E-commerce and content have traditionally been treated as separate entities in service of a single brand. However, increased digitalisation and changing consumer demands has led to a fusion of the two. We should embrace this change and apply it to the electrical industry.
Online retail is big business. Online sales in UK, Germany, France, The Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, Poland and Spain grew from £132.05 bn in 2014 to £156.67 bn in 2015. These stats are expected to continue to grow again to reach £215.38 bn in 2017.
As the digitalisation of retail channels continues to develop, so too do the demands and expectations of customers. In 2016, Styla, an AI-powered Content Commerce technology released a white paper called Content Commerce 101 which refers to a shift of power from brands to consumers.
The shift is furled entirely by digitisation. Consumers have become used to getting all their information instantly online, with social media feeds and e-shots tailored to their purchase history and interests. This is a competitive space and the biggest challenge is capturing the attention of the customer to secure sales conversions.
To thrive in this environment, brands can no longer treat their content and e-commerce operations separately.
Today’s consumer requires an integrated, holistic experience that is content centred, linking intelligently between content and product with an emotionally engaging (or intrinsically useful) presentation, instead of an overtly promotional (catalogue esque) layout.
Fashion and tech retail platforms have been particularly effective in approaching content commerce. Brands in this arena are designed solely towards turning browsers into customers. There is no reason why the promotion of, let’s say, smart home product to homeowners can’t be mirrored to this model.
The first step is discovery. The user can be initially engaged, maybe via a quick blog, video or listicle about new technology and trends posted on a social media channel. Once the user is engaged, the next step is to inform. The user will want to look at specific products available and maybe browse over some case studies and promotional videos for inspiration and to help them see how the solutions could fit in with their lifestyle. Next, they may have found a couple of products they like and will want to educate themselves to make an informed choice before they purchase. At this stage, it is usually a good opportunity to inspire an emotional response/need for the product, by giving access to product reviews and testimonials. Once assured that they have selected the correct product, the user can become a customer.
At all points, the user is just a click away from buying the product, but the integrated content helps turn a maybe into a yes.
Customer focused content
In many ways, content commerce is more important for trade professionals. Quality work requires quality products and workmanship, but you can’t just throw product information at them and hope for the best.
If you want your customer to identify with your brand, then you need to identify your customer. Isolate a persona (the typical customer). How much do they earn? Do they have a family? What are their hobbies and ambitions? What matters to them when it comes to their job? How does this product help them achieve that?
With a clear persona in mind, you can take a strategic approach to your content, that engages your customers and builds a stronger, more holistic relationship with your brand that inspires a purchase rather than demanding it.
"The digitalisation, the super-informed customers, an increasing need for value and importance of content, as opposed to mere consumption of products, are only a few elements that all point towards Content Commerce. The new demand in the market is clearly articulated in the terminology of this evolving discipline: commerce is preceded by content." Content Commerce 101- Styla- 2016