Why Telling Product Stories is Important for Your Brand
In a world crowded with mobile devices, your customers are omni-present and always online. According to Forrester Research, regardless of whether the purchase is ultimately executed in a brick-and-mortar store or digitally, more than 40% of U.S. retail sales are influenced by information that customers find online. In this context, online product information needs to be able to tell a compelling story—a story that appeals individually to each customer and is aligned with their needs and the current stage of their buying journey.
Keeping Your Brand Promise
In addition, each customer's interaction with your eCommerce site and a given product story is a direct interaction with your brand promise. Although we often think of the brand promise as the company's positioning within the marketplace, each customer's interaction with your company and your products, whether online or offline, is an opportunity to fulfill that unique understanding of your brand promise. Failure to fulfill your brand promise at every interaction can mean irreparable harm to your brand essence in the mind of that customer.
Further to this concept—when a customer proceeds through the online purchase experience—from selection, to payment, to fulfillment—they are forming a concrete opinion about your company and brand. And when the product finally arrives on their doorstep, the customer experiences a first-hand interaction with your brand. This may come in the form of excitement, satisfaction, or, sadly, disappointment. If this in-person experience with the product matches their expectations of the product and positive online experience, you have a much better chance of a positive fulfillment of your brand promise.
Would you want it any other way?
Telling a compelling story for each and every product can be a daunting task. With more rapid product release cycles, greater proliferation of products and brands, and ever-expanding markets, product information that needs continual creation, tracking, and modification is growing exponentially. As a result, marketing and merchandizing organizations can spend an inordinate amount of time and resources managing and disseminating product information across multiple media, in an attempt to be agile and responsive to customers' needs.
However, the risk of not engaging in these efforts could mean severe damage to your brand in the marketplace. Here are some key things to keep in mind when you are developing your product stories:
- Keep your SEO efforts in mind. Use key words that you think customers search on, so that they may find your products more easily.
- If different channels have unique content requirements, such as description length or image type, address those requirements upfront so that you can control what information will be displayed.
- Categorize and cross-reference your products to assist the customer in finding complementary products and accessories.
- Consider automating this process to streamline your efforts and ensure consistent information across channels.
Dealing with your product content may be perceived by some in the organization to be simply an "operations" or "marketing communications" issue. However, effective product stories can be a boon for your brand—increasing revenue and resulting in a host of loyal, satisfied customers.