How to boost online conversion: Listen to your customers

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E-commerce reigns supreme in today’s retail world, so foregoing a content strategy for this sales channel is no longer an option.

Today’s consumers are using the product information they find on e-commerce sites to inform their purchasing decisions. While price plays a role in these decisions, it’s not the only factor. Pricing is an effective tactic to increase conversions, but at what cost? Retailers cannot simply lower prices with margins that – in many cases – are already razor-thin. And there are always bigger competitors (e.g., Amazon.com) willing to push margin thresholds to the limit to own market share. In this competitive environment, online retailers need to look for alternative ways to improve conversion rates without sacrificing margins. One effective way to do this is by making content more enticing to customers.

The key to creating more engaging content is listening to customers. In the age of social media, consumers are accustomed to sharing their experiences and opinions online. They are more than willing to express their thoughts and feelings about what they like and what they don’t like. For retailers, listening to what consumers are saying can help determine how to cater more specifically to their needs. Consumer search trends and product reviews are great places to start looking for consumer feedback that can help drive content strategy.

These days, consumer sentiment is measurable, and insights that can help retailers make better merchandising decisions and can be supported by data.

Monitoring search trends is a great way to determine what retail customers are looking for online. By identifying specific words and phrases customers search for, retailers can start to develop a sense of the page content necessary to include in product descriptions, further optimizing the searchability of product pages and drive traffic.

For example, let’s say a retailer is selling a wireless headset with numerous features, and chooses to list five of those features in their product description. While they may be able to capture the customers searching for those specific features, they could also be missing out on potential customers who are searching for a more popular sixth feature that is not mentioned. By analyzing search trends, retailers can capture direct insights from customers regarding which features are the most important to include in your descriptions.

While search trends are a good place to collect product content insights, direct customer feedback may be an even better way to evaluate product assortment and get a sense of the customer experience. By establishing a space where customers can applaud or vent about a retailer’s assortment of products, the retailers will begin to generate actionable data that can help with future content and assortment decisions.

Reviews can provide a better understanding of the improvements that could be made to a retailer’s product offering – whether that is the assortment of products or how they’re described. The review/feedback mechanism will also help build a resource of online content about a retailer’s assortment and the customer experience that future consumers can digest – and could influence their purchasing decision. Even negative reviews have value. Retailers shouldn’t just let them linger, though – they should respond to them. Not only will this address any issues that current customers are having, it will also show future customers that they are being heard.

The overall goal is to use the free information in reviews to help draw more potential customers to product pages, refine assortments to better cater to customer needs, and to give consumers who arrive at product pages the information they need to make a purchasing decision. Retailers need to constantly refine their product pages with an iterative Test and Learn approach to design in order to improve conversions.

By allowing customers to guide product content strategy, it helps retailers offer a better customer experience, which in turn encourages more customers to purchase products, and also helps retailers begin to build a source of data that will help drive better decision-making.

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Mihir Kittur

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