E-Commerce is proving costly - but primary content can help

Friday, 26 February 2016

Click to view full-sized picture in a new window.

Bradford Shellhammer, co-founder of design-centric online retailer Fab.com, recently made an eyebrow-raising claim: that bricks-and-mortar stores are becoming more cost-effective than their online counterparts.

He claimed that opening a high street store is “probably” cheaper than launching an e-commerce outlet in today’s market, even when factoring in increased overheads from rent and payroll. And the reason for this shift? According to Shellhammer, it’s down to ever-increasing marketing spend, as well as the hefty costs of postage and returns. In other words, “It costs money to make money”. According to Shellhamer, “When you’re competing for the same ad channels against guys who have unlimited coffers, it’s really difficult.”

Shellhammer contends that if a retailer has a relatively low number of employees, combined with a single premise, it’s perfectly feasible for this model to be cheaper to run than an ecommerce store. As evidence of this shift towards the “old school”, he points to an increase in the number of online start-ups shunning paid online advertising – because getting noticed has become so expensive – in favour of traditional media like direct mail and ad hoardings, where competition is less fierce.

Aside from escalating advertising costs, Shellhammer highlights customer returns as another significant drain on revenues for e-tailers. This is where clear, accurate and informative product description content can play a vital role in the customer journey and help to minimise the likelihood of shoppers returning items on the basis that they weren’t “as described”.

Aside from the well-publicised SEO benefits of producing unique product descriptions, this “primary content” should be seen as a critical sales opportunity – the equivalent of an interaction with a sales assistant in-store. Get product descriptions right and a customer will feel informed, inspired and compelled to buy; get them wrong and the customer could end up with something they don’t want.

Getting product descriptions right

Creating a product page that really assists conversions and provides as much information as possible to the buyer, lowering the risk of returns, requires smart interaction between design, UX (user experience) and content.

The basic best practice principles include:

1. Highlight product benefits as well as features in product copy. That woven-rope handle isn’t just there for the sake of it – it makes the bag extra comfortable to carry and taps into the season’s nautical trend. Appealing to customers’ emotional and aspirational sentiments, as well as providing the “nuts and bolts” of product composition and features, is important.

2. Use high-quality product imagery. Research from MDG Advertising found that 67% of consumers consider images “very important” when they buy, and this is critical for reducing the likelihood of returns.

3. Maximise your user-generated content. Analysis from Figleaves.com found that products with reviews had a 12.5% higher conversion rate than those without, while products with 20+ reviews showed an even more marked increase in conversion rate, at 84%.

4. Give as much detail as possible. When customers shop in-store, they can rely on the knowledge and expertise of sales assistants to help them make a decision. The same principle applies to e-commerce; supplementing product pages with extra information like sizing guides, care and maintenance advice, FAQs and “how to wear/use it” tips will give shoppers confidence and make them less likely to return items.


Contact Us

Your Name: Email Address: Telephone: Your Enquiry:

Our friendly and helpful staff are ready to take your calls, Monday - Friday, 8.30am to 5:00pm.

Call today 0800 054 2576

Recent News Articles

01/12/17 - Join Our Team – Home-based Field Engineer
Due to continued success, there is now a requirement for an additional home-based Field Engineer to ...Full Article >>
30/11/17 - Incom-CNS Supports Children In Need 2017!
Long-standing advocates of ‘giving something back’ the Incom-CNS team came out in force again in sup ...Full Article >>
27/10/17 - 28 Years Young and We’re Number 1!
We are officially 28 years old today! What a journey it’s been, filled with fantastic achievements a ...Full Article >>
13/10/17 - It’s Official! We’re the Best in the UK!
The Incom-CNS Group was voted Best UK Reseller at last night’s ‘Industry Oscars’, t ...Full Article >>
 

Existing customers can chat to our friendly support team online to report a fault.

Available 09:00 - 17:00 Monday to Friday

Customer Support

Latest Posts - 12 Dec 2017

01 2017 12

Due to continued success, there is now a requirement for an additional home-based Field Engineer to ...view more >
30 2017 11

Long-standing advocates of ‘giving something back’ the Incom-CNS team came out in force again in sup ...view more >
27 2017 10

We are officially 28 years old today! What a journey it’s been, filled with fantastic achievements a ...view more >

Latest Blog

5 Mobile Device Risks & How To Protect Your Organisation - 12/12/17

On the whole, technology is a source of enormous gains for organisations across the world. Businesses, public sector and charities are all benefiting from the digital technology revolution we are going through, with productivity increases and cost savings some of the main advantages.

In time, if past revolutions are any indications, organisations will experience gains we can barely imagine. However, there are several downsides to technology.

Security weaknesses are one o
...view more >

Our Videos

> Williams F1 uses UC and mobility to extend office trackside at Grand Prix

Follow Us

Icon BlogTwitterFacebookLinkedIn

Quality

 

Testimonials

"We were impressed with how Incom looked to help us save money, improve our flexibility to manage seasonal demands and increase our efficiencies. "

Niki Waters, Premier Holidays, Cambridge


"The staff at Incom have all been professional and supportive during the transition and made the switchover as seamless as possible from a user perspective."

Horizon Nuclear Power, Gloucester

Our partners