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Merchandise Your Product Content to Grow Your Online Business

If you’re searching for ways to expand the value of your site, look no further than your product content. Better content provides a positive chain reaction: It draws the attention of search engines that then rank your content pages higher in search results, which leads more buyers to your site and creates more opportunities to convert their visits to sales.

Bob Lewis, President of Impaqx and seasoned digital distribution expert, is a huge advocate of quality content. In fact, he maintains that product content drives the entire shopping experience – both online and in store. Lewis recently spoke at Unilog’s EVOLVE 2020 online event to discuss numerous strategies that can help distributors grow their digital channels – one of which is merchandising their product content. He realizes B2B companies don’t normally see themselves as online merchandisers, but those with a digital sales channel must if they want to maintain competitive.

Unlike in a physical store setting where buyers have signage to direct them to items they can see and touch, Lewis says an online store requires a lot more content to direct them to the item they want. “Online buyers don’t have the same advantages, so they need you to provide them the data to make the decision that, yes, this is the right product for me for this particular application.”

Utilize your product expertise

Many B2B organizations use content service providers to build and enrich their product catalogs. While these companies do the heavy lifting, Lewis says distributors must also contribute to the effort because no one knows their products better than they do. As product subject matter experts (SMEs), he says distributors should:

  • Prioritize their products to determine where to focus their efforts
  • Incorporate keywords, slang terms, and other synonyms to help buyers find their products
  • Continually review and refine their site search results
  • Solicit product reviews and feedback from customers
  • Create up-sell and cross-sell opportunities by associating related products, tying together components and other items to complete an application, and linking alternate product options

Product content merchandising is an ongoing project, so he suggests distributors hire dedicated resources and enlist sales to help with this initiative.

Assess your content using a content quadrant

It can be difficult to measure the quality and effectiveness of your content if you don’t know where to begin. To help, Lewis developed a content quadrant model so distributors can classify their product data into one of four areas and then make the necessary adjustments.

Lewis’ content quadrant revolves around two analytics: hits and conversions. The hits axis represents how many times the site visitor finds the product page, while the conversions axis represents the number of times the visitor buys the product once they find it.

Bob Lewis’ content quadrant assesses product content quality

Analyze your eCommerce site’s metrics to determine where your products land in the quadrant. If you’re a distributor who has thousands of items in your product catalog, it won’t be possible to perform this exercise with every item. Instead, concentrate on the specific categories or types of items that will benefit most. As with any product enhancement effort, data prioritization fuels progress and real results.

Read how to best tackle data enrichment with our blog: 3 Ways to Prioritize Your Product Data Enrichment Efforts

Once you have mapped your data in the quadrants, evaluate its performance and implement Lewis’ recommendations using the quadrant information below.

Quadrant 1: Low Hits, Low Conversions

Products that land in the bottom-left quadrant need the most attention. Not only do people not find the product they want, what they do find is most likely the wrong product, so they don’t buy it. These low hit, low conversion items could be miscategorized, missing key product information, or could be “lost” because the buyer’s search terms are not incorporated into the content. In these cases, regional or slang terms are crucial synonyms to add so that the items appear in their search results.

Quadrant 2: Low Hits, High Conversions

In the second quadrant, your buyers work hard to find the product they want, but, when they do find it they buy it. Again, the issue could be that the product is miscategorized or isn’t associated with alternate terms. Lewis suggests digging into the analytics to determine what the issue is so you can move these items to the fourth, and most desirable, content quadrant.

Quadrant 3: High Hits, Low Conversions

If people can find the product on your site but choose not to add it to their cart, the issue could be misleading information, missing images, or lack of details to know if it is the right product for their use. Another factor that produces low conversions is a lack of transparency. Buyers want to see pricing and availability on distributor sites; those who don’t comply risk losing sales and relevance.

Quadrant 4: High Hits, High Conversions

Lewis calls this fourth quadrant “nirvana” because here people find the product easily and they buy it. These stellar products should already have good descriptions, images, and other content to inform the buyer. Try bumping them up even more by providing product associations (up-selling and cross-selling) to influence buyers to add more to their cart and increase your average order value.

Start merchandising your product content now

Content enrichment requires continual time and investment. But, with the help of content service providers, internal SMEs, and tools like site analytics and the content quadrant, distributors can become great product merchandisers. Better online content not only helps your customers, it also increases conversions and differentiates you from the pack.

If you’re looking for more ways to build your online channel and drive your digital initiative, contact Bob Lewis at Impaqx. The B2B eCommerce experts at Unilog can also help you achieve digital success with their powerful, affordable digital commerce solution designed specifically for the wholesale distribution marketplace. As the only eCommerce solutions provider with in-house content enrichment services, Unilog is a one-stop shop for all your eCommerce needs. E-mail or call Unilog today to learn more.

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