E-Commerce is proving costly – but primary content can help
High Street Outlets vs E-Commerce Stores
Bradford Shellhammer, co-founder of design-centric online retailer Fab.com, recently made an eyebrow-raising claim: that bricks-and-mortar stores are becoming more cost-effective than their online counterparts.
He claimed that opening a high street store is “probably” cheaper than launching an e-commerce outlet in today’s market. Even when factoring in increased overheads from rent and payroll. And the reason for this shift? According to Shellhammer, it’s down to ever-increasing marketing spend, as well as the hefty costs of postage and returns. In other words, “It costs money to make money”. According to Shellhamer, “When you’re competing for the same ad channels against guys who have unlimited coffers, it’s really difficult.”
Shellhammer contends that if a retailer has a relatively low number of employees, combined with a single premise, it’s perfectly feasible for this model to be cheaper to run than an ecommerce store. As evidence of this shift towards the “old school”, he points to an increase in the number of online start-ups shunning paid online advertising. This is because getting noticed has become so expensive – in favour of traditional media like direct mail and ad hoardings, where competition is less fierce.
Aside from escalating advertising costs, Shellhammer highlights customer returns as another significant drain on revenues for e-tailers. This is where clear, accurate and informative product description content can play a vital role in the customer journey. Importantly it can help to minimise the likelihood of shoppers returning items on the basis that they weren’t “as described”.
Aside from the well-publicised SEO benefits of producing unique product descriptions, this “primary content” should be seen as a critical sales opportunity. This is the equivalent of an interaction with a sales assistant in-store. Get product descriptions right and a customer will feel informed, inspired and compelled to buy; get them wrong and the customer could end up with something they don’t want.
Getting product descriptions right
Creating a product page that really assists conversions and provides as much information as possible to the buyer, lowering the risk of returns, requires smart interaction between design, UX (user experience) and content.
The basic best practice principles include:
1. Highlight product benefits as well as features in product copy. That woven-rope handle isn’t just there for the sake of it. It makes the bag extra comfortable to carry and taps into the season’s nautical trend. Descriptions need to appeal to customers’ emotional and aspirational sentiments. As well as this, providing the “nuts and bolts” of product composition and features is important.
2. Use high-quality product imagery. Research from MDG Advertising found that 67% of consumers consider images “very important” when they buy, and this is critical for reducing the likelihood of returns.
3. Maximise your user-generated content. Analysis from Figleaves.com found that products with reviews had a 12.5% higher conversion rate than those without. While products with 20+ reviews showed an even more marked increase in conversion rate, at 84%.
4. Give as much detail as possible. When customers shop in-store, they can rely on the knowledge and expertise of sales assistants to help them make a decision. The same principle applies to e-commerce; supplementing product pages with extra information like sizing guides, care and maintenance advice, FAQs and “how to wear/use it” tips will give shoppers confidence and make them less likely to return items.
Get in touch
0161 788 0000
We pride ourselves on offering businesses award-winning customer service and first-class advice on every aspect of business communications. We would love to learn more about you and your specific communications needs, so please get in touch.
The Trust has a long-standing relationship with Incom-CNS and considers them an important partner. The Mitel solution has delivered the increased resilience required for our critical services.
The Mitel solution from Incom-CNS has helped us to save money, improve our flexibility to manage seasonal demands, increase our efficiencies and deliver exceptional customer service.
Our customers can speak to the right person, first time, and this level of service sets us apart from the competition. In Incom-CNS and Mitel we have the perfect partnership.
Throughout our relationship, I have found Incom-CNS to be very helpful and professional. I would not hesitate to recommend Incom-CNS to other companies.
The Mitel system from Incom-CNS will pay for itself in two years through significantly reduced management costs and savings on our telephone bill in the order of 20%.
We have worked with Incom-CNS for twenty years and trust their advice and technical capabilities. The Mitel platform is a reliable solution that meets our current and future requirements.
Put simply, the Mitel Unified Communications solution deployed by Incom-CNS delivers less complexity, ease of use and a much lower total cost of ownership to Ison Harrison.