Gartner News

Three Ways Content Marketing Can Fuel Digital Commerce

Practical advice to win shoppers and grow commerce with great content marketing.

In a suburban Maryland house the Johnson family lives the content-fueled future of digital commerce. Emily, a 21 year-old college senior plays and replays a video blog by Michelle Phan on the Sephora beauty website. Emily’s mother, Mary, who needs a healthy mid-week recipe, checks kraftrecipes.comand downloads a coupon to buy the ingredients at her local supermarket. And Mary’s husband Tom calculates the project materials and costs for a new deer fence using the Home Depot’s Fencing Project Planner interactive tool.

Helpful content, and not discounts,should be the centerpiece of awareness efforts to attract targeted buyers.

The Johnson family is reaping the benefits of brands that use content to attract, engage and convert digital shoppers. Brands such as these are winning the hearts, minds and wallets of consumers by employing innovative content marketing programs that go beyond the realm of advertising and last mile conversion discounts, noted Kirsten Newbold-Knipp, research director, Gartner for Marketing Leaders.

Here are three ways marketers can use content to grow digital commerce along the entire buying journey.

Offer informative content

Helpful content, and not discounts, should be the centerpiece of awareness efforts to attract targeted buyers to your brand. Well-crafted, persona-tailored content will attract more qualified visitors, differentiate a brand, evoke a lifestyle and even surprise and delight shoppers. The eyewear manufacturer Zenni Optical worked with their content marketing agency to produce helpful how-to content for measuring eyeglass fit that resulted in 60,000 new email opt-ins and a 4.53% commerce conversion rate, easily outperforming the ROI of any of Zenni’s traditional paid media campaigns.

Progressive commerce brands are moving away from aggressively retargeted ads and email offers.

Showcase products in context

To stand out, brands are becoming veritable publishing houses by using in-house talent and customer contributors to publish well-rounded streams of engaging content that inspire action. Starwood Hotels & Resorts created the Guest Gallery to lend a more personal touch to the brand. The gallery becomes a digital showroom of authentic social content for visitors to peruse before they book a room. That can be a significant conversion lever given the beautiful locations of many Starwood properties.

Deliver engaging content at the moment of truth

Competition is just a few clicks away. Progressive commerce brands are moving away from aggressively retargeted ads and email offers that alienate visitors to creating content that’s focused on the motivations, needs, values and beliefs of buyers. Many retailers and brands have developed planning tools, configurators and augmented reality tools that allow consumers to see or envision product-related content in the context of its intended use in a way that smoothes the buying process.

Home furnishing retailer West Elm deploys user-generated content on Instagram together with Curalate’s click-to-buy capabilities so consumers can buy the look featured in the social feed. West Elm capitalizes on that fleeting moment of truth within a social community context when a visitor is ready to become a buyer.

Gartner for Marketing Leaders clients can read more in ”Use Content to Attract, Engage and Convert in Digital Commerce” by Kirsten Newbold-Knipp.

For more articles visit Smarter with Gartner website.

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