David Feinleib is the founder and CEO of Content Analytics, Inc., a leading e-commerce product content management and analytics solutions provider.
Online grocery has finally arrived — and in full force. In fact, online grocery sales are expected to grow 10 times faster than in-store sales over the next five years, according to a recent Bricks Meets Click report.
Despite this imminent growth, many grocers still don’t have the necessary tools, technologies and resources to provide consumers the robust online experiences they expect. The biggest opportunity for grocers to optimize for online success is with their digital product content, but many struggle with low image counts, poor product descriptions and a lack of customer reviews. Consumers can get frustrated with this lack of information about products, and often leave a grocer’s site without making a purchase.
To capitalize on the promise of online grocery, now is the time for grocers to better manage their e-commerce offerings and improve product content. This will allow them to offer consumers a better online and in-store experience — the key for capturing consumer loyalty and dollars from the competition.
With that in mind, here are four steps grocers should consider to win with online product content:
1. Collaborate with suppliers.
Traditionally, product content was only provided by catalog companies, but now, grocers can get content directly from suppliers. This content is fresh, high-quality and high-resolution — just the right sort of content for online needs. Grocers not only benefit from higher-quality content but from lower costs as well.
A new generation of companies are emerging to deliver tools and technologies designed specifically to help grocers store content and syndicate it directly from suppliers. Grocers should look to collaborate with their suppliers to receive this product content and partner with a platform to make the relationship as seamless as possible.
2. Create rich media.
Rich media, which refers to videos, enhanced marketing content and 360 views, is now standard on a number of e-commerce sites. However, most grocery sites haven’t tapped into this type of product content. The biggest opportunities for grocers are to create immersive content that shows how their products are used in everyday situations. These could be recipe videos or marketing content showing multiple products being used together. From there, grocers can add buy buttons directly into the enhanced content to facilitate higher conversion rates and higher online sales overall.
3. Display product reviews from customers.
Product reviews have become a mainstay of the online shopping experience, with 91% of consumers reporting they regularly read reviews. This is because consumers want to know what their peers say about a product before they buy it, and many want a platform to talk about their own experiences with products, especially if that experience was particularly amazing or sub-par.
It’s important for grocers to remember reviews are not only a critical part of the online experience, but also for defending consumer loyalty as well. Consumers are likely to search another site for reviews if a grocer doesn’t offer them. That in turn puts the grocer at risk for losing those consumer dollars to a competitor.
As a result, grocers should ensure they have a mechanism for collecting product reviews and building them into their product pages.
4. Integrate smart search technology.
Not only should grocers provide consumers robust product content, they should also make it easy to find those products as well. Imagine searching for a product by name but typing in the wrong spelling by accident. The site you’re searching on returns zero results, so you go to another site that has a better search engine to find the product instead.
To prevent consumers from leaving their sites, grocers should look to invest in smart search technology that can account for typos, incorrect brand names and more. From there, grocers must ensure they have complete product data in order for the search engine to properly match products they have and display them in the search results.
Additionally, from Product Information Management (PIM) systems to e-commerce vendor scorecards, there are a number of tools available to help grocers and brands accelerate the delivery of a best-in-class experience and capture consumer dollars online.