Content is king, but so is the customer

PHILADELPHIA—Content is becoming king in several different industries, and retail is no exception. If used correctly, content can drive customer engagement, shopper satisfaction and, perhaps most importantly, sales.

"There's a delicate line between content and commerce," said Matt Wishnow, founder and CEO at Clearhead, at the Digital Summit 2015.

Content is the secret to GoPro's success, according to Meghan Litchfield, head of global e-commerce for GoPro. The company is constantly tying the product to the content, and telling the product's story as it relates to the customer. "We have to drive relevance in order to get people to identify with us and our brand," Litchfield said.

As a result, GoPro focuses on guided shopping and shopping by activity. For example, if a user self-indentifies as a surfer, the website will show content, products and videos related to surfing. She also highlighted the power of personal, user-generated content.

"Every product has a fan. Find your fans and encourage them to share," Litchfield said. "UGC doesn't just happen, you have to make it happen."

For Lowe's, content is a bit of a different story. Just a couple years ago, product information on Lowe's website was the second most frequent customer complaint, according to Richard Chapman, Lowe's senior content development manager.

Lowe's was previously only using the information the vendor provided. Chapman said the first step in the content strategy was to get the copy right. "Focus on what the customer wants and needs to read about that product. Don't assume vendors are talking the language that your customers need to read," he said.

Images were the other big win for Lowe's content strategy. Chapman's team ditched single product photos with a white background for images that showed the product in real-life settings—and saw huge increases in conversion rates.

For example, swapping the picture of single piece of wood paneling with images of the wood floors in different room settings increased conversion by 95 percent. Conversion rates increased by 97 percent for the outdoor grill after adding up-close images showing special features and burgers on the grill.

"Show what the customers want to see, when they want to see it," Chapman said. "It's not as easy as it looks."

See all FierceRetail's 2015 coverage.

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