“Personalisation” has long been a buzzword in the marketing world. As marketers, we have typically associated it with strategies and tactics involving segmented audience data, custom-tailored communications, behaviour-triggered offers, recommendations, and ads. As technology has grown smarter, so have our personalisation efforts. And these initiatives have often been pretty darn effective.
But research from our 2021 Widen Connectivity Report reveals that marketers are approaching personalisation in a seemingly more (dare we say) rudimentary way. B2B and B2C customers want to be the experts in their own purchasing journeys. So rather than forcing targeted ads and other outbound personalisation efforts on them, brands are meeting customers where they are in their journeys with a different kind of personalised experience — one that’s focused on the simple concept of being helpful.
What’s helpfulness got to do with personalisation?
Think about something you recently purchased (embarrassingly for me, that was a pack of bandages that look like bacon strips… but this is about you). When you reflect on a specific purchase and the steps that led you to it, what would have been more helpful? Getting retargeted again and again with “personalised” ads promoting the efficacy and appeal of said product? Or robust, accurate, and up-to-date information addressing your unique product questions, concerns, and needs?
Targeted ads are often helpful in getting a buyer’s attention or even giving them the extra nudge needed to actually make a purchase. But findings from our Connectivity Report tell us that product information is more important. This includes three different types of information — product data, product marketing content, and product digital assets — which are explained in the below graphic.
Marketers use all three of these information types to describe and market their products. They also use them to deliver personalised, helpful customer experiences. When buyers come looking — when a shopper types a search query into Google, Amazon, or any other retail website — they expect to receive results that address their personal needs at that exact point in their purchasing journey. In other words, they expect personalised results or personalisation.
In turn, it’s the brands that are ready with accurate, robust product information that have the advantage. Thanks to search engine optimisation (SEO), information-rich brands show up more prominently in search results and can therefore greet customers with the personalised results they’re after. Type the query “Are bacon bandages waterproof?” into a search engine, and there you have it: a bevy of product listings and brands rise to the top of the results with helpful information about the effectiveness of this very versatile, practical product.
Call it personalisation. Call it helpful. Whatever the case, shoppers are getting the product information they need to make more informed, confident purchasing decisions. And that’s a good thing because it helps brands compete and ultimately excel in increasingly challenging e-commerce environments.
The connection between product information and e-commerce success
The popularity of e-commerce is undeniable. In the United Kingdom alone, over 86% of people currently shop online, and even more (nearly 90%) are expected to join in on the e-commerce purchasing craze by 2025. It’s a challenging space, and brands have to adopt smart product information strategies to stand a fighting chance.
Over 81% of the brands that participated in our connectivity survey “always” or “usually” use product information in their e-commerce marketing efforts. “The growing belief is that any time you can add more information about the product, the better,” shared one participant. Product information is critical in helping brands build trust, connect with their customers, and overcome many of the challenges associated with online selling.
An online shopper can’t take a product off the shelf, feel its weight, and experience it in the same way they can in a store. They rely on product information to understand and feel confident in what they’re purchasing. Detailed specs about a product’s dimensions and material makeup, videos demonstrating how a product works, and even marketing copy that highlights a product’s competitive advantage and benefits — all this product information makes it easier for customers to comparison-shop and ultimately feel confident enough to make a purchase. Approach product information thoughtfully, and you could be one of the many brands coming out on top.
Get the 2021 Widen Connectivity Report
Online retailers need to publish information about their products; that’s simply a cost of entry these days. But the type of product information, its accuracy, and how brands use it to tell their marketing stories and personalise customer experiences matters — it matters a lot.
If you’re ready to get the most out of your product information, we can help. Get more stats, findings, and actionable advice from brands like yours. Now’s the time to harness the power of your product information and gain the audience connections that’ll help you find even more success on the digital shelf. Get going and download our 2021 Widen Connectivity Report today.
By Nate Holmes, product marketing manager, Widen.