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

The Digital Happiness Index: Quantifying Your Customer Experience

Although conversions are the desired outcome of a good customer experience, they are not the end-all be-all for brands. A happy customer may make a purchase, but more importantly, a happy customer will return.

But how exactly do you define customer happiness? How do you understand the nuances of customer frustration and pinpoint what exactly fosters engagement? And how do you turn all this intelligence into an effective retention strategy and greater customer lifetime value? 

There are plenty of systems designed to measure user experience; these primarily and, for the most part, deal with the locations users visit on your site, conversions and the oft-cited biggest UX failure: bounces. 

But a basic set of analyses on user experience won’t cut it, and certainly won’t glean any discernment on the nuances of users’ digital happiness. The good news is that, for brands interested in quantifying the user experience as a whole, there’s a metric that does exactly that.

Calculated from several other behavioral metrics and consolidated into one mega metric, the Digital Happiness Index (DHI) is a unique measure of visitor satisfaction, providing an objective view of whether or not your overall experience is hitting the right notes.

 


What Is Digital Happiness And How Can You Achieve It?

Before we delve into the DHI, let’s focus on digital happiness. A rather simple concept, it denotes the convenience, satisfaction and even the pleasure of interacting with a website or online interface such as a search engine results page (SERP). 

As a feeling, it is incidentally difficult to pin down, even in the digital realm. But with the new, futuristic metric that is the DHI, you can determine how happy your site visitors are, based on their experience with your site or app. 

The first of its kind, the DHI combines KPIs from the 5 key strands that contribute to overall customer satisfaction:

Is navigation seamless and friction-free? Is your content proving effective to helping visitors reach their goals? Are visitors coming back to your site? Are they exiting early or completing their journeys? And finally, are they finding what they’re looking for — be that information or products?

By quantifying these various strands of experience, and combining metrics into one score, the DHI provides brands with an objective grasp of whether or not visitors are enjoying a positive experience.

Calculating the DHI: the 5 Dimensions of Digital Experience 

Here is a look at what comprises the Digital Happiness Index and what makes it tick.

Using behavioral data from our tool, the DHI separates the data into 5 dimensions to filter the numbers into intelligible concepts behind visitors’ digital happiness. Our clients get a comparison to industry standards, and every score represents an aggregate of every session on the website.

As we mentioned earlier, the DHI has 5 components, aka the 5 dimensions that make up its final score, a number out of 100, which is the average of the 5 scores of each dimension. To come up with this rating, we consider the following five dimensions:

Each of these 5 individual scores is determined by its own calculations, based on metrics like time spent on site, time spent engaging with pages/elements, bounce rates, and more. 

It also takes into account if users have reached their destinations and the way they’ve done so. It captures whether users ran into UX issues like non-intuitive navigation — clicks on non-clickable content, misleading clicks, et al.

Making Sense of the Digital Happiness Index

Innovations in SaaS and marketing have led to more avant-garde methods of measuring digital customer experience and benchmarking customer satisfaction. 

Although the complex, 5-tier system of our mega metric is supplemental, it is very much in line with our granular approach to behavioral analytics. 

The fact that the 5 dimensions deal with different occurrences in the UX means the DHI is casting as wide a net as possible to capture your customer’s mindset. Based on this score, you can shine light on areas of friction and other obstacles in the customer decision journey

Customers today will not hesitate to review a poor UX or give one star for a session that doesn’t meet their expectations. But they are also giving you continuous feedback on your site or app through their interactions — with every tap, click, scroll or hover, they are voicing their feelings about your CX. 

Here at Contentsquare, we’ve got a horde of people dedicated to helping you hear and understand what your customers feel and want — in fact, we’ve got 170 people in R&D and innovation alone. 

Happiness of any kind is difficult to pin down to a numerical format. With a consolidation of 5 distinct aspects of the UX, you will come as close as possible to determining how digitally happy your visitors are with your content.