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Opinion

Why successful e-commerce companies are content creators

According to recent reports, Australia’s online sales are expected to exceed $32 billion in 2017, placing it in the top 10 of the world. This growth has also resulted in global competition, sparking an onslaught of pricing wars, with brands hoping to attract and keep customers by enticing them with the latest sales and promotions.

But the fact is that most successful e-commerce companies are not necessarily the ones that have the cheapest promotions. Successful brands resonate with their customers via an omnichannel content strategy.

While many corporations attempt to minimise costs and company overheads in an effort to provide a cheaper offering, a content strategy does the opposite – it looks to add value to a company’s offerings, promote authentic engagement, and establish the brand as an industry leader.

The shift from one-way mass communications to individualised interactions signals a departure from traditional forms of marketing. It is no longer sufficient to send a generic message out. An authentic relationship with customers is essential to succeed in today’s digital world.

Hence, personalised content seems to be the key to customer engagement.

The role of a content strategy is to use an individual’s data to engage with the customer and ultimately drive conversations. Alarmingly, according to a recent Capgemini and the MIT Initiative survey, less than 10 percent of the information collected by organisations has actually been used.

Content strategy as a key element

With this in mind, how-to guides and expert advice are two forms of content that are employed by successful e-commerce companies looking to nurture their customer relationships.

There are various advantages to this. Consumers are able to utilise their purchased products to its fullest value, the brand demonstrates that they are in touch with their market and also reinforces its position as an industry leader.

Bulk Powders’ newsletter is a good example of this. By ensuring a good mix of content and promotions within their email, they demonstrate a deep understanding of their consumer base whilst providing a practical and engaging way of utilising the products they offer.

In this case, a recipe is a great opportunity for Bulk Powders to provide commentary and offer expert advice on protein intake. Even in the case that the customer doesn’t read the recipe, its inclusion within the newsletter shows that Bulk Powders isn’t solely concerned about sales and is acting as a helpful nutritional expert.

The importance of building relationships

The modern consumer can be very cynical about marketing messages, especially when companies fail to tailor the communications to their contacts. Yet while trust in brand messaging has declined, the influence of consumer recommendations and word of mouth has skyrocketed.C

Successful e-commerce companies have recognised this trend and have developed a content strategy that captures and fosters positive interactions.

Global skincare brand Elemis, for example, has developed an entire campaign based on user-generated content (UGC). Customer reviews and feedback are great testimonies to a brand, and they are effective examples of content that promote an impartial view.

However, it’s important to remember that the best messages and guides will amount to very little if it doesn’t spark the customer’s interest. Hence, a combination of UGC and customer insight – such as past orders and behaviours – is the key to success.

The emergence of content curation within successful e-commerce companies is no coincidence. It’s reflective of the changing media landscape and the need for online retailers to connect with their customers in an effective and meaningful way.

At the same time, content strategy promotes authenticity and can also be a vehicle for positive consumer affluence. At the core of this are individual data insights that pave the way for authentic engagement.

Tink Taylor is the founder and president of dotmailer. He has 20 years’ experience in digital marketing in the UK, the US and more recently in the APAC region. Tink helps individual organisations, and the industry as a whole, to develop and progress. 

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