Your customers depend on your product content to do research and make their purchase decisions. But do you know what content type matters most? And when to deliver it? If you’re struggling with this, you’re not alone. According to a Forrester Consulting study commissioned by Widen, “Organizations struggle to fill content gaps at the most critical phases of the customer journey.”
Forrester surveyed 360 consumers in North America and Europe to learn more about what information they use to research and make a purchasing decision. The top three? Detailed product descriptions and specifications, customer reviews, and images. After that, video, 360º spin photography, and a few others are crucial to have in your content mix.
Here’s a breakdown of the top content types you need to produce to help customers make their purchase decisions.
Detailed product descriptions and specifications
When researching products online, customers rely on product descriptions and specifications more than other types of product information. According to the Forrester survey, 77% use this content when researching a purchase decision. This includes everything from your raw product data and tech specs to your product features.
Product description copy can be long and detailed, like in this profile of the REI Co-op Kingdom 8 tent. Or, the product copy can be short and sweet, with image-heavy features to support it — like for these $130 Brooks Running Adrenaline GTS 21 Running Shoes. Useful product descriptions give the customer info they need to make a purchase decision, and they also add to search engine optimization (SEO) for every product page.
No matter which approach you choose when writing product copy, make sure you get your product description and technical specs right. They influence your next most important type of product content — customer reviews.
According to the Forrester survey, 73% of people use customer reviews when researching a product. Your reviews act as a source of validation after shoppers get a good feeling for your product from the description and specs.
Your reviews can establish trust, and when they’re in your favor they can expedite the customer’s purchasing decision. If they’re not in your favor, however, they can cause a lot of harm. And while no one has direct control over what customers write in their reviews, you can heavily influence results toward the positive with accurate content.
For example, do your images show the true color of your product? If they don’t people are likely to hold you accountable in the reviews.
Photography and zoom images
Potential customers need accurate images to make informed purchase decisions. According to the Forrester survey, 63% use product images, 61% use multiple images, and 66% rely on the ability to zoom in on these images.
Images are vital to customer research and they need to be high-quality. But you have to be careful about the file size — if they are too large they might increase the time it takes your page to load.
Make sure you get images of your product’s most important features. Think of the things people would want to see and touch if they were looking at your product in person. And if they are complicated or include moving parts, you might have a good reason to make a product video.
Product videos have been on the rise in e-commerce for years. They’re expensive to produce and maintain, but they can be totally worth the investment. After watching a video that explains a product or service, 73% of US adults are more likely to buy.
Make sure to use your videos to tell a story and show your products in action in the ways that still images just can’t communicate. If you want some great examples of B2C product videos, here are 17 product videos from a wide variety of industries. If your videos can’t tell the whole story, you can write lifestyle content to help customers understand how your products fit into their everyday lives.
Lifestyle content (e.g. how to style a pair of jeans)
Some customers want more depth than a product description can ever offer and this is where lifestyle content comes in. Chances are, you might not be prioritizing the production of this content. Or, it lives on your blog, but not available on your product detail pages with the relevant products.
According to the Forrester survey, 43% of people use this kind of content during product research. So it’s important to get it organized and published on all the right channels.
These are typically long-form copy and if you’re already producing them but want to expand their usefulness, you can turn them into how-to videos and tutorials.
How-to video and tutorials
For some products, the real value is communicated by seeing them in action. In these cases, having an educational video or tutorial is essential. This Flip 4-in-1 baby carrier is a great example of how video explains in a way that words and tech specs never could.
These kinds of educational videos are effective on product detail pages and you can use them at other stages in the customer journey. Think Facebook ads, Instagram, and TikTok. Of course, you might not need videos for every product and sometimes it makes more sense to use 360º spin photography.
3D/360º spin photography
People love to pick up physical products and spin them around to see the whole thing. They can’t do that online, but you can add 360° spin photography and increase online conversion by as much as 47%.
Even though it’s not the real thing, it’s much closer to holding a product in person than just a series of flat images. These kinds of interactive images can also reduce your after-sale returns by over 48%. You can also use static images from 360° photography in marketing promotions, as catalog images, or as alternate e-commerce images on your product pages.
Infographics started gaining popularity almost 10 years ago, and they’re still one of the most effective pieces of content you can produce. They do everything from boosting SEO to helping reinforce brand recall.
According to the study we commissioned from Forrester, 35% of people use them in their product research, so infographics clearly haven’t gone out of style.
How to manage all this content?
If you’re producing all of these content types (or even half of them), you’re going to have complex processes that cross departments and business units. And you could be producing anywhere from hundreds to tens of thousands of pieces of content every year. That’s a ton of content that needs centralized storage and advanced management.
A combined digital asset management (DAM) and product information management (PIM) solution can help you execute your content process successfully. The Widen Collective® gives you a central place to store and manage your content and product data. It breaks down silos in your production and enables greater data accuracy, access, and distribution. You can here and see why hundreds of brands around the world choose Widen to help them manage their product content.