Retail, especially online retail is a delicate domain. A customer who is all set to buy, may be riled by a technical glitch and abandon the cart. When it comes to the success of online retail, nothing matters more than
- UX design
- Onsite content
Online retail is important (inasmuch as it is dubbed as the future of retail), and so is offline retail. More on this will be discussed later.
For now, let’s give a look at the key considerations for content and design strategies, needed to bolster the retail industry. High-quality content creation is essential, but the content should be presented in the form of
It has become very popular lately. Brands lure prospects using product stories. The best part about product stories is they can give even worthless products a complete makeover. A brand called Significant Object applied this technique. They run the whole campaign with an experimental approach.
First, they purchased second-hand items for less than $2 a piece. Next, they asked copywriters to produce fictitious narratives with positive undertone, subtly endorsing the cast-off items. The result was a whopping 2700% increase in sale of those products. Significant Object is just one example; there are plenty other brands harnessing the power of product stories.
Both UX elements and content play a major role in the success of product stories. In the above example, the credit goes to content marketers. To create compelling product stories, brands may have to use multimedia elements. Navigation and UX design shouldn’t cause any hindrance to a smooth multimedia viewing experience.
Merging brand stories with product moments can yield excellent outcomes. Brand stories shouldn’t be fictional, because the audience needs something, which they can verify.
The buying cycle
Those who develop content for the retail industry, need to understand the buying cycle. It’s same as the conversion funnel, except buying decisions are taken more quickly and more abruptly.
Shoppers can be of several types. Some may be casual shoppers, who switch between sites, browse product categories and then leave. They don’t visit retail sites with serious intention to buy. Some shoppers may be looking for a specific product. Yet some may be impulse shoppers.
The content should cater to all these segments. It should convince casual shoppers that the retail outlet they’ve visited is the one-stop buying destination. A small pop-up window (without any hindrance to the browsing experience) can ask shoppers about their product preference and take them to relevant pages. The buying cycle is complicated. Content developed for each of its phases and optimized UX design can simplify it and enable brands to convert incoming visitors.
Merging offline and online
Contrary to what many believe, offline retail is not dead. Many still purchase from offline stores. The 2015 EMV liability shift is a primer on the continuing importance of offline retail.
The US merchants have been taking this shift seriously. There’s been a trend among them to update their archaic POS terminals with state-of-the-art chip card reader, compatible with iOS and Android NFC payment systems.
The overhaul of offline retail leads to its merging with online retail. As the shift is updating POS terminals, customers are presented with new payment options. For dummies, the availability of multiple payment options is good for a shopping site. Updated POS systems translate to better sale, and it connects online retail with its offline counterpart. Besides, people often visit a site for getting information on a product, but prefer to buy it from a physical outlet.
POS terminals are also sources of important consumer data. Such data can aid content developers. They can understand consumer behavior and gauge the possibility of repeat buys. And can create content accordingly. A lot depends on UX designers too. Designing an impeccable checkout page is necessary. In terms of security, the page should be on par with updated POS systems in physical retail outlets.
The mobile web
Fools think content guys are exempted from the responsibility of making a site mobile-friendly and it’s entirely the UX designer’s job. The truth is, content and design people need to work in tandem.
The multiscreen environment comes with grave implications for for e-retail. It won’t be wrong to conclude that online retail is a bit lopsided to the handheld web. The infographic below shows how multiscreen affects e-retail:
Having a Smart device prompts people to splurge money on impulse buys. Sequential use of devices – from handheld to desktop and from desktop to handheld, also accounts for the upward drive in online shopping.
UX designers can optimize the typeface elements, and content developers can cater to a group impulse shoppers, who make purchasing decisions in a haste. Surveys show more than 50% retail sales take place via mobile devices. A brand called HauteLook beautifully accommodated easily navigable tabs with larger images by unbeatable UX design. More brands should follow its footsteps.
The emerging popularity of UGC is changing the retail industry – both online and offline. As retailers are syncing offline and online experiences, the importance of customer-generated content is on the rise.
The #JCrewStyleSessions hashtag surfaced on social media and became an instant success courtesy to Fashion retail brand J. Crew’s customers. J. Crew encouraged them to take selfies and post them with the hashtag.
This is an excellent example of how consumer-generated content can tie up with social media and publicize brands. To fully harness the benefits of customer-generated content, brands need to use cutting-edge tools and give customers access to those tools.
Warby Parker’s Co-Founder Neil Blumenthal said “The public and your customers are participating more and near dictating what your brand is. You need to give people the tools to have it the way you want them to have it.” Hence, don’t ignore the importance of interactive tools.
There are so many factors in retail that content marketers need to understand before they strategize. Some of the factors such as online and offline retail syncing, multiscreen experience, the growing number of mobile users have been discussed here in this article. Content marketers and UX designers need to take note of these and follow the tips for better user experience in retail segment.