, they have specialists to deliver content across languages and interest areas.
Selfridges’ Beauty Project makes great use of multichannel content marketing designed to drive sales through customer engagement. The campaign made use of in-store photo booth that streams content live into store window displays, live feed of content to Google+, campaign video content, iconic photography from well-known photographers and filmmakers and social hashtag #beautyproject to encourage customers interaction with the campaign via social media, in-store and online.