Revolutionizing UX Analytics From The Inside: 9 Things I Learned As A Product Manager

One year into my Product Manager journey at Contentsquare, I wanted to reflect on what I have learned, and how the past twelve months have shaped my approach to solution-finding.

I started my journey as a project management intern for VP of product to whom I mentioned in the first interview that I wanted to become a product manager.  Back then, I had no idea what it really meant to be a “PM” — I was simply curious and wanted to talk to all these people.

At Contentsquare, product managers sit between the customer (internal & external) and R&D team. With the former, we detect the WHAT: what is needed to help our customer better understand the end user experience. With the latter, we decide on and execute the HOW: how to respond to those needs in an efficient and elegant way. 

Product managers are the go-to persons for any question related to their scope — ie. the part of the solution they are responsible for developing. Therefore, the job includes building the long-term vision and strategy as well as the day-to-day execution on a very granular level. It’s a challenging and fulfilling role that I am truly proud of and can’t stop talking about. 

So, without further ado, here are the 9 key things I learned as a product manager:

1. Always put the customer first

Being loyal to your customer/user starts with knowing who they are. Before building a feature, ask yourself: who are you building this for? What challenges are they facing? Talk to them, read their feedback and support tickets, collect the data — these investments are worth the time and effort since they decrease your chances of going down the wrong path right from the beginning. 

Being loyal to your customer also means refusing to compromise on their experiences. Sometimes, cutting scope, downgrading the design, or opting for a less expensive technical solution would shorten the go-to-market timeframe. But ultimately, all of these “savings” risk compromising the end users’ experience. When cost-cutting or time-saving decisions are made, the only party not included in the discussion is generally the user. And as a product manager, it is almost a question of professional integrity to protect their interests and advocate for them.

2. Listening is more important than talking

Being a very talkative person, this one was a big challenge for me! Being too self expressive prevents you from hearing what others really think — be it colleagues, business partners or customers. Sometimes, silence can be excruciating in user interviews, and in the past I have felt obliged to give guidance or end my supposedly ‘open-ended’ questions with a list of options. I later realized that doing things this way would prevent me from knowing what the user would have said if it hadn’t been for my prompting. That’s when I realized how important it is to shut up and listen. 

3. Prioritizing means saying no

As a product manager, I am constantly facing the question of prioritization. It can be as big as a quarterly roll-out roadmap, or as small as one improvement ticket over another in the backlog. Before entering the PM zone, I always felt like I was able to juggle many tasks at the same time. It might mean pulling an all nighter or skipping dinner, but I always made it.

This is not the case in product management: we are a team with clear objectives, but also constraints, and trying to do everything is a surefire way to not do anything well. Being able to say no to projects/ideas after weighing them up is key — so is listing the pros and cons of such decisions, and keeping a clear record of why you chose not do something in the end. It is very interesting to look back at decisions and a great resource when you are challenged on a past decision.

4. Curiosity over pride

One time, we found a bug after release, and my instinct was to roll back. People on different teams ended up disagreeing with each other about whether to “roll back or hotfix.” I remember that our head of product Luis came in, sat down at the computer, and started to look into the problem. He seemed fascinated and started asking questions, testing different scenarios. People quickly gathered around him to discuss possible root causes and solutions to fix the issue. It looked like a treat or brain teaser for Luis, while I experienced it as a difficult situation for me. Before he walked in, we were all getting carried away in discussion, justifying our own decision making rather than understanding and fixing the problem.

Being curious is something we often forget about after a when we’re working on a project. But it’s important to stay curious, because not only does curiosity lead you to the answer faster, it also makes work more fun. This also applies to talking to users: be humble and curious, ask tons of seemingly dumb questions, and remember, you are not in a user interview to impress anyone — put curiosity before pride.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask WHY

We’ve all been told by people. “I want this button to be blue.”  With so many tasks on my to-do list, I have been tempted to just open the feedback box and mechanically note down “5 users asked for the button to be blue.” But why? Why do they want it to be blue? People are very good at telling others what to do, but are quite shy when it comes to sharing what they really want — perhaps from fear of getting it wrong?

I personally would say, “I need a hammer and nails,” instead of “I need to hang a picture frame.” The wonder of product management is that by asking the right question, we can actually identify what the user really needs, and suggest alternative solutions (in this example, Blu-Tack!).

6. Not everything has to be perfect

Launching a product is a process of coming up with hypothesis, testing, and improving. That’s what prototypes and minimum viable products are there for. There are so many books/videos about lean product management, but the biggest barrier to really using that technique turned out to be my own mindset, I was and still am scared of failing. I am afraid of wasting engineer’s time, a designer’s time and companies’ revenue opportunities. I am still trying to accept the fact that “not everything has to be perfect.” I think a common goal for anyone working on a product team is to find the sweet spot between “continuous discovery” and being “comfortably confident” about a decision.

7. Control your emotions

As a product manager it is inevitable to have heated debates with people. We’ve all heard people raise their voices in meetings. But I feel pretty lucky because every ‘heated discussion’ I’ve witnessed happened because the person cared deeply about the topic, and felt strongly about advocating for the best possible outcome for the end user. A reminder for myself and for you: don’t let emotions get in the way, don’t let them be a distraction — use your emotions wisely. Sometimes we are actually all agreeing with each other, we just have different ways of saying it. 

8. Data, data, data

One of our mantras  is “without data, it is just another opinion”. As a product manager, I couldn’t agree more — getting data on your users is the way to measure whether or not your solution is successful. It’s also by far the most representative and efficient way to get to know your users. Be obsessed with data, there is no such thing as too much knowledge.

9. Adapt to your audience

I am a passionate person, and I talk fast! I was once in a room presenting our future projects to R&D managers, and all these brilliant people looked somehow lost by the time I finished my 40 minute long, nonstop monologue. It wasn’t their fault. They were given no context, no introduction, but just a slew of information. Later, during a training on public speaking organized by the company, the coach recorded and replayed our speech. Mine was extremely  fast. I’ve since learned to hold my horses, be generous with context and adjust my rhythm to not lose my audience. And it’s worked!

Voilà! The 9 things I learned at Contentsquare after one year and half as a product manager. There is such a long list of people to thank for this training: product peers, R&D friends, our awesome client facing team members. It’s a fascinating field and a stimulating work environment — I’m excited to keep on learning as I continue on this journey.  

Impact of Coronavirus on eCommerce: Digital Activity Decreases But Pure Play Brands Set To Emerge Stronger (Update 16)

To provide understanding during this uncertain time, we are monitoring the impact of coronavirus on online consumer behaviors. See the latest data on our Covid-19 eCommerce Impact data hub.

As countries and cities open up again, or move to the next phase of their post-Covid plan, consumers everywhere are reconnecting with what it means to go into a non-essential store to make a purchase. We’ve been paying attention to digital shopping behaviors this past week (and since early March), to understand how the Coronavirus crisis has impacted online activity and businesses across industries. 

We’ve analyzed more than 10 billion sessions — monitoring traffic, transactions and customer engagement — to see how the unfolding situation has affected digital business. To understand these changes, we’ve compared data from each week with the period immediately preceding the introduction of social distancing and store closures in the West (or, the first 6 weeks of the year, which we call the reference period). 

This is what we observed this past week:

Traffic Goes Down For Fifth Consecutive Week But Transactions Remain Strong

Global digital traffic has been decreasing steadily since mid-May (coinciding with the first wave of store reopenings in Europe), with a new -4% drop in the volume of visits this past week. This puts digital traffic today at +6% pre-Covid levels, although a breakdown by industry shows that some sectors are still seeing up to +45% more visitors than back in February.

Transactions however have not been dropping at quite the rate of digital traffic, with a -3% drop this past week, that does little to make a dent in the +29% transaction increase recorded since the onset of the crisis.

The UK is responsible for the greatest leap in the volume of digital transactions (+63%), while France and Germany have recorded slightly more conservative increases (+14% and +17% respectively). The US numbers are very aligned with the global average, with +28% more digital sales than before the introduction of quarantine measures.

ecommerce traffic - impact of coronavirus ecommerce transactions - impact of coronavirusTraffic to Fashion Sites Stabilizes As Pure Play Businesses Emerge Stronger

Traffic to apparel sites remained steady this past week after several weeks of dwindling digital activity. Transactions were also stable, following a 40 point drop since late May, and the volume of digital sales today is +20% greater than it was before the crisis started. 

We also compared traffic and transactions between click-and-mortar and pure play brands, and found that, since reopening, pure players (with no / limited retail) are experiencing more stability with their digital activity. Brands with physical stores are doing slightly better today than their online-only counterparts, but their volume of transactions has been decreasing steadily since late May, while pure play brands appear to be maintaining the increase in sales week on week. As of now it certainly looks like digital-only brands are emerging stronger from the Coronavirus crisis, particularly when you consider that for these storeless brands, extra traffic and transactions are net gains while for retailers the surge of online business was there to compensate for the drop of retail activity.

Grocery Sector Loses Traffic But Digital Sales Still Strong

Online grocery traffic continues on its downward trend, having steadily decreased since the massive surge in the third week of March and a more discreet peak in early April. This last week brought a -13% drop in the volume of traffic to grocery sites, but despite this latest decrease, the sector is still enjoying +40% more visits than before the first social distancing orders. And while transactions may have dropped -15% this past week, the global volume of online grocery transactions is still +58% higher than before the start of the crisis.

The breakdown by country reveals different dependencies on digital for food and household staples with France almost back at its pre-Covid levels of digital grocery transactions, the US at around +50% more, and the UK in the lead with more than double the number of sales. As other non-essential businesses open their doors, it will be interesting to see how a ‘return to normal’ shopping habits impacts the collective reliance on online grocery stores.

Tourism Sector Still On The Road To Recovery

Traffic and transactions on travel sites went up +7% this past week, marking another week of growth for the sector that has suffered the most since the start of the crisis. This latest positive chapter makes a small impact on the sector’s digital activity, and globally, travel sites are still experiencing -43% less traffic than it was back in February, and are recording -44% fewer transactions.

France is catching up faster than any other country we analyzed, and is today seeing -20% less traffic than it was before the start of lockdown and -25% the number of transactions. The US is the country that has suffered the biggest drop in visitors although interestingly, transactions are picking up faster in the US than in the UK, despite the UK boasting more traffic.

Have you registered for Summer Camp yet? We’ve put together a six-part series for adventurous experience-builders looking to capitalize on the summer months to fast-track their digital transformation. Join us for our next campfire session with Walmart, to explore common digital challenges and how best to tackle them (A/B Testing merit badge, anyone?).

 

4 ways to keep your users engaged during Covid-19

“During this extremely difficult situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19), nothing is more important to [Company Name Here] than the health and safety of our customers…”

In the past few months, as Covid-19 and quarantine have stalled what we always considered our “normal” life, companies across the globe have also suffered as a result. Most retail stores, unless considered “essential” have had to close, with many also ceasing online operations. 

We’ve seen the above statement everywhere. From websites to mobile apps, emails to social media, as well as hand-written notes in shop windows. It’s become ingrained in our everyday lives.

While all industries are affected, some are harder hit than others. Take a look at our dedicated Covid-19 Impact Data Hub, where you’ll find a detailed overview on the impact of coronavirus on digital consumer behaviour, as well as a deep dive into industries and sub-sectors. 

Despite consumer confidence dropping, digital traffic and transactions overall have climbed significantly since the onset of the crisis. Parents can’t buy shoes, clothes or tablets for their children’s homeschooling anywhere but online right now, meaning shopping online is the only place to shop. Your priority needs to be ensuring continuity for your customers and adapting to their new circumstances and needs.If you can create a meaningful experience for your customers now, and provide the kind of value they’re looking for, you will be building loyalty and investing in long-lasting customer relationships

Discounts, free delivery, extended returns; these are all effective. But for those industries that are facing the most uncertainty, and in some cases, seeing their services completely disrupted you’ll need to keep customers engaged in other ways. So when that confidence returns, they’ll feel compelled to spend with you. 

Now more than ever we need to maintain brand awareness and keep users engaged. Below are four examples of brands leveraging technology to elevate the CX, from augmented (AR) to virtual (VR) reality to classic email and social media channels. 

1. Virtual Artist with Sephora

Sephora allows users to visualize a product with Virtual Artist

Prior to Covid-19, you could venture into one of the Sephora stores, pick up several different testers or maybe even have a makeover with one of their consultants. Today that’s not possible, but instead you can try on a range of different products; from lipsticks to mascaras to multiple shades of foundation, virtually. With tutorials also included, you can learn from a variety of styles, including how to apply the “No Makeup Look”, just in time for your first zoom call. 

Happy with your new look? You can save for later or buy now.

Although it’s not possible to visit physical stores right now, this is an innovative way to get new and existing customers involved with your brand. As well as gaining a real understanding of what a customer needs and expects when it comes to purchasing makeup, without being able to do it in store. This doesn’t have to apply just to beauty brands though, Ace and Tate / Warby Parker are using similar technology that allows users to try-on glasses. 

Both Web and App versions available.

2. Augmented Reality with IKEA Place

As we’ve all been stuck indoors the last few weeks, it’s become natural to dislike items in your home. From that living room rug, or that strange looking lampshade in your bedroom you’ve been meaning to change for years, it’s understandable that you fancy a change. 

We observed in our data a few weeks ago a wave of re-decoration happening across many homes, and not just because of that ugly lamp. Our homes have now become multi-purpose – they’re offices, schools, gyms or even small restaurants providing food for the vulnerable. We’ve had to adapt and rethink what makes a “home”.

Buying a new chair or desk however is not as easy as purchasing a smaller item, such as a vase or plant pot. There’s a certain degree of risk involved, that actually, it might not look right or even fit in your new office. The solution…go virtual.

Does that chaise longue look good in that empty corner of your living room? add to your wish-list for later or purchase through the online store.

We all love visiting an IKEA store – from jumping on the bed, to sitting at the kitchen counter or rolling around on that fluffy rug. With this app, you can get those items in your home…virtually (just please don’t try jumping on this bed, it’ll hurt).

Available on iOS and Android.

3. Social Media with Lush

Now back online, during quarantine Lush had to temporarily close their physical stores and pause all new online orders.

But, they added ways customers can still keep in touch and be engaged during this challenging period.

Utilizing your social media presence is more important now, than it’s ever been before. Stores are closed, online orders are paused for the foreseeable future. How are you navigating the crisis? Keeping your employees safe? What are your plans for reopening when safe to do so? Businesses, like us, have human concerns. Think of fun and informative ways to keep customers committed to your brand; Instagram stories, Tik Tok, prizes and giveaways, the list goes on. 

Times are tough, but going that extra mile for your customers now will help you significantly in the long run.

4. Airbnb’s Email Digest 

Airbnb have been keeping users up-to-date through weekly digests – a weekly email with advice, tips and updates on how they’re supporting the community.

As I write this, many brands are being proactive and delivering countless updates to their customers. Keep this up! 

As consumers we need reassurance, and a weekly update goes a long way. 

 

Although we’re living through unprecedented times, with stores closing and online operations halted, there’s still ways we can keep users engaged and informed. Let’s band together and be creative!

For examples on how websites are dealing with the current situation, subscribe below to access our lite version or contact us for examples dedicated specifically to your industry.

Creating a Community for the Future of Digital Transformation

A Crash Course in Digital Transformation 

For the past couple of years, digital transformation has dominated business conversation. For most companies, it is a major concern and strategic priority. Ironically, in a way, Covid-19 has thrust many businesses into a digital transformation crash course. They are confronting the realities of running completely remote businesses without any planning or strategy. They are having to build digital capabilities with no warning, research or preparation. Businesses are learning how to manage people from afar and keep company culture alive through Zoom calls, virtual town halls and happy hours. 

Many are reworking their operations to account for supply chain challenges. Some businesses are completely pivoting, reinventing the products and services they are offering. In New York, some restaurants are converting their spaces to grocery stores to sell the provisions that would otherwise have spoiled. And of course, we would be remiss in mentioning that many are also shuttering their doors forever. 

But, many are finding ways to adapt and accelerate. We are all pivoting, innovating, testing, trying. After all, innovation is often born out of crisis. 

Digital Transformation in Age of Unpredictability

In our current state, digital transformation has… transformed. People, businesses — we all are dependent on digital like never before. It is a lifeline for everyone right now, both on a personal and a professional level. As a result, digital transformation has taken on an entirely new meaning. 

During the last few months, customer bases have increased as more people are relying on digital and eCommerce. However, consumers’ needs have also evolved, and what they expect from brands today is not necessarily what they expected yesterday. Engaging and connecting with consumers goes beyond just providing a good experience. It requires empathy, giving back, understanding customers — and people, generally — on a new level. Businesses that are open to innovation, connected to their customers and their data, and practicing empathy are weathering the storm and charting new courses. 

I think we can all agree that while things might get back to some sense of normalcy, they will never be the same again. I don’t say it to be dramatic, rather, because the sooner we understand this simple fact, the better job we can do at adapting to what comes next. 

That begs the question: what is next in digital transformation?

Change is constant, but uncertainty doesn’t always have to be if you’ve got a solid, adaptive business strategy. The next chapter of digital transformation will see brands shift from having a digital strategy that worked once upon a time to one that works whatever happens.  

The Digital Changemakers: Dedicated to What’s Next in Digital

At Contentsquare, we’ve been asking ourselves this very question. We’ve been searching for ways to stay connected to our customers and community, while also preparing for the unpredictable. First, we focused on providing valuable, fresh weekly data on how coronavirus is impacting eCommerce on our COVID-19 hub. After all, we believe data is the first step to solving any challnge. But, we have also been asking ourselves, how can we contribute to our industry? How can we make a lasting impact? How can we make sure that we create positive change during a time of such turbulence? 

Two things came to mind: community and innovation. So, we decided to combine the two by creating a community dedicated to fostering innovation with the CX industry: the Digital Changemakers

There is enough room in this space for all of us to do amazing things, create exceptional experiences for customers and support each other. Let’s come together during a time of isolation and share our collective experiences, learn from each other and create cutting-edge, innovative ideas to help power the future of the industry. 

That is where you all come in. We’d like to ask you to join our Digital Changemakers’ Community

Once you become a member, you’ll have exclusive access to research, insights, industry expertise and, most importantly, a group of like-minded members within the industry. We’ll be updating the site regularly with new content, interviews and virtual events (for now). You will also see a form at the footer of every page where you can ask a question or even share an experience for the group to learn from. 

We hope you join us and look forward to defining what the future holds for digital. 

 

Introducing the New Zoning Analysis: Our Signature Feature is now More Powerful and Easier to Use than Ever

After months of hard work and dedication, our Product team is ready to unveil our new Zoning Analysis with a more complete experience than ever. 

So how did Zoning Analysis become Contentsquare’s most-loved feature? The answer is simple. In essence, you get intuitive and flexible visualizations that tell you why visitors engage, hesitate or get frustrated by overlaying key UX metrics directly onto your website. 

With these clear business and engagement metrics, it has never been easier to understand and explain differences in customer behavior. With a clear view of what site visitors find engaging and helpful, versus what might be considered obstacles along the user journey, teams can quantify their content decisions at a glance, and easily get rid of friction. This granular read of visitor behavior also grants brands a way to attribute revenue to their content and UX investments. 

What makes all this so practical is that Contentsquare’s single tag captures every single customer interaction, including every click, scroll, hover and swipe. The platform automatically captures behaviors on dynamic content and historical versions of your site, enabling you to jump straight to your analysis. 

In a world where every business is striving to exceed the latest standards of speed, ease-of-use and seamlessness, we believe digital CX stakeholders should also enjoy an optimized user experience. That’s why we’ve now made your favorite power tool for in-page analytics even smarter and easier to use. 

Say Hi to Our New Zoning 

Having worked closely with our customers on a solution that provides answers to real-life use cases, we’ve completely revamped our Zoning Analysis so teams can answer questions faster and even more efficiently. 

The new Zoning Analysis is even more tailored to our operational goals: fast and easy to use. 

Agathe Orsoni, Digital Marketing Manager at Petit Bateau

We made Zoning Analysis inside the platform as quick and easy to use as CS Live, our nifty browser extension. With our Live Zoning, your website becomes your dashboard. Simply browse your site including dynamic content and drop-down menus, overlay metrics in one click and answer questions on the spot. 

Need to dig deeper into the data? Take snapshots to save them into Contentsquare, analyze any element of interest or track its progress regularly. 

Comparison Made Easy 

Let’s say you recently launched a new campaign and want to analyze the performance of your hero banner before and after adding a new promotional offer. Or, you just performed an A/B test and want to compare different A/B test elements side by side. By comparing the two, you immediately see why one version performs better and can take actions based on your visitors’ preferences. 

Spot a win or a decision you want to celebrate? Simply export your analysis as a PDF to share with key collaborators, whenever you need. 

“The intuitive new Zoning allows us to make more detailed analyses especially on CRO / AB Testing subjects where all test variations have to be studied. The new side-by-side functionality allows us to compare the data of each test variation more easily and to learn the best lessons.”

Hazel Dinler, CRO Analyst at Sephora

Ease of use and speed to insights are the key pillars of our new Zoning Analysis. At Contentsquare, we believe in making decisions based on data, not opinion. And we think this level of customer intelligence should be accessible to all. Zoning Analysis was designed to be used by everyone — its highly visual metrics can be leveraged by anyone, not just analysts, and allows everyone on the team to pursue shared goals autonomously. 

If you want to learn more about our new, improved Zoning Analysis or if you’d like to see it in action, we’ll be happy to give you a tour!

Healthy Transformations: Rewarding Your Customer Experience with a Direct to Consumer Approach

Over the next 12 months, we’ll be sharing advice on how to grow and strengthen your digital business with a holistic approach to customer intelligence. Join our healthy digital transformation club to stay in the know.

Customer proximity, engagement marketing, consumer-driven innovation… 2020 is the year to take your understanding of customers to the next level. And no one knows this better than the new crop of Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) brands, who are challenging traditional digital commerce channels and reinventing the way businesses communicate, engage and connect with their customers. 

A slew of big-name start-ups of the past few years have set up shop as DTC businesses. Even legacy brands like Nike are making moves to reduce their reliance on third-party vendors like Amazon. So what is behind the direct to customer marketing appeal? 

In Praise of a Truer Connection With Your Customers 

The name says it all. Many of the D2C newcomers are leveraging this unmediated business model to build a stronger, closer — in short, more direct — connection with their audience. 

With a greater hold on consumer engagement through ownership of the whole customer journey, brands are at liberty to analyze the moments of connection to better adjust the CX to their customers’ needs and wants. 

Customers in 2020 value seamlessness, yes, but also authenticity, originality, added value, and a customer experience (CX) that ticks all these boxes. Some audiences will be responsive to a company’s sustainable supply chain; others want a beauty brand designed for real people. 

In the brave new D2C world, a brand’s core value proposition has to be defined (and delivered!), as it is a cornerstone of engagement marketing.

One of the benefits of all this customer closeness is that it breeds innovation. The D2C superstars, with their tight audience relationship, are leading through disruption; innovating new ways to engage customers and nurture loyalty over time. 

In fact, these success stories often transcend the product that launched them in the first place. For example, on its website, Away says it makes “everything you need away, and nothing you don’t.” GoPro’s About Us page mentions “celebrating moments” and “capturing life.” 

Achieving this level of connection implies a solid understanding of what matters to your target audience, which brings us to UX data.

direct to consumer marketing

Adobe Stock, Via Katia


Leveraging Behavioral Data For Greater Customer Proximity

Addressing your audience directly gives you privileged access to customer intelligence, and to the digital insights you need to optimize your CX. 

Owning the end-to-end user journey affords brands exhaustive insight into their visitors’ UX — from their customer journey, to their in-page behaviors, to their interactions with individual page elements such as images, form fields, etc.

This kind of in-depth reading of your customers’ behavior will reveal your biggest experience hits and misses, flag the changes that should be prioritized and convey where your greatest opportunities lie. 

After all, how can you build the ideal customer journey without a solid understanding of what your visitors are trying to achieve in the first place, or how they would prefer to go about it? The way customers move through your site and interact with it are all clues to decipher intent — itself a necessary signal for personalization and customer connection.

Aligning customer wants and a brand message via an engaging experience is something the leading D2C brands have mastered. And today, putting customer experience metrics in the hands of all those who have a stake in the CX has never been easier. 

Widening access to this data is key to achieving the level of agility and excellence that customers today expect. Customer preferences fluctuate fast and furiously, and your team’s ability to keep up with them needs to be just as swift.

 

Direct to consumer marketing

Adobe Stick, Via Gudellaphoto


The DTC Approach: Putting Customers at the Heart of Things 

Whatever your business model, there is much to learn from D2C brands’ commitment to customer-centricity. Developing a unique brand narrative, defining a clear value proposition and leveraging your ownership of the customer journey to improve the digital experience for all visitors are just some of the ways you can increase customer engagement.

In the end, all roads lead back to customer experience analytics. Whether you want to control the creative concepts or the technical aspects of your UX, a surefire way to unlock actionable insights is through the use of metrics that capture the nuances of human digital behavior. Does your message resonate? Are you helping visitors achieve their goals? Is your digital experience (DX) frustrating or delightful? There’s much to discover on how your visitors are using your digital properties.

So go ahead, sow your wild oats via a DTC approach and stay informed on your experiences and customer behavior. After all, the ‘20s are here. Let’s make them roaring for your UX. 

Want to learn about how our DTC clients leveraged smart UX analytics to improve their content and ROI goals? Download our DTC report

Customer Love: How To Cultivate A Happily Ever After With Your Clients

If you ask any of my Contentsquare colleagues how many clients we have going into the new year, most of them will reply, without a second’s hesitation: 600.

And they’re right: we did wrap up 2019 (our most ambitious yet in terms of new business) with a portfolio of 600 leading global brands. 

But because we love numbers so much at Contentsquare — and because it’s almost Valentine’s day — let me share with you a much more exciting number: 12,000.

That’s the number of people behind those 600 logos who use our solution as part of the work they do every day. In other words, 12,000 individual relationships to nurture and sustain, or, if we’re being really ambitious (and we are), 12,000 reasons to keep the spark alive every day. Of course, these are business relationships, but they are still first and foremost human relationships. Some examples:

I could keep going, but that is not the point. Let us focus instead on what really is at stake, here: how to create, improve, and renew meaningful engagement for these 12,000 users of our solution. If the answer seems obvious, that’s because it is. Yes, it’s true, for B2B as for B2C, the cornerstone of sustained customer engagement is (drumroll) a good experience — and ideally differentiated, experience.

One of the foundational pillars of a good experience is LISTENING to your customers. (which is an essential element of another one of our core values: Team Spirit). At Contentsquare we make listening to our customers a priority — we are constantly collecting feedback on our product and roadmap through individual or group sessions, we ask our clients what features they want us to prioritize, and we ask them to weigh in on our product positioning strategy. In fact, our clients are involved in every aspect of our growth; from the development of new functionalities to the strategic vision of the company. We believe alignment with our customers is crucial to our innovation agenda and future as a company.

The second pillar is CONNECTING our customers with their peer-based community. The most visible representation of this is our very active client community. Many of our clients will tell you they really enjoy and look forward to these recurring meet-ups and clubs, which are a chance for them to share use cases and best practices, or quiz their peers about the solutions that work for them and the challenges inherent to their industry. 

The last pillar, ENGAGING, is also how we measure the success of our customer experience. Our most engaged clients are true brand ambassadors and sponsors, and you’ll often find them speaking alongside our CX-perts at conferences. They’re very giving of their time, they recommend us to their peers… with enthusiasm.

The last thing I’ll say about customer engagement is that it starts with every team being engaged with customers and their mission to create better experiences for their customers. Whatever our department, country, office, or role, customer experience touches each and every one of us and we all need to be — if not obsessed — deeply committed to delivering excellence in this regard. 

Of course, no one is perfect and it’s important to remember: a good relationship is one that evolves, as each party changes and understands each other better. So yes, we will continue to challenge ourselves to keep listening, keep growing and keep improving to always be the best partner our clients need us to be, and in doing so, to keep the spark alive. 🙂

With love,

Sonia

RSVP at [email protected]

 

 

 

NEWS: Contentsquare, Worldwide Leader Of Digital Experience Analytics, Grew 200% In 2019

After raising $120 million since 2017, and following the acquisitions of Clicktale and Pricing Assistant, digital experience analytics leader Contentsquare announced record results for the full year 2019. For its vision and accomplishments, the company has been named a 2020 BIG Innovation Award winner by the Business Intelligence Group.

“The digital experience analytics industry is growing at a rapid pace and Contentsquare is leading the way. Our company had tremendous growth this year including revenue, clients, geographic reach, employees, partnerships and product,” said Contentsquare CEO, Jonathan Cherki. “Customer feedback makes it clear we have the right strategy executed by the right people so we look forward to a bright 2020.”

Record Company Growth

With a mission to empower brands to create better web, mobile, and app experiences, Contentsquare grew annual recurring revenue nearly 200% during 2019. New and expanded clients include industry leaders across sectors such as BCG, Best Buy, Caixa Bank, Crocs, Deichmann, Dell, Europcar, Eurostar, Ferragamo, Orvis, Pizza Hut, RBS, T-Mobile, TomTom, Toyota, Tumi, Unilever, and many others. Contentsquare analyzes more than 9 trillion consumer interactions each day to provide its more than 600 enterprise clients worldwide with benchmarks and recommendations.

Companies worldwide are turning to Contentsquare for a new breed of analytics which surfaces digital behavior insights essential for improving customer journeys, increasing mobile conversions and increasing revenue. In 2019, more than 200 new customers joined the Contentsquare community and total usage of the platform increased nearly 300%. Contentsquare’s international sales grew at a brisk pace in 2019, with 40% of its business now in the United States and 50% in Europe, including strong adoption across France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Nordics. The company is growing faster than expected in Asia, particularly in Japan; Contentsquare is investing across the region in Australia, Singapore and China.

Contentsquare doubled its staff in the last year, growing the team from 300 to 600. The company plans to fill 200 positions this year. Contentsquare has 7 offices in Paris, Munich, London, New York, San Francisco, Tel Aviv and Tokyo. In line with its mission to create better experiences, the company continued to invest in its employee culture, adding new benefits and bringing all employees together for the annual offsite.

Ecosystem Integrations and Strategic Partnerships

Building a strong partner community is a key ingredient of Contentsquare’s strategy. The company’s partner program invites both services and technology partners to leverage the Contentsquare technology in order to create value for their customers. The company has built technology integrations with more than 100 software vendors, including some of the key players in its ecosystem such as Google, Adobe, Oracle, Medallia, Qualtrics, Tealium, Dynamic Yield, Usabilla, Monetate, Kameleoon, Qubit, ForeSee and OpinionLab. Contentsquare also announced in 2019 a business and technology integration with Salesforce. These seamless ecosystem integrations allow clients to leverage the power of Contentsquare data and insights to enhance the value of their commerce and marketing solutions. The company has also developed strategic partnerships with consultants and digital marketing solutions providers around the world, including WPP, Capgemini, Havas, Accenture, BCG, Wunderman, Dentsu Merkle and many others across Europe, the United States, LATAM, the Middle East and Asia. See them here.

Innovation with Artificial Intelligence, Privacy and Security Focus

To keep up with the needs of its clients, the company is constantly innovating and adding new modules to the platform. With 170 people in R&D and Product, Contentsquare is built to provide instant insights that go beyond what traditional “clickstream” analytics can show. A major new version of the platform debuted in 2019, integrating capabilities from its acquisitions such as Session Replay and featuring innovations such as Revenue Opportunities which estimates the financial impact of recommended modifications. The company also introduced the industry’s first turnkey holistic online experience score, the Digital Happiness Index.

When it comes to data privacy and security, Contentsquare continues to put its clients and their end users first, obtaining ISO 27001 certification with SOC 2 compliance completing in 2020. The company is also fully compliant with applicable data privacy laws such as EU GDPR and California CCPA.

In addition to the 2020 BIG Innovation Award, Contentsquare was named as a Next40 growth company by the French government and recognized by Global research firm Gartner, as a leader in the Customer Experience Digital Analytics field. Contentsquare CEO, Jonathan Cherki is participating in this year’s Davos World Economic Forum.

“Our ambition remains unchanged: empower brands to deliver better digital experiences. We are creating an intelligent brain inside the cloud that, thanks to our amazing clients, is improving the digital products and services that we all depend on every day. Our team constantly goes beyond traditional limits to achieve this vision. The results obtained over the last 12 months just strengthen our ambition to put the power of Contentsquare in the hands of every digital professional,” said Cherki.

Digital Predictions: Recipes for Conversion Health in 2020

You’ve spent the last few weeks making merry with friends and family, and it’s likely you overindulged. Today, you don’t want to look at another cookie, and you’ve swapped the booze for green juice. You’ve resolved to fill the next decade with yoga and maybe even meditation.

But what are you going to do to improve your digital strategy in 2020? How are you going to go about building a healthier, nourishing, more blissful experience for your customers? 

Here is our roundup of 7 trends we think should guide your digital resolutions this year.

1. The experience wars heat up

The numbers have been out for a while: the gulf between businesses’ perception of their own customer satisfaction versus the consumer’s reality is widening. On the other hand, brands that are synonymous with excellent Customer Experience (CX) are reaping outsized benefits. According to a Forrester report, insight-driven companies are growing 7-10x faster than the average enterprise.

The key to a great CX lies with… your customers. The new standards of experience demand greater, smarter customer proximity — one that hinges on a true understanding of what your audience expects and how it wants to connect with you in 2020 and beyond. If you choose not to go all-in on creating an unexpectedly great experience this year, you do so at your own peril.

2. Leaders scramble for new metrics

Knowing how your brand stacks up to customer expectations — and how many different factors from price, to app ease of use, to customer support — contribute to the experience is still a challenge. This is the year many digital professionals will rebel and demand meaningful analytics that are easy-to-consume. Many brands are finding themselves constrained by old metrics, which can tell you how many people visited your site, and how many converted, but don’t offer many clues as to why they left without buying, or if a purchase was in fact the primary goal of their visit. 

When it comes to understanding customers, metrics such as content attractiveness and engagement, friction scores and even an objective measure of consumers’ Digital Happiness paints the story between the clicks. You’ll see more CX Index and e-NPS type metrics coming out from agencies, consulting firms and analytics players this year to help meet the demand.

Having access to a system of insights that can capture the nuances and fluctuations of customer behavior, and translate these into actions is how you turn customer intelligence into intelligent CX.

3. More brands flip the acquisition model

Digital teams understand that getting as many people as possible through the door is no longer a viable business strategy. It’s simply too expensive and it is not in fact, a customer-centric approach. Why invite someone in unless you can actually deliver value to them? More brands are shifting their focus to analyzing what happens once customers are on their site in order to better understand who they should be marketing to in the first place, and how.

Think about it — not everyone will want to convert on your site (maybe they’re here to check out in-store availability, use the store locator, etc), and those who do will have a specific customer agenda (they might want to see if a coupon works, to check out fast on their smartphone, etc). The key is to understand: 1) what are your high-value segments, 2) how they like to browse.

By analyzing and understanding the journeys and behavior of customers who are already on your site or app, you can surface intelligence about what they’re trying to do, and in turn, use this intelligence to target specific segments with highly relevant experiences. Don’t forget: the best remedy for churn is a relevant customer experience.

4. Smarter content

Which brings us to content (…don’t all roads lead to content?).

Businesses invest a ton of time and resources into creating content that communicates the brand’s offering and helps customers connect with their values. But how do you measure the impact of content decisions? How do you know what content to display for which audience? How do you maximize your creative investments and merchandising strategy?

Well, it goes back to those smarter metrics. Your customers are giving you real-time feedback on your content with every swipe, tap, scroll, click, etc — each element of your site is either a relevant step in the journey, a distraction, or worse, an obstacle. Customer journey insights are finally becoming operational at scale. And, advanced AI-driven analytics will help translate this customer feedback into actions your team can take to improve the experience and your bottom line. Don’t be left behind.

5. Personalization partners with privacy

Brands in 2020 are going to become better at combining their personalization efforts with their customers’ privacy concerns. Why? Because consumers today want more of both. High profile data breaches and an overload of personalized marketing that isn’t in fact that relevant have made consumers wary of oversharing in the digital world.

But is it really possible to personalize without personal info? We think it is. The beauty of behavioral data is that it delivers on both these demands: privacy and personalization.

Because one consumer does not equate one way to browse a website. And just because a brand knows your name, birthday, address and a few of your interests, doesn’t mean they know what drives you crazy when you’re trying to refill a standing cat food order on your mobile. By analyzing and aggregating the behavior of specific customer segments (based on their context and intent) digital teams can unlock a much deeper, truer type of personalization than that made possible by demographic data. 

And if you are going to collect data, the key is to use it well. Be transparent and clear about any request for personal information — customers are often willing to give information that is genuinely going to add value for them.

6. D2C is the new flagship store

Marketplaces don’t afford brands the same level of control over the end-to-end customer experience as direct-to-consumer (D2C) marketing. By entrusting others to promote and sell their products or services, businesses are not only settling for lower margins; they’re essentially giving away crucial customer intelligence they could be using to elevate and personalize the brand experience. 

And when you’re competing on experience, as brands are today, owning the relationship with your customers so you can better meet their needs and expectations — and strengthen your community at the same time — is crucial.

This isn’t an entirely new phenomenon, and it’s not only reserved for new, agile startup companies. Leading brands like GoPro have shifted their strategy, and are putting more emphasis on owning the end to end experience, and cultivating a meaningful, enduring relationships with their customers on their digital properties.

7. Inclusivity becomes core to your digital strategy

According to the CDC, one in 4 U.S. adults has a disability that impacts major life activities. So if your website and app are not accessible to everyone, that’s 61 million people (in America only) you’re not including in your CX decisions.

The good news is when you design for disability first, you often come up with solutions that are more advanced and smarter than if you hadn’t. Brands everywhere are putting innovation at the service of inclusivity, and are leveraging new technology to future-proof the CX, improve accessibility, and ensure customer-centricity is not just for some, but for everyone.

Final thoughts

We’re heading into a new decade of innovation, digital creativity and intelligent technology. Your best strategists in 2020 and beyond will be your own customers. The key will be to tune into their expectations and align your experience strategy with their goals. 

It’s time to get a new yoga mat, and a new solution to translate customer behavior into profitable CX actions. As you navigate your favorite sites to find the first, think of the dozens of micro-decisions you take as a consumer: click on this image over that one, filter by size, give up halfway through a scroll, login as guest, etc. 

We help brands make the journey to digital wellness more seamless and satisfying. The rest is up to you.

 

 

Hero Image via Shutterstock, by Boiarkina Marina

Salesforce World Tour New York 2019: Lessons on Digital Engagement & More

I was chartering unknown territory when I set foot in the venue for Salesforce World Tour 2019 in New York City. 

The tour — which voyages multiple cities across the US and the globe — is the flagship event from Salesforce, covering everything from the multitude of Salesforce products, their integrations, and of course, user and customer experience (CX). 

The event was branded as “a day of innovation and inspiration” on its website, and upon entry to the vast expanse that is the Javits Center, I was able to sense these ideas in the ambiance.

Let me set the scene: the ground in the reception and main halls was coated in green carpet, with large sculptures of the characters found in Salesforce products, particularly those of its Trailhead characters, decking the convention. They too were surrounded by greenery: shrubs, trees and fireplaces kept them snug.

Modern-day carollers were warbling Christmas tunes with a dose of beatboxing. Further along in the Trailhead-themed area, a wide array of brands set up shop to tout their latest products and innovations. Makeshift theaters (with no enclosures) were set up for some of the sessions; much in line with the Trailhead world, the seats here were little tree trunks.

Further down, the sessions were a bit more sophisticated, with larger volumes, larger screens and headphones provided for all attendees. I was excited to have a listen and imbue as much CX knowledge as possible. 

Here are some of the key learnings I acquired:

Creating 1:1 Opportunities with Conversational Commerce 

One of the first sessions I attended stressed that the best shopping experiences are personal. This means taking the catered in-store (or bank, etc.) experiences into the digital world. As such, websites and UX take the role of digital salespeople. Like a real sales associate, they must act as someone who helps customers find the products they want.

This, in turn, creates increased engagement with your brand, which encourages loyalty. A personalized CX is a kind of 1:1 experience customers have with brands, but since there are no sales associates online, digital players must employ conversational commerce into their strategy.

Conversational commerce refers to an e-commerce method that employs various means of inciting conversations. This includes using chatbots on sites and apps, artificial intelligence (AI) and the newer advent of voice technology which includes speech recognition.

Salesforce relayed the importance of using VIP chatbots, which ask site visitors what they’re looking for upfront and in a casual way. These bots can then help set up customers with a real associate, who gives recommendations based on the info shoppers gave to the bot, removing an annoying layer of repetition with the associate. 

This closes a loop and shows that you’re paying attention to customer needs. It also helps personalize the shopping process by digitizing its best assets. The key is to make these chatbots mimic human conversations as closely as possible. 

Brands can leverage chatbots and other conversational commerce techniques (messaging apps, Siri, etc) as a means of helping customers solve hurdles, particularly those that they can take offline and implement it into the digital space.

All in all, conversational commerce has the prowess to streamline the shopping process to make it more scalable. It enables you to put your customers at the center of your business.

Improving VoC with Interactive Emails

Naturally, one of the lessons from the World Tour came from one of Salesforce’s own and relatively new innovations: interactive emails. 

Implemented into the Einstein marketing cloud, along with other email capabilities this fall, interactive emails allow customers to provide their feedback in their own inboxes, as opposed to clicking on a link and being sent to a website or app.

This form of email extends the personalization factor that emails already can provide, so brands ought to tap into this trend. It also enhances email UX, as it augments emails with a web-like function. 

Essentially, it’s a new form of VoC, providing customers with the convenient option of staying within the comfort and privacy of their own email.

Brands can capitalize on interactive emails by attaching a survey or poll at the end of their message to collect vital customer opinions and attitudes. These can be towards a number of digital or customer experiences. Alternatively, brands can dedicate entire emails for this purpose.

For example, a fruitful interactive email strategy is to simply add an open text box so that a customer can type in any concern, effectuating a service case to be created — all without the need to create a new email or search for an answer elsewhere on the net.

Interactive emails provide a great brand experience and can be used across industries.

Undergoing a Customer Revolution for All Sectors

Brands are competing on experiences — whether they know it or not. As Parker Harris, the Salesforce Co-founder and EVP remarked in the keynote session, “customers may love your products and services, but do they trust you? if not, they will move on to someone else.”

This rings true even for niche brands and those in more “serious” sectors, ie, B2B and other non-retail fields. Consider this scenario: there are two banking services that offer the same kind of accounts, with limited restrictions and fees. However, one offers a customer-centric UX in which customer service and website sessions are quick and hassle-free.

Clearly, customers will gravitate towards the bank with the better experience. Given that the financial services vertical is known as being less tailored for experiences, competing on experience may seem like a forbidding challenge. 

However, even basic financial tasks like checking a debit card charge and disputing it can be leveraged and turned into a personalized, well-serviced experience. To achieve this, the UX should be made frictionless and require the least amount of steps to do something, ie report a fraudulent card charge.

For example, if customers report a fraudulent charge via a chatbot or by phone, they’ll often get redirected to another representative or department most suited to handle their case. A common UX source of annoyance is being asked a second (or third time) to repeat an issue already reported. Thus, when rerouting customers, or getting back to them after a break, associates should be fully aware of their issue to tackle it head-on, instead of wasting time asking for specifics.

No one wants to waste time, so if your customer services are optimized for speed and their issues/preferences recorded, your customers will notice. Dovetailing to this idea is the general approach chatbots take in conversing with customers: the chat shouldn’t start with “how can I help you?” but rather by asking something more concrete, showing that you understand your customers.

This can be gathered from their previous purchases or VoC feedback or even past chats if it’s a returning or logged in customer. 

Putting Customers First Digitally

Although it lasted for roughly a workday, Salesforce World Tour 2019 has fired up my neurons. The main takeaway from this convention is that digital experiences need to require minimal effort from users to either complete an action or traverse your site in general. 

Aside from seamlessness, the event accentuated the need for personalizing and customizing experiences. The reasoning for this is that if you don’t, you will lose quality customers. The impact you as a business should aim to create is that of making your customers feel understood and listened to.

Per the recommendation of Parker Harris et al. in the event, you should also incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) into your digital strategy, whether it’s through live support, standard chat boxes, or even in your customer data collection.

When you do, you can bet on their return to your site — and not just for browsing purposes. 

 

Three UX Tips to Avoid the Snowball Effect in your Digital Experiences

This time of the year is all about staying cozy and warm, sheltered from what is going on outside. While this may be a good remedy against the cold December days, brands shouldn’t get too comfortable when it comes to their digital strategy. The last thing you need as a business is to land in a digital stagnation cocoon. 

Every now and then, companies are exposed to external or internal factors that can hamper their efforts to deliver a great customer experience (CX) and get in the way of them meeting their digital objectives.

There are several things you can do to avoid the pitfalls of a poor customer experience:

Customer satisfaction begins with team synergy. Getting everyone aligned around the same customer intelligence is the first step to being able to tackle CX improvements in a holistic, impactful way. 

The ability to create (and maintain) a deep connection with your customers is another key challenge for brands. Understanding what visitors are trying to achieve on your site or app is crucial to building trust and delivering an online experience that is helpful and ticks all the boxes.

Companies spend a tremendous amount of time, energy and money on acquisition strategies, but once traffic objectives are reached, you need to give your audience a reason to come back. Getting complacent is very easy, especially when site elements, and sometimes entire pages, are being neglected. 

The impact of neglecting some of these details is often underestimated, and what is initially perceived as a small thing can have disastrous effects on revenue and retention. 

Here are some examples of the snowball effect, and 3 tips on how to prevent them.

Don’t stagnate, innovate 

Stagnation is often characterized by the tendency of a company to rest on its laurels after meeting a period of success and growth. Once expectations are being met and results are being generated, the risk for your website is to stagnate and remain where it stands.

Keeping your customers excited and enthusiastic starts with making sure you always provide them with innovative digital experiences. As in any kind of relationship, users don’t like to be taken for granted — keeping it fresh will help keep the engagement up. 

The big disruptors are leveraging digital innovation and technology-powered convenience to build seamless digital experiences. Autonomy, speed, the ability to visualize products before buying… these are just some of the things technology has facilitated for consumers. 

Adobe Stock, via Instagram.Com/_alfil

 

Keep the communication lines open

As the saying goes,“either you follow up or you fold up.” Not being responsive to your users’ needs will annoy your customers, and even worse, lead them to write or voice bad reviews. Known as VoC, this method of airing out bad UX can have a tremendous impact on your bottom line, as is often emphasized by our digital strategists. 

Reviews make up the most commonly used VoC method. Positive reviews can boost a company’s reputation, but bad ones can severely damage a brand’s credibility. According to Inc, it takes roughly forty positive customer experiences to undo the damage of a single negative review. Communication is also making the customer understand that their needs are being prioritized and their voice is being heard. 

Adobe Stock, via Wei

 

Don’t let your digital strategy be an after-thought

In most cases, implementation is simply about what the future strategy of a company will be to increase conversion rates and boost visits on your site. 

When it comes to your website, you need a solid plan to minimize interferences and remove pain points to enable easy customer journeys. The success of your digital experiences rests on their ability to meet the expectations of your customers. While most businesses have embraced digital transformation and understand that customer intelligence is the foundation for a great CX, implementing a digital mindset remains a big challenge for many brands.

So, make sure your team is equipped with the right tools to implement a data-first approach to experience building and business decisions. 

The good news is, if you’re guilty of one of the above, it is not too late to react. A good way to counteract these snowball effects is to first acknowledge what has been neglected, take into consideration what could have been done earlier, and come up with a stronger digital implementation strategy. Understanding customer expectations has never been easier, nor has dropping intuition in favor of data.

 

Hero Image: Adobe Stock, via Maria Medvedeva

Balancing Content and Product Investments for Retail Brands

Though an obvious goal of a business is to sell, the customer experience (CX) expectations that consumers have are not as obvious. Particularly in a landscape that is defined by digital innovation, it can be hard to keep up with shifting CX expectations. Customers place a high amount of interest in value — whether it’s the value of convenience, economy or sustainability — and that’s often on top of the product itself.

A retail brand’s challenge in the digital space hinges on balancing content investments versus product and merchandising decisions. While any marketer can argue in favor of the value of content, businesses are often concerned with the evaluation of its ROI.

When a brand invests in content and pushes a large message, it is not always with a strict “purchase” agenda. The message could be emphasizing a directional change, new mission or in some cases, an explanation to customers. What is difficult to measure is if this content has a positive, long-term halo effect on conversion.

So what is the real value of content & how do you stay find the right balance to drive sales and repeat purchasing?

Three Methods for Approaching Content

Retail brands exhibit three major forms of tackling content:

Approach 1: heavy content with few, but staple, products
Approach 2: very little content, but a vast product inventory and customer reviews
Approach 3: balancing content and product within the same site page to drive engagement

Smaller click-and-mortar, or digitally native brands, are able to master the challenge of approach one, prioritizing content over product. With less inventory to showcase, a strong focus on (often inspirational) content allows a brand to distinguish itself and create a loyal customer base. These brands are able to capitalize off of the staple products they’ve created, and create deep connections with a targeted audience.

For example, Away, a digital luggage company, uses a content heavy approach. This brand positions itself by highlighting lifestyle, with content around everything one might need for traveling and nothing unnecessary. Their content identifies with a variety of travel personas, while also considering travel standards. Their content directly states their product solves real travel pains. By the time a user navigates to the product page, they’ve learned enough about Away to ensure this purchase will improve their travel experience. The sleek and modern designs do not hurt, either.

The second approach, product-first with very little content, is present in larger retailers, those with a seemingly endless inventory. These businesses reap large revenue. Amazon, the world’s largest online marketplace (and seller) caters to a variety of retail sub-verticals without much content, but rather, a reliance on customer reviews.

 

Adob Stock, via kathayut

 

Balancing Product Prioritizations and Content Creation

There are plenty of brands, including our own customers that take the third, middle-of the-road approach. To find the right balance between content and product, there’s a solution; measure the performance of your content. Once you measure content and segment audiences properly, you’ll have a better understanding of what content is driving purchasing across which customer profile.

If you can draw the lines between customer engagement, conversion and revenue, and answer how to measure the ROI of specific content elements, it removes the guesswork and fear of making content investments.

This safety net allows you to go bold when you measure the success of each content element, with the agility to test different versions or remove the content altogether. You will also answer the looming question of yes or no: whether content has a correlation with product sales.

Adobe Stock, via beeboys

 

The Verdict

When making investment decisions for content against product, you need to determine whether your content — or any proposed content — is complementing or detracting from your product. Unfortunately, there’s no single best practice for every brand.

Content is a longer term engagement than promotions, because a sale may lead customers to come to your site once or intermittently. The goal of content is different, with the intention to drive repeat visits, purchases, and ultimate loyalty.

Content can be engaging, but without substantial or trusted product behind it, there are no sales. And yet product is not always standalone — it may involve storytelling, materials, or qualifications to encourage a customer to add-to-cart. In either case, analytics is the connection between content performance and revenue objectives.

How bold can you go to allow your brand to shine? That’s something only granular behavior analytics can answer.

 

Hero image: Adobe Stock, va jeler