By Alyssa Meritt, on Jun 18, 2019

The retail disconnect: Content is currency in retail, but retailers are wasting it

Ecommerce companies are wrestling with how to deploy content across all of their digital channels. I’ve seen this consulting with retailers of all sorts — ranging from global ecommerce giants to specialty fashion retailers and big box stores.

This much is obvious: content gets customers to convert. That’s why it’s time for retailers to rethink their approach to managing content and improve their ability to drive sales.

There are a few key ingredients that make up agile ecommerce success: Alignment across channels; repurposing content to get more value; and optimizing content so the right message reaches the target customer at the right time.

Aligning campaigns across digital platforms

For example, a major housewares retailer has different teams controlling its website, app, and in-store experiences. As a result, the campaigns and customer incentives don’t align. That means when I shop online, I see different discounts available to me than if I’m in the store. When the store doesn’t honor the discount offered online, I’m left with a frustrating experience.

To combat this siloed approach to digital marketing, ecommerce companies can unify their content in a single platform, rather than leaving it in a traditional CMS that serves only one channel. Content infrastructure enables retailers to control campaigns in a cohesive way. This unity is powerful — marketing no longer needs an army of cut-and-paste elves to keep content current across channels.

Repurposing content across platforms

I’ve also worked with ecommerce companies that have multiple agencies, partners and vendors contributing to the content ecosystem. This content is rarely shared across channels, diminishing its effectiveness and outreach, and undermining the substantial investment in creating the content itself. If you’re a global retailer, this challenge is multiplied by each of the channels and countries you translate content for.

Omnichannel is much more than just becoming channel agnostic. As ecommerce expands into more channels with greater demand for localization and personalization, managing content at the single channel level isn’t just inconvenient — it’s unsustainable. One solution is to streamline content operations by creating a single point from which content flows. This also future-proofs your content investment as new channels are introduced

Improvement (and results!) through content optimization

Optimizing content allows you to deliver the right content to the right person on the right channel in the right language. That’s a tall order. You have to know your audience, optimize for the screen or channel and then translate it all.

Content reuse makes content more consistent, updates quicker and translation cheaper. Testing and experimentation can also further improve upon your ability to see results. Building experimentation into your content workflow is one of the best ways to make it actionable. You can click here to learn more about how cult-status makeup brand Glossier uses experimentation to optimize their content.

Competition in retail is fierce and profit margins are often slim. The advantage of agility — the ability to reuse content, spin up new sites or experiences, and deploy resources where their skills are best used is a significant competitive advantage.

Make a smart investment

You shouldn’t be forced to make trade-offs. If you have great content, why should it be limited to a single channel? And if you choose to embrace the idea of building content once and deploying it everywhere, are your tools going to keep pace?

Agile ecommerce allows retailers to operationalize content across channels, and enables developers to swiftly integrate their solutions stack with new technology.

In our latest white paper, we explore the trends that are driving the adoption of agile ecommerce and explain how the right infrastructure can fix some of your most crippling pain points. Each section includes specific customer examples and strategies for success.

Click here to learn why agile ecommerce is a smart investment, and how it can unlock the value of your content.

Alyssa Meritt

As Director of Content Operations Strategy at Contentful, Alyssa helps organizations define strategy and operations for digital content, accelerating their ability to deliver unified content across all digital platforms. Alyssa is an international speaker and consultant on omnichannel digital strategy. Her 20-year career includes creating and leading global strategic services, as well as agency and client-side roles. She has personally consulted with more than 10% of the Fortune 500, including brands such as Home Depot, Gap, Starwood, and Virgin Atlantic, ABC News and Bank of America.