Product content management is how an e-commerce business applies retail merchandising principles to the digital sphere. For years, retailers have studied what exactly affects a shopper's decision to buy including product layout, signage, organization, and more.
The field of e-commerce is much newer in comparison to traditional retail, but many of the same principles apply. In this article, we'll take a look at six ways good product content management can help maximize your e-commerce business. Read till the end to find our infographic recap!
Increased conversion rates
Optimized product content — images, text, reviews, and more — can positively impact conversion rates on sales pages
Your conversion rate is the percentage of visitors that complete a desired goal (like purchasing a product) out of all total visitors. Achieving the best conversion rate isn't an exact science, and what works for one brand may not work for another.
What is clear is that optimizing your product content can result in a higher conversion rate. Optimal product pages should utilize every content opportunity to tilt the shopper’s intent in the right direction during the consideration phase of the purchase. The title should be clear and optimized for search. The page should have multiple customer reviews for prospective buyers to read.
If the e-commerce platform allows for five images, all five should be used. If you are selling on your own website, run some A/B tests on the visual size of your images as well. Skinner Auctions found that using a larger image caused 63% more visitors to click the "Bid Live" button (their CTA), even though it pushed more content below the fold.
Here is an example product page from Cuyana. It has a clear title and great photos. As you scroll down the page, the call-to-action always stays in the same place, and the text gives plenty of information about the product.
Some e-commerce platforms will allow you to see your conversion rate page-by-page in your seller dashboard. If you can't find it there, you can always ask to get a conversion report on your items.
Better SEO rankings for search and Google Shopping
Keyword-rich content can draw shoppers from organic searches and get your Google Shopping listing in front of more eyes
Google has come a long way in delivering hyper-relevant content. Today, at least 61% of internet users research products online before making a purchase, while 75% don't scroll past the first page on Google.
Google has an e-commerce integrated feature called Google Shopping, powered by AdWords and Google Merchant Center. Once you set up a campaign, Google will send qualified traffic to the most relevant product pages, and that is determined by SEO practices. Poor product content management leads to poor traffic volumes.
Product titles are one of the most important ways you can optimize your Google Shopping listing. Research suggests the title plays a huge role in whether or not Google thinks your ad is relevant to a search query. If your product title is optimized, your ad will be seen by more searchers. For example, tests done by Search Engine Land showed an enhanced title can cause ad impressions to double or triple.
Here is an example of a Google Shopping search result along with a product page for the search "gaming keyboard." You'll see that the product page provides a lot of information, but it's also well organized on the page. It has a clear text hierarchy with a title, headings, and bullet points. Viewers can also click on the tabs to read expanded information including a useful tab called “Box Content.”
Once you set up your Google Shopping campaign, you can do tests in search to see if your product comes up for your keywords and to check what place your product is at in the carousel.
Services like SEMrush can run SEO audit tests on particular pages. These tests let you see how you rank for various keywords across search engines and can illuminate areas of product content management for you to work on.
Higher digital shelf presence
Optimized product content can position your page on an e-tailer’s virtual endcap: the first page of on-site results
Digital shelf presence is how your products rank on sites like Amazon for particular search terms. According to Amazon, 70% of shoppers don't click past the first page, while the top three search results account for 64% of clicks.
Optimizing for the digital shelf is similar to traditional SEO. For example, on-site search algorithms look closely at your titles and descriptions. This text should be keyword rich and also easy to understand.
To maximize content, brands should take advantage of Amazon's premium content options: Enhanced Brand Content for sellers and Enhanced Marketing Content (or A+ content) for vendors. These services allow you to add more text, images, and videos to your product page.
Below, you can see the first organic results for the term "Hairdryer." Four out of the five products listed use enhanced content, and that's not just a coincidence. With more content on your page, Amazon's algorithm can index more data and show your product to more relevant searches.
Measuring your digital shelf presence is a little trickier than measuring standard SEO on Google. With data collected on different search algorithms, BlueBoard can measure your performance across multiple e-tailers through a real-time search ranking score. This can help you optimize your product content management plan for the digital shelf.
Deeper brand engagement
Expanded content allows customers to go beyond the sale and build a relationship with the brand
In addition to increasing conversion rates, good product content management can maximize engagement. Conversion is a journey, and a sale is not the only way that shoppers interact with your brand.
Customers can spend time looking at the content of the product page, but also content on social media, blogs, and user reviews before making a purchase. To drive engagement, e-commerce brands should create content beyond the standard product page. For example, a brand that sells computer parts can provide installation tutorials on product pages. They could also run a blog that publishes third-party review articles for customers to read. If someone is intent on buying a product, there's a good chance they will consume all the content available.
Below is a product content management example from Polaroid Originals. In 2008, as Polaroid announced it was closing its last instant camera factory, The Impossible Project (now Polaroid Originals) stepped in to bring it back. In the years since, they’ve worked with Polaroid to release new film and camera models and rekindle their audience.
One unified lifestyle is portrayed through all their content: photo slideshows, videos, and text. Currently, Polaroid Originals is showcasing a design of film that coincides with the Netflix show Stranger Things. The brand is well-known for featured campaigns with famous fashion brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Vivienne Westwood or Puma. They also produce an online magazine that highlights Polaroid’s history and provides photography tips; Polaroid Originals often collaborates with its audience, and even celebrities, on content for the magazine.
Google analytics is the key to measuring engagement. You can track how long someone spends on your site, where they came from, and what they click on. You can also see if a certain blog post or tutorial is leading visitors to check out a product page.
Wider brand awareness
Synchronize product content across channels and be the go-to brand in your category
Top-of-mind awareness (TOMA) is a holy grail for brands. When someone thinks of a product category, their mind immediately goes to one or two brands. For example, "fast-food" conjures up "McDonald's," and "coffee" can bring "Starbucks" to mind.
TOMA doesn't happen overnight, but effective product content management can help you get there. The product page is one piece in a web of content that includes print, TV, digital, social media, and more. It takes anywhere from 5 to 7 impressions for someone to remember your brand. As much as possible, your product page should be coherent with your brand identity and image. For example, when you run a new TV ad campaign, you should update product pages to match the tone of voice, colors, and imagery used in the ad.
You can see an example of this below with Dior's product page on Sephora. Even though Sephora's platform dictates what the general page will look like, Dior includes video content from their marketing campaign. The photos are also synchronized with the campaign, and they have their logo at the top and bottom of the page.
Measuring top-of-mind awareness is a little more involved than just checking website analytics. One thing you can do is monitor mentions of your brand on social media. Another strategy is to employ focus group surveys. Surveys administered by a third party can give you a good idea of how often people think of your brand and how they feel about it.
Lower return rates
Optimized content can reduce returns that are caused by a lack of information or misunderstanding of the product
Bad product content management can be responsible for a high return rate. Shoppers need to know exactly what is in the box; if they are disappointed, they will send it back (and even write a bad review).
It's essential to have multiple photos and even include 360 photos whenever possible. Furthermore, if you sell an item that comes with peripherals like a charger and cord, it's a good idea to create a clear image with text that shows everything inside the box:
Having a healthy number of reviews is part of good product content management and can also reduce return rates. Adidas used review-generation agency S&S to generate product reviews for two new items before they were launched. The reviewers were candid and let prospective customers know of possible sizing issues so they would be more likely to purchase the correct size the first time.
Buying the right size is a big issue for fashion brands. In fact, 8 out of 10 returns are linked to size issues in fashion e-commerce. Burberry has a fit assistant tool to reduce size-related returns, and you can see a photo of it below:
The fit assistant guides users through a number of questions that nail down an exact size for them to try. It can help customers to find the right size, upon their body measurements and fit preference. It's pretty simple to measure the effect of product content management on your return rate since e-commerce platforms typically track of that number and will give the data to you.
Product page content can have a huge effect on sales, returns, engagement, and more, so optimal online merchandising is crucial for brands to be competitive.
Here is the recap of the 6 KPIs in one infographic