We can all agree the past year has been a whirlwind and the pandemic accelerated many trends in online shopping. With e-commerce sales surging to more than 30 percent in 2020, brands have been forced to find creative ways to improve their online presence — and fast.
For consumer goods companies, it’s especially challenging to create an in-store experience on the digital shelf — you can’t replicate the smells of fresh bread or a demo station, and you can’t strategically place impulse buys at the end of aisles.
However, embracing new technologies and rich content can create an environment that brings shoppers closer to a product.
The behaviors and trends we’ve seen as a result of the pandemic are here to stay and will become part of a more complex relationship with retail. So how can CG brands and retailers lean into these changes to improve the online shopping experience, drive sales and limit returns?
1. Utilize enhanced content to connect with shoppers
As more consumers shop online, brands have the chance to go much deeper, pulling a shopper in and engaging them with details beyond their product’s label to reinforce an item’s uses and benefits. That’s where enhanced content can help.
Enhanced content is where products move from simple descriptions to telling a story, creating ways to engage with consumers. From interactive images to demonstration videos, it’s what helps keep customers on the page longer, learn more and make more emotional connections to a product.
Adding enhanced content to a product detail page creates a richer, more engaging shopper experience and improves brand trust, which can increase online conversions and mitigate returns. In fact, we found that product detail pages with enhanced content drive 12-36% more shopper conversions than those without.
And, on average, detailed, accurate product descriptions reduce returns by 42%. We also saw this trend over Cyber Weekend, where consumers who interacted with enhanced content were 34% more likely to convert than those who didn’t.
2. Leverage wellness trends
For many products, wellness can be another secret weapon. Whether a shopper is trying to stay fit or follow a diet, having additional information on nutritional, health and wellness features is an extremely important opportunity. As consumers continue shopping online, 47% said food retailers can support their efforts to eat well by providing healthier choices — and that cannot be ignored.
However, there are physical limits on what information can be provided on the package label itself. This deeper wellness information must be created or enriched in other ways.
For example, this wellness content can be used by CG companies and their retailer partners to help curate online “digital aisles,” or search/SEO terms on their sites based on those wellness attributes.
Without the constraints of a physical space, CG brands can create more engaging and interactive ways to move items into the cart and through the checkout process. For example, using a detailed wellness analysis on product contents and item assortment, can help to drive better engagement. Consider the types of wellness categories a product assortment falls into and find gaps or promote product combinations for wellness-friendly diets.
It’s also telling that Amazon was listed as one of the top grocery retailers in 2020. By meeting consumers where they are (online), and providing relevant and informative nutritional details, brands can meet the demands of today’s consumers on digital shelves.
3. Experiment and be prepared to evolve
In today’s world, brands and retailers are expected to have an online presence. So much so that 74% of our clients said they are trying to recreate their in-store shopping experiences online.
We expect this year will show an even greater expansion of online and automated capabilities for shoppers. That’s why it’s important to evaluate your digital tools to ensure you’re prepared for the continued growth in ecommerce.
To stay at the forefront of the evolving landscape, brands and retailers must be open to trying new things, adopting new technologies and seeing what resonates with consumers.
Consumers expect more than convenience — they want transparency and expect to find any information they need about a product immediately. Shoppers are also starting to connect and interact with brands more deeply online. Thus, the environment you create for them can lead to a sale or have them look elsewhere.
Adding enhanced content to a product detail page, leveraging wellness trends, and experimenting with new digital ideas improves brand trust, ultimately increasing online conversions and decreasing returns. To simply list out product features and benefits misses out on the opportunity to deliver engaging shopping experiences online.
Mark Detelich is the chief product officer at Syndigo, a product content management, syndication and analytics company that provides a platform for brands and retailers to deliver a consistent presence across the retail ecosystem.