3 Benefits Brands Gain by Prioritizing Product Content
Brands need relevant, impactful product content everywhere commerce happens. Cultivating strong sales and brand loyalty with customers depends on it. In fact, 70 percent of online shoppers often decide not to buy a product because the copy is poorly written—or nonexistent. Shoppers want to make quick, confident decisions during their buying experience. If a product detail page (PDP) lacks the content they’re searching for, they move on to the next option. For example, an ingredient-conscious customer may skip over grocery items failing to include ingredient lists on their PDPs. An elementary school teacher who needs to know the maximum temperature of a glue gun she wants for her classroom won’t buy one if its PDP doesn’t include that critical information.
To meet customer expectations, product content must include these elements:
- honest and relevant product descriptions;
- images capturing all angles and features;
- product dimensions and specs;
- ingredients and certifications (dairy-free, gluten-free, kosher, etc.), when relevant;
- how-to guides; and
- consumer reviews.
By prioritizing product content and including information customers expect to read, brands gain the three benefits detailed below.
1. Unified brand presence in an omnichannel landscape
Consumers view content from multiple channels within the confines of a shopping session. Almost a third of customers visit at least four websites when researching products online. This level of product research shows consumers’ commitment to thoroughly understanding products before deciding which one to purchase.
Because shoppers don’t interact with their content in one place, brands must deliver consistent and impactful product content across all channels. When that consistency falls short, brands fail to meet consumer expectations. That’s a pretty big problem because 80 percent of shoppers expect to have a similar content experience wherever they interact with a brand.
Brands can use technology like a product information management (PIM) system to maintain product data and descriptions consistency across channels, regardless of inventory volume or markets. Brands don’t have to manually enter product data across each channel. Someone makes one update, and the PIM takes care of the rest, reducing the chance of errors.
2. Decreased likelihood of returns
Because more shoppers purchase items online without the opportunity to handle them in person, return rates can increase if the information about the products is inaccurate. Sixty perent of online shoppers blame inaccurate, misleading, or poor product information for e-commerce returns. And because online returns often feel like a chore, product disappointments can deter customers from returning for repeat business.
More than 80 percent of customers won’t make another purchase from a particular brand if its online store has a difficult returns process. But brands that inform customers with rich product content at every possible touchpoint can limit returns and increase customer satisfaction. To meet consumer expectations (and decrease the number of returns), product content should include this level of detail:
- Photos capturing all features and angles. Over 35 percent of returns result from product photography that doesn’t match the actual product—a huge frustration for shoppers who expect to receive what they bought. 360-degree spin imagery gives customers a complete picture of their products, which means no unpleasant surprises when the deliveries arrive. Research also shows that brands adding 360-degree spin imagery to their PDPs see conversions increase by as much as 47 percent.
- Honest and relevant descriptions. Online shoppers rely on brands to provide product information that helps them make a confident and informed purchase decision. Misleading or inaccurate product descriptions and features lead to 34 percent of online returns.
While quality content minimizes returns and increases customer satisfaction, customers will take advantage of returns as long as they remain an option.
3. Increased brand loyalty
Generating consistent revenue relies on brand loyalty. Repeat business generates 65 percent of revenue for most companies, and repeat customers make purchases 90 percent more frequently than new customers. Why? When new customers make a purchase, they gamble on a brand they don’t know. Meanwhile, repeat customers expect an easy, satisfying experience and less friction throughout the purchase journey.
To increase customer loyalty, brands should use reviews to their advantage. Many customers read online reviews, and over half will spend more money on a product when the majority of reviews are positive. These statistics, once again, highlight the importance of product content. Because if content fails—and what arrives isn’t what was promised or accurately presented on the website—a brand is more likely to generate negative reviews. These are the most common customer pain points:
- few or no product images or low-quality images;
- lack of product videos; and
- poorly written, incomplete, or inaccurate product descriptions.
Brands should respond to customer reviews—whether on their website or social media—because customers want to be heard. Responding to compliments and complaints offers brands an opportunity to cultivate valuable customer relationships and generate goodwill, especially if they offer to make good on a disappointment. Over 75 percent of customers recommend a brand to a friend after a single positive experience. Brands can’t afford not to designate time for listening and responding to customers.
Today’s consumers want more than a product. They want an experience with a story. When brands deliver an exceptional product content experience, they deliver that experience, engage the customer and earn their trust — all critical elements for maintaining relevance and longevity.
Randy Mercer is chief product officer at 1WorldSync and is an omnichannel product content expert with more than 15 years of industry experience. He leads 1WorldSync’s global product management and solution architecture teams, aligning the company’s portfolio with current customer needs and emerging market trends. Mercer is a frequent commentator for national and trade media outlets covering retail and e-commerce news.