by Dave Feinleib, CEO of Content Analytics
As the holiday season quickly approaches, it’s important for brands and retailers to step up their online presence. By doing so, they can win over more customers both in-store and online.
Product content is a simple yet incredibly effective way to engage with shoppers. Product content refers to the product names, descriptions and images displayed on sites like Amazon and Walmart. Strong product content improves the visibility of items in search results and increases conversion rates once shoppers land on an item page.
To be successful with product content, all brands and retailers need to do is remember SMEA:
Setup — The first step involves getting new items up online. Getting items set up for in-store purchasing can be a multi-month process, but items can be live online in a matter of a couple days — in some cases even faster.
Manage — Brands need to consistently manage their product content and organize all of it in one place. Doing so allows brands to have easy access to their content when they need it, and with the right tools, they can maintain a history of what content was edited, when and by whom. The right tools can also help brands get out of spreadsheets and into modern, web-based interfaces that make editing and updating product content fast and easy.
Enrich — If brands don’t already have multiple high-resolution images, search-optimized product descriptions, and rich product content like videos and 360-degree tours, they should create those themselves or work with partners to maximize product content success.
Audit — Once the content is ready to go, brands need to monitor for updated content on the sites and ensure everything is how it should be. Here again, the right tools can make a huge difference, automatically comparing content live on your site. Because you may receive product content and product descriptions from multiple sources, being able to audit content in an automated and streamlined way is essential to a robust content update workflow.
Many brands have experience merchandising their products for brick-and-mortar but aren’t yet where they want to be when it comes to digital. Fortunately, with SMEA, brands and retailers can quickly up their ecommerce game. Here are a few key differences between brick-and-mortar and online to keep in mind when implementing SMEA:
Changes happen fast
Online, changes can take place in a matter of minutes or hours. Unlike a packaging refresh in-store, for example, which has to wait until the physical product sells through (or is replaced) across all stores, a brand can execute a packaging update online with the click of a button.
Come prepared to experiment and iterate
In a recent conversation with the head of ecommerce at a major Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) company, one of the things the brand asked me was what our leading clients were doing well. One of the top items I highlighted was a willingness to experiment with new ideas, new content and new workflows. I’ve been amazed to see just how experimental some of the largest brands in the world are when it comes to ecommerce. Because ecommerce, including the content strategies that go with it, are changing all the time, this approach really pays off. Being a small retailer actually gives you an advantage over the big brands as you can be more nimble.
Unique content drives results
The historical wisdom for branding is that a brand should have the same brand identity everywhere. But when it comes to ecommerce, brands are best served by optimizing and customizing content. Search engines like Google look for unique content — so when a brand provides the exact same product description copy to every retailer, search engines see that as duplicate content. By customizing that copy and making it unique, at least for your most important items, retailers can ensure that their items will appear more highly ranked in search results, resulting in more visits to these items and ultimately, more sales.
More than ever, online content is the first interaction many shoppers have with today’s products, even if those shoppers ultimately choose to buy those products in-store. Using SMEA—setup, manage, enrich and audit—it’s easy for brands and retailers alike to leverage great content to drive more sales this holiday season and beyond.
David Feinleib is the founder and CEO of Content Analytics, Inc., the leader in ecommerce content management and analytics solutions.