If one thing is for sure, 2017 is the year of Amazon. Each day it seems that another retailer is failing to keep pace with the retail giant. In the “Amazon era” retailers with an online presence must constantly fight to keep loyal customers and attract new ones. This might look like a difficult battle to win given that most brands have significantly fewer resources and smaller pockets than Amazon. James Brooke, CEO of Amplience recently wrote for Multichannel Merchant, explaining the key to success for many companies lies in better utilizing something they already have: their visual imagery and other online content.
The Editorial Element
Have you ever looked through social media to see what everyone else is wearing? Well you aren’t alone. A recent report from L2 found that 40% of shoppers seek inspiration and discover products online prior to making a clothing or footwear purchase. This means that brands have a tremendous opportunity to turn browsing behavior into buying behavior by infusing their site with compelling, visual and engaging content. This in turn means that retailers must have a strong online presence to entice shoppers.
An increasingly important element in winning the war for relevance online is creative visual content. According to a report by Invodo, shoppers who watch a video are 1.7 times more likely to purchase something than those who don’t. Brands need to capitalize on this by making the videos they post online “shoppable”. This means that consumers can initiate a purchase directly from the video itself. While this sounds like an expensive, time intensive resource, retailers need to see that the value significantly outweighs the drawbacks. Shoppable media is convenient, and fun for customers. Who wouldn’t want to be the fun company with loyal customers?
Much discussion has been had about the purchasing power of the millennial generation, and the demographics’ preference for all things social media. When attempting to compete with a giant like Amazon – a strong social media understanding is crucial. This means correctly utilizing the treasure trove of content social media has to offer.
An apparel retailer, for example, can collect images from Instagram in which their products are featured and republish to their site so that visitors can see the posts. Not only does this engender a more vibrant website experience, it can also drive a higher purchase rate by showcasing how other customers are styling or wearing a specific product. UGC allows brands to tap into the viral nature of social media and reach a wider audience. For example, sharing a photo of a celebrity or influential lifestyle blogger wearing or utilizing a product enables brands to interact with new potential customers and introduce these followers to additional product lines or items.
It’s an exciting time for retail – depending on the day. While Amazon and other industry giants certainly have a fair share of the market, technology advancements have leveled the playing field. Once upon a time small online retailers had little to no chance of competing with these retail giants. But in this tech savvy environment, brands’ success is based on how their ecommerce site operates. If these retailers can check the boxes by raising the profile of editorial content throughout the site, ensuring this content is shoppable and increasing the utilization of UGC, even the smallest of online stores can drive conversions and sales.
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