Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Just a short while back, content marketing was the epitome of modern marketing. Nowadays, there are several new ways to gain customers and keep them. One of them is the alliance of two existing forms: content commerce. It is a new concept which connects content marketing with eCommerce and creates undreamt of successes. But what is it exactly that makes content commerce so valuable for you company?
These days, there are more and more customers who shop online. 65 percent of German citizens regularly purchase products on the internet. Web shops are part of daily life and have been for a while; competition amongst operators is tough. For small and medium-sized companies it’s not easy to gain a foothold or to assert themselves. A relatively new idea which attempts at solving this problem and at revolutionising the online shopping experience is content commerce. While a successful implementation is complex, the theory behind it is simple and genius at the same time.
First, let’s look at the “eCommerce” side. These days, online trade shops are booming like never before. They can be considered analogue to their offline counterparts. Distributors are offering their goods in web shops. By using filters, extensive amounts of images and product descriptions, the shop owners can help customers find exactly what they are looking for – and more.
Now let’s focus on the “content” in “content commerce”. Good content entertains, amuses, enrichens, advises, inspires. Content marketing is the standard method of marketing by now. It provides useful knowledge, information or entertainment following the intention of convincing its target group of the company and by doing that, tying existing customers and gaining new ones. Content marketing aims at emotionally stimulating customers.
By using content appropriately, customers experience an emotional tie to a product or company. At the same time, the company serves as an expert that demonstrates its professional expertise and competences with content and not only claims those in commercials.
In content commerce, those two methods’ best aspects get unified: Content is integrated in a web shop; the dividing line becomes blurred. An integral way of shopping experience emerges. By doing this, the company can appeal to customers even before they have decided whether or not they want to buy something. At the same time, customers experience a wholly new shopping experience. Shopping online is not only practical anymore, it arouses enthusiasm.
It is very likely visitors will spend more time on the company website, when it combines commerce and content. Therefore, it both raises the distributor’s chances to make a sale and a customer’s satisfaction as they experience a gain during their stay on the website. This kind of shopping creates a new level of enthusiasm. It is common knowledge customer satisfaction not only means keeping customers, but also being recommended to new customers by the old ones. This happens mainly on social media, where customers share content.
Furthermore, content commerce raises the visibility on search engines. Not every customer visits the corporate website with the intention to buy something. A majority only wants to gather information or browse aimlessly. Such users can be attracted by search engine keywords which do not fall into the “buy” category. Therefore, a good ranking on search engines is easier and cheaper to reach. Website visitors who do not want to buy anything should still be taken into account. If the content or the product palette convinced them, they often return for a purchase later.
If your company wants to successfully apply content commerce, you need to pay attention to a number of details. The most important thing is to know your target group. The more clearly defined your target group is, the better content commerce works. It is at least equally as important to produce quality content which appeals to readers and which customers consume happily. The content should be in line with your shop’s assortment, the two should have a symbiotic relationship. The objective should be to encourage the customer to make a purchase.
Another thing to see to is that your CMS and your eCommerce system work together seamlessly. An intuitive and easy operability is top priority. Therefore, it is important your team has mastered both systems alike. Transitioning to a content commerce model proves difficult for many companies – they experience technological and organisational challenges. Thus, it can be worthwhile turning to experts for a fast and uncomplicated implementation.
Looking at a study carried out by Forrester in summer of 2016, the advantages of content commerce are confirmed. In this study, Forrester analyses the information given by 103 eCommerce decision-makers in the US. 45 percent of the persons asked had already applied content commerce. Another 50 percent were planning or already in the process of doing so. Only five percent had no concrete plans to combine content and eCommerce in one strategy in the near future. As this statistic shows, content commerce has long arrived in the present and is a strategy for the future just as much.
For companies that already use content commerce it is important to keep up with it. The quick changes in this field make it necessary to continuously come up with creative ideas and realize them. Formats such as video content, storytelling and user generated content will gain importance for the shopping experiences of customers. Since the customers’ use of smart devices will keep increasing, Forrester foresees that more and more formats will become relevant. This is also what makes omni-channel solutions a key factor as they allow effortlessly operating several channels. The Forrester study predicts the necessity of wholly new processes and tasks.
As mentioned in the beginning, content commerce is simple in theory, however, realising it should be done with professional technological expertise. In order to be able to react to changes of every kind at all times, a platform suitable for all imminent technical tasks should be chosen for each individual project – such as commercetools. This complex commerce system offers a vast toolset for users which the latter can work with based on their individual needs. It is also completely open and scalable as users need it. A good eCommerce platform – like one based on commercetools – should be easy to operate, reduces the administrator’s work load and has high scalability. For more on commercetools and content commerce, read the interview with byte5 COO Chris Köhler in which he talks about the functions of commercetools and its advantages for companies.