The challenge of ecommerce is recreating the in-person experience of browsing and comparing products, while in a digital environment.
People are moved by things they can see, touch, feel, and understand. When customers can’t touch and feel your product, how do you entice them with a rich consumer experience that engages their sensibilities?
The more you can make the process of buying products online similar to what shoppers love about brick and mortar stores, the more likely they are to buy from you.
To make consumers feel like they truly understand the product, you need a compelling product story enriched with interactive content that informs, inspires, and engages.
What is a Product Story?
The product story is the process of educating customers about your product to assist them in making an informed buying decision. This includes content such as demonstration videos, lifestyle photography, warranty information, product specs, customer reviews, and any other information that a customer might want to know about your product. Telling a complete product story is essential to closing the product discovery gap for your potential customers.
What is the Product Discovery Gap?
The product discovery gap is the difference between the product story and the amount of information available on your product detail page. When a customer has questions that can’t be answered on the product page, it makes them hesitant to make a purchase.
To understand the product discovery gap, it helps to think about your product from the customers’ perspective. What do you really know about a product after seeing an image and a brief description online? Can you tell if it will fit in your home? Is it actually the color that’s advertised? How does it compare to similar products?
Close the product discovery gap for your customers by enhancing your hero image and other high value product page real estate with rich media content that is exciting and informative.
Where is the most valuable real estate on a product page? Nielsen found that “74% of the viewing time was spent in the first two screenfuls.”
As the universal internet adage goes: the closer to the top of the page you are, the better. When your content is more engaging, users are encouraged to interact and learn more about what you’re selling.
What is basic content and how is interactive content different?
Basic content is standard product information that is unengaging and low value, such as SKU numbers or price. Text is often plainly formatted, images are limited (if they even exist), and there’s nothing for the consumer to interact with on your page. They passively absorb information if they choose to stay on the page at all.
Interactive content engages the user because it provides information based on user feedback. Consumers are rewarded for clicking and exploring the page with engaging and informative experiences. This rich media content educates the viewer as a salesperson would and accelerates their purchase decision.
When the consumer knows what they’re getting, they can add to cart with confidence.
Customers have expectations about product pages that need to be met before they buy. Salsify found that 70% of shoppers need to see three or more photos while shopping online and 86% need to read at least three reviews before making a decision. Clearly, the “rule of threes” applies to online content.
Currently, a lack of engaging content is a weakness for many brands and retailers. They pour millions of dollars into advertising campaigns that build awareness about their products and drive traffic to product pages, only to lose the sale due to the lack of a compelling product detail page. When you fail to engage the user at the point of sale, it’s likely they’ll jump to a competitor’s site attempting to find product content that meets their needs.
Why does the fight for user engagement matter?
Different sources have different estimates about how long the average user stays on a page, but everyone agrees it isn’t long. It’s essential to keep people on your product page if you want to have a chance of selling to them.
As the internet has grown more dynamic and attractive, the standard for engaging a customer is much higher. You need every solution available to meet the challenges of this neverending arms race.
The top brands on retailers like Walmart will deploy interactive content experiences both above and below the fold. Above the fold content will excite and engage at the first point of contact, and below the fold content completes the product story, answering any lingering questions before the discerning customer makes a purchase decision.
This best practice is supported by data. Behavioral research has found that users rely on information taken from the most engaging content to guide them to other page content and “once they do so, they tend to focus very efficiently only on the information relevant to the task at hand.” according to Nielsen.
This data point emphasizes the need to put your most engaging and informative content right at the top of the page and set the scene for customers throughout the sales journey.
With your customers now seeking more specialized, relevant information, you should then deploy a below the fold content experience. This experience can be more informative and less flashy, rewarding customers seeking final details such as product specs before clicking add to cart.
Why are rich media experiences so important for consumers?
Rich media content is very familiar for consumers. Video is replacing text in news outlets. GIFs and animations are increasingly substituting for static images. PDF documents and manuals are readily available on product websites.
Different types of audiences have different learning styles and varying needs. By understanding your customers and reaching out to those diverse audiences with engaging content that speak to their varied learning preferences, you’re able to reach more people.
When you work with a global retail network, you’re selling to people all over the world in incredibly unique contexts. Not all of them will relate to a brown sofa or a potted plant in the same way. Product copy has one voice, but rich media experiences speak a universal language.
What kinds of interactive content experiences are in the market?
The most noticeable and effective content lives where users are most engaged, above the fold, where Nielsen finds that users still spend the majority (56%) of their time. The hero image is the ideal place for relevant product content. Users are already scanning the hero image to get a sense of your product, so using enhanced, interactive content on the image fits in nicely with the user experience.
Interactive content experiences are built from rich media that people are already familiar with: images, video, galleries, documents, etc. However, different technologies enable the placement of that content on different places of the product detail page. Not all content is created equal.
Sellpoints offers unique interactive images with hotspots on the product hero image that communicate product information instantly and are fully customizable. This is the most eye catching interactive content available today.
Sellpoints Interactive Images increase add to cart rates on product detail pages by an average of 23% in the latest holdout testing.
Our enhanced content can also be placed in-line below the fold, working in tandem with interactive images to complete the product story.
Sellpoints has all the solutions you need to engage users and keep them on the page, educate them, get them excited to buy, then close the deal.