What is Content Commerce?
You might have heard the term content commerce being thrown around for some time now. Despite the term being new, it's not hard to guess what it is, is it? Even for someone who is new to the eCommerce circle can speculate it's a combination of content and commerce. But, is it really a new concept? Hasn't both content and commerce coexisted for ages already? So how is this concept in any way new? The fact is, although content commerce has been used for ages by many industries, it was never really defined.
Now, to answer the question, content commerce can simply be defined as the right combination of content and commerce that helps you sell more. But, that would be the shorter definition. Content commerce involves making use of captivating content that can complement your products (that is, the commerce part). And unlike other marketing methods, bluffing can only get you so far; you need quality products that compliment your content.
Is Content Important?
If someone thinks content is not important or that it can't have a significant enough impact on the business, then he or she's ill-informed, to say the least. Consumers are always looking for reliable and worthy content to help them make the right buying decisions. Great content has always lured consumers into buying the right product for them. content can help you put your products in different perspectives and bring into light the products' different sides to your customers that they may have otherwise missed.
The content itself can be anything from a blog to vlog to an entire magazine (if you can afford it). content commerce can be split into two, depending on how you look at it. One is content-driven commerce, and the other is commerce-driven content. Don't let the similarity in the names fool you; one is quite distinctive from the other.
Did you know that the Benetton Group owns the Colors magazine? Yes, the same Benetton as United Colors of Benetton (UCB). And the much-loved lifestyle magazine The Red Bulletin is published by Red Bull Media House. This is not the first time corporate giants like UCB and Red Bull are making use of the print media or content to market their products. So what makes these corporate giants turn to print media while they can clearly afford any type of marketing strategy?
The answer is quite simple; the traditional approach to advertising does not yield the desired results anymore. We live in a time when our whole day is filled with advertisements, and there is no getting away from it. You see them in the movies, on your YouTube, on social media, on Spotify, and even in between games. The only kind of ads that people want to watch now is no ads. The user is virtually drowning in an ocean of advertisements.
It doesn't stop there either. Traditional advertising is tiresome work; it requires you to pay close attention to the details and often brings unrewarding results despite your best efforts. By the end of the day, you end up feeling you have done tedious work, which brought in zero results. This is where content commerce comes into the picture and turns the tables.
Content-driven commerce involves employing captivating and useful content to build a brand narrative through which you can peak consumer interest and lead to conversions. Unlike traditional advertising strategies, content marketing actually connects with the audience and helps them in the process. Helpful content has a more positive effect on users than discounts.
However, if you think you can bluff your way into making your customers buy more, you'd be wrong. The content has to align with the needs of your customer, and your products must align with the content you create. A failure to do so will inevitably result in the failure of your marketing strategy as well.
If content-driven commerce is one side of the content commerce coin, the commerce-driven content is its flip-side. Both are an integral part of the same system but never the same. In content-driven commerce, we saw giant manufacturing brands moving to the publishing media. But, in commerce-driven content, it's the other way around, which is to say publishers market products for other companies, for a price of course.
Commerce-driven content makes use of everything from ebooks, music, videos, pictures, and so on. This could be in the form of advertisement, partnership, affiliate programs, or even influencer marketing. It shouldn't come as a surprise to you when I say that this is not new either. Magazines and newspapers have been doing this for ages now. Magazines, especially well-established ones, have a profound effect on their readers and can easily influence their shopping habits.
Just like you can't bluff about how good your product you can't give unreliable info to your readers either. When it comes to publishing media, the main challenge is to monetize their content without compromising its editorial integrity. So how do publishers market a product without compromising the editorial integrity?
The trick is to create and present your content in such a way that it genuinely helps your customers highlighting the various advantages of the product. Now, this does not mean that you get to exaggerate about the product.
The truth is that the readers actually expect the writer to tell them where they can buy the product that you wrote about. And that is how content commerce helps both you and the customer. As far as marketing goes, this is by far the most transparent method out there which engages with the audience.
How to Create Useful Content for Your Customers?
The most important thing you should keep in mind when dealing with a content-intense eCommerce store is that you always use the relevant content to connect well with your consumers. Try to figure out and address the pain-points of your customers using the content on your eCommerce store. No one wants to spend their time reading or listening to something that is not relevant to them.
Let’s take the example of an online fashion store, what could be the best content that’s useful for the customers in this case? The content should focus on season-friendly clothing, provide insight into the latest fashion trends, and even add celebrity looks. You could publish content that draws inspiration from the pop-culture and market the products accordingly. If you can pitch it right then, there is practically no limit to what you can sell to your customers.
Similarly, you can make use of even more engaging mediums like videos or vlogs t0 attract new customers. The more interesting and helpful your content, the more attention it’ll get, and get you more traffic and sales. However, it is equally essential not to under-deliver on your promises or oversell your product. If you make claims on your content that your product is incapable of delivering, it’ll inevitably backfire sooner or later.
It is also desirable to find out what form of content your target audience prefers depending on the target audience: their age, needs, and the type of content they prefer to follow. Let it be videos or pictures or blogs, try publishing content in different formats, and find the right one that works for your business. Once you have figured out your customers’ preference and taste, content marketing becomes a lot easier, and you will be able to get the best results from it.
Content Commerce Strategy for Your Business
It is clear that the ideal content commerce strategy for an eCommerce store is content-driven commerce. Content puts up a facade on advertising and presents the audience with a less intrusive form of communication. At a time when every form of advertisement is loathed by the audience, content commerce could be your only viable solution.
Although content-driven commerce is the ideal strategy for an eCommerce store, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to stick to just that. You can employ both strategies simultaneously to get the best results for your business. You can collaborate with publishing media to market your products through affiliate marketing.
Content commerce offers an effective way to communicate with your target audience. It can help you market your products as well as boost the conversion rate. But, like any good thing, it does not come easy. Combining content and commerce is no cakewalk; it is easier said than done. It doesn't matter if you are integrating content into commerce or the other way around as both require you to pay attention to the details.
There are two things that are fundamental to create a successful content commerce strategy. The first thing is the product (obviously). It doesn't matter how good your bluffing skills are; an inferior product can only get you so far. Content commerce does help you create a facade over the products, but it can not, however, change it. The product has to be high quality and worthy enough to be suggested to the readers or consumers.
The second element, as you might have already guessed, is the authentic content. Readers are looking for content that can help them, and they are looking for products that fit their needs. The content should align with the needs of the reader or customer, and the product should align with the content as well, which brings us back to the first fundamental factor- the product.
If done right, content commerce will benefit not just you but also your customers. Your customers get helpful content that can help them choose genuine products that fit their specific needs. And for an eCommerce business, you get to market your products to the right audience, without shoving another advertisement to their face. By the end of the day, content commerce enables both you and your customers to come out as winners.