My Online Creative
In 2018, more than 220 million Americans bought something online. That number is only going to increase in the coming years. And with these new opportunities, it's vital for eCommerce retailers to experiment and refine their current practices (as DMN saw them strategizing at CommerceNext 2019).
As they adapt and improve, they'll draw in customers and ensure their company's success in the coming decade.
So which eCommerce strategies are effective? How have today's companies innovated on yesterday's methods to push the limits of what content can achieve? Here are the six most impressive examples from 2019.
1. Targeted SEO content – ProFlowersMost internet users have encountered the following scenario: They've searched for a particular phrase or keyword, but the search engine's top results aren't helpful. The pages are adjacent to what they're searching for — and they might even have the keyword — but they don't provide any information relevant to their query.
ProFlowers has proven the value in backing up keywords with factual content. They've created an extensive list that details 151 different kinds of flowers. The online encyclopedia includes images, growing zones and seasons and more. As such, they rake in a whopping 17,000 visits to their site each month, all of which is organic traffic. They clearly know what they're doing, as 42 percent of their web traffic comes from organic clickers.
2. More subtle endorsements – BurberryA significant number of brands have celebrity spokespeople, but today's consumers can see through these tactics. In an age where Instagram influencers post about their "favorite" products for money, skepticism is natural. In fact, 49 percent of respondents from a recent survey feel that there should be restrictions on what influencers can post.
Burberry has found a way around this on their website. They've hosted an acoustic music series where artists perform in videos on the Burberry website. These clips aren't necessarily endorsements for the brand, but they may as well be, as visitors who view the series likely see the musicians as promoters. Either way, employing a variety of talented artists is attractive to potential buyers, even if it isn't in the style of a traditional endorsement.
3. Video modeling – Lane BryantAny successful eCommerce business in the fashion industry knows the importance of high-quality photos. These images help buyers decide if they want to purchase something online when they haven't seen it in person. As such, many online retailers have improved the quality of their pictures, whether they're selling clothing, home goods, food or something else.
Clothing store Lane Bryant has one-upped the rest of the fashion industry by including videos of their fashion items. Their models move around in the clothes to give consumers a better idea of how they'll fit and flow. With such an accurate depiction, it's easy to assume that a buyer will feel more comfortable saying yes to the items in their online shopping cart.
4. Incorporated Instagram pictures – TargetTarget is one of America's most popular retailers, but it didn't earn that title without creativity and innovation. They've found a clever way to advertise their products and boost online content without spending anything at all. In short, they leverage their customers' Instagram pictures to show a real-life representation of the products they currently sell.
For example, a consumer might be browsing for a new dress on Target's site. They can view pictures of customers who have purchased it and shared images via Instagram. Alternatively, the consumer can navigate to the website's "Finds" page to see a collection of the most popular products, as designated by social media users.
By incorporating their customers' content into their website, they're able to involve the viewer in a natural, organic way. After all, over 35 percent of marketers say their websites are the strongest channel for driving the most ROI.
5. Short films – YETIWe've already touched on the importance of video in eCommerce when it comes to fashion and online retail shops. But videos are also a powerful tool for drawing in customers organically. In this case, a brand can use storytelling to attract more attention to their site.
ECommerce sites tend not to use video or other forms of storytelling to talk about themselves, however. Instead, they share tales of customers who have used their products in ways that might inspire others to do the same.
YETI has taken this idea and run with it. Their "YETI Presents" series shows everyday people who use their products in survival situations. They create documentary-style videos to share stories and drum up interest in their target demographic. And while the videos aren't intended to directly showcase YETI products, they're featured prominently in the stories they share — a win for the company.
6. Clever product copy – Woot.comOnline shoppers don't just look at pictures when they visit an eCommerce site. They also read the product descriptions to know precisely what they're getting. A run-of-the-mill description is practical, of course, but an engaging, entertaining piece of copy will make an even greater impression on buyers. Something that leaves an emotional impact will stay with them long after they leave a site.
Woot.com serves as an excellent example. They write funny captions and descriptions for their products — so funny, in fact, that some buyers will come back daily to see if the website has any updates. To make this a reality, a brand would have to hire a clever marketing team with a great sense of humor. But the payoff — building a legion of brand loyal customers — would be well worth the effort and expense.
Taking the next stepAny one of the six ideas above has significant potential for an eCommerce business. Site owners can also take these ideas and improve on them, scaling and adapting them as necessary to fit their specific goals. However they choose to proceed, these trends show the importance of creativity, experimentation and a willingness to take risks.
ProFlowers, Burberry, Target and the other businesses on this list underscore the value of doing something out of the ordinary and how it can achieve extraordinary results.