E-commerce sector (products and services) reached 112 billion euros in 2020 with a growth of 8.5% over the year. The recent acceleration of e-commerce, reinforced by the coronavirus crisis, is a strong incentive for brands and retailers to adjust their communication and online sales strategy.
Beyond a pleasant and reassuring online shopping experience, consumers are now looking for a simple and fluid experience. The content that brands or retailers put online also has an impact on in-store sales, the so-called ROPO effect (Research Online Purchase Offline): in Europe, 75% of Internet users who make a local search using their smartphone then go to the store within 24 hours. That’s the reason it is also important to do SEO (search engine optimization) to increase online visibility. Therefore, more than ever, brands and retailers need to take care of their online presence with quality content.
The content that brands put online to make e-commerce sales can take various forms: product sheets describing the characteristics and advantages of a product, visuals and videos allowing the consumer to see what the product looks like, comments and technical notes left by professionals (FNAC lab) or even by individuals (customer reviews)… Producing, putting online and bringing to life all of its content – whether produced internally or by consumers – is a real challenge for brands and retailers. Several techniques and tools are available to help them implement the best strategy.
Through a short series of articles, we will try to answer the following question: how can a brand or a retailer boost its e-commerce and in-store appeal through its online content?
How to choose a content syndication platform?
Syndication platforms allow brands and retailers to improve the content they put online. Syndication meets two specific objectives:
- Automate content flows
- Enrich the type of content available
As each syndication platform has its own characteristics, we will try to understand how to choose the one that best suits your needs.
The first criterion to consider is naturally the desired use cases.
1 – Choose the different use cases
Case #1: Automate content flows
This is a feature offered by platforms specialized in basic content management (content-type: titles, photos, videos, and descriptions). Syndication platforms that offer this use case will connect directly to your PIM (Product Inventory Management) and your DAM (Digital Asset Management) to automate the uploading of your content to your online storefronts. This will allow you to update in real-time your content on the perimeter that you will have defined with your syndication partner. You will thus avoid putting online and updating this content over the counter.
Case #2: Enrich the type of content available online
This is a feature offered by platforms that specialize in the management of enriched content (content such as customer reviews, FAQs, 3D visualizations, mini-sites, hot spots, A+ content, etc.). The syndication platforms that offer this use case will allow you to centralize and create rich content before distributing it to part of your online stores. This will allow you to enrich the experience of the online visitor on the product pages you have chosen.
The two use cases presented are not exclusive and some platforms offer both. Moreover, each syndication platform can cover all content elements, whether basic or rich or only a part of them.
Once this first criterion has been evaluated, the second criterion consists in measuring the adequacy of the scope of application of these syndication platforms with your field of action.
2 – Assess the scope of the platforms under consideration
When considering the scope of syndication platforms, we are first interested in the geographical dimension: does your prospective syndication partner cover all the markets where you are active? Keeping in mind that features made available in one market by a syndication platform are not necessarily available in all others, even if features exclusively available in one market can be a good indicator of their future deployment in other markets.
We then look at the sites (own sites, e-retailer, pure player…) covered by the platform. Related to the geographical presence, each syndication platform works with its network of retailers. Some retailers are compatible with multiple syndication platforms, others work exclusively with certain platforms, others are not compatible with these platforms. This will allow you to measure how much of your business is covered by the syndication platform’s scope of application.
Once this second criterion has been considered, you can evaluate the operational impact that these partners can have on your operations.
3 -Integrate the operational prism
Before choosing a syndication partner, it is necessary to consider other more operational factors such as billing models and additional services offered, as these may differ from one platform to another. It will be important to speak directly to the syndication platforms to choose the one that best fits your strategy.
Although syndication platforms are gradually expanding their use cases and scopes, it can be difficult to find a syndication partner that covers all the use cases you want in your scope. If this is the case, it may be appropriate to look beyond one syndication partner and see if the complementarity of several platforms better meets your needs. Finally, syndication platforms are not your only recourse to syndicate your content, you can also choose to create API connectors directly with your network of retailers.
Would you like to get more information about e-commerce and content strategy? Contact our experienced team today.