What Do Products and Content Have in Common?

Here’s a statistic every online retailer should know by heart: “71% of prospective online buyers rely on product information and content when they are considering a purchase.” As Forrester points out, the content that consumers turn to during the exploration and decision making phases extend well beyond the product details page.

For instance, an executive at Barneys told Internet Retailer last week that shoppers who read their online editorial magazine, The Window, spend 40% more than their average shopper. He added that “visitors who are engaging with our personalized editorial are converting 4x-5x higher than the average user.”

While many brands discuss their need to leverage content marketing, few that are executing it correctly. As eConsultancy opined, “very few brands really met the mantra of ‘brands as publishers’ which so regularly appears in talks and books about the explosion of content marketing.”

One way retailers can start to look at content is already in their own backyard, just like their products. Content should be targeted and have a full set of attributes associated with it. With products, those attributes are more obvious: color, manufacturer, size, style, length, etc. For content it could be topic (fall fashion), length (400 words), category (evening wear), author, etc. When retailers develop content with attributes, they can start seeing how their content populates particular products or categories in their store, which authors are creating the most read articles, if some lengths are read more than others, etc.

While this approach takes care of assisting with a strategic approach to what is being produced, there is also another benefit that might be even more valuable. The attributes you associate with articles and content also can help drive presenting the most relevant content to each individual with 1 to 1 Personalization. For a retailer, you can take the shopper’s preferred category of clothing and make sure to present that relevant content to them next time they visit the site or package it in email to promote traffic back to the site. The purpose of content is to create more engagement between brand and shopper. By intelligently targeting that content, you can make sure it is being presented to the audience most likely to read – all it while creating a stronger relationship with the customer.

You can see how this can have greater impact in the online publishing industry. As more companies understand the value of intelligent attribution of content, it is clear how articles that are brought front and center by a favorite author – or most frequented topic – can create more reading and engagement. This results more ad revenue as shoppers stay on the site longer.

The power of content is obvious for retailers. The secret is making sure you imbed intelligent information in the form of attributes to the content so you know what to produce and. Then you can make sure it is delivered to the right audience online using 1 to 1 Personalization.

Kurt Heinemann

Kurt is Reflektion’s CMO. His resume includes CMO positions at Marketwired and Monetate. He’s also held senior executive positions at Priceline, Time Warner and Walker Digital Companies. Despite living in Yankees territory, Kurt is a die hard Tigers fan.