Most online shops look very much alike – a list of categories, subcategories, some product detail pages, a “buy” button, and that’s it. The content is often limited to search optimization purposes, and that's the reason why its quality is mediocre at best. That's because the shop software that is at its core is designed primarily for a search experience.
A constant search and social marketing budget yields less traffic and new customers every year. With customer loyalty becoming ever lower, the acquisition cost for regular customers is converging with that of new customers.
The giants like Amazon are becoming bigger and bigger. At the same time venture-funded newcomers seem to have unlimited money to burn through, rendering pricing and customer acquisition ever less profitable.
If those challenges indeed sound familiar, it's time to try some new approaches.
There is an whole world of inspirational content out there largely untapped by e-commerce businesses. Think of the Vogue magazine in fashion, or the old glossy posh catalogues, where products are not just lists of items. Instead, they are presented as.carefully orchestrated pieces of a story, displayed in a picturesque scenery – a human story which the viewers can relate to. Your potential customers will appreciate content that is emotional, inspiring, useful, entertaining, and reader-oriented, instead of conversion-optimized and sales-driven.
When you have loyal audience – the kind that print magazines have – you can use that organic traffic to feed your transaction engine. That's why we suggest that you start investing in inspirational content. You’ll save a ton on buying ever less profitable performance marketing traffic.
Mr Porter, an international menswear seller, crafts wonderful stories on men fashion in their online magazine. A product page with the “Buy” button is naturally a one click away.
Nasty Gal showcases style collections in neatly organized lookbooks. A nice combination of traditional form and new medium - powered by Contentful.
The web is undergoing radical change, with mobile audience growing every year. Just having a website does not cut it anymore. At a minimum, you’ll need a responsive site – and, even better, a dedicated mobile app experience.
There are other new channels where you might engage your audience. There's Google Now pre-installed on most new Android devices, Apple News on all new iOS devices; there are numerous gigantic messaging platforms that can be used to build a following. Most of these platforms are now fresh and unexplored from an e-commerce marketing point of view.
Building a presence on emerging platforms means that you get the rewards of being an early adopter. Remember the early days of Adwords in 2004? Back then average click prices were in the single digit cents. The pioneers in the new channels are reaping similar rewards, especially when you have the inspirational content to feed to those channels.
While print belongs to the pre-digital media age, industry trade magazines still command insanely high CPM rates compared to their online counterparts. That’s because print still does a great job in engaging the audience, producing interesting content, and inspiring readers. Additionally, print publications have been working hard to actually build a solid distribution.
Surprisingly, e-commerce companies already solve the most difficult challenge of publishing: distribution. When you already ship hundreds of thousands of packages, why not just enclose your own magazine in the package as well?
The actual print run costs are negligible. If you also happen to produce inspirational content, chances are you already have the editorial team in place. Zalando, the European fashion powerhouse does it to great success – 2m circulation at the latest count – and so can you.
What you do need to have in place is a system that seamlessly supports all these initiatives without breaking the bank and straining your team.
Contentful is a content management backend that is being used by e-commerce leaders to power experience-focused shopping platforms. It is different from any CMS of old in that it's developer-friendly and designed to be multi-platform from the ground up. E-commerce enterprises can easily add it onto their existing shop technology stack, create truly inspiring content experience, and delivery to any new (and old) channels.