Consumers spend very little time weighing up a website. You have just 30-40 seconds to leave a lasting impression and to guide them through to product-specific pages. Time is of the essence.
Getting the content right first for users and secondly for SEO is crucial. Knowing your customer’s wants and needs is the first step to defining content and harnessing it successfully. Here are my top tips for turning page views into purchases through content planning.
Photography and video
Whether a customer is booking a hotel room or buying a pencil skirt, they want to experience the product as much as possible online before committing. This means knowing who your audience is and finding the best way of presenting that product to meet their purchasing requirements.
When a customer is thinking of buying clothes or shoes online for example, they not only want to experience the look and hang of a fabric, but how it looks on a person. Findings of research with a major footwear retailer proved that customers appreciate seeing a pair of shoes at different angles, but these angles shown on a model increased the likelihood of conversion.
Zappos.com (pic above) displays a video of a model showing the various angles of the shoe I’m viewing.
Customers love advice from friends, but who do they seek advice from even more? Complete strangers. Product reviews from unbiased parties, including product photos and results, can help users decide whether a product is truly for them.
Product reviews and user generated media help to clarify consideration points for users, making them more trusting of site content and the overall brand. Sephora (below) for example is extremely transparent with customers about reviews, not sugar coating content for sales.
Users can upload photos of their make-up purchases and skincare results to show others how great, or poor, a product is.
Results shown can even be filtered by user preference to match skin type, tone and eye colour.
Anthropologie (above) customers feedback on their recent purchases to aid others in their decisions.
Product availability is a delicate balance between persuasion and information. Too much information can deter a purchase or confuse users; just enough can close the deal. What if there’s no product availability? By understanding what the customer sought after, alternatives must match that similar profile to maintain engagement. Or alternatively offering a notification opt-in for when the item is back in stock can lead to further messaging opportunities and customer engagement.
Some retailers will specify exactly how many units are left when a user views an item already in their cart. This can be a gentle nudge that stock is running low. Gilt for example shows how many other sizes have sold out completely; my size is the only one left so I understand the item won’t last long.
& Other Stories (below) shows when stock is low for an item, encouraging the customer to purchase before it’s too late.
Additional real-time data persuasion
Gilt and Net-a-Porter have both recently launched live features on their sites to show customers what is selling in the moment. This allows for purchase inspiration by location and brand, whilst adding a sense of urgency to the acquisition of high profile products that might be selling out soon. Although informative, this persuasion feature isn’t key to closing a sale but might very well impact consideration.
Net-a-Porter Live (above) shows what users add to their carts and wish lists by location.
With retailers like Net-a-Porter suffering from over 50% of products being returned to fulfilment, eTailers need to consider the cost of returns and how content can best inform users’ choices, not sales targets. By focusing internal efforts on updating site content based on user requirements and expectations, you can gain initial trust around the eCommerce experience you provide to end users. The more informed users are about what the outcome of their purchase, the more empowered they become to transact with you.