In a past few years, the number of online stores has surprisingly increased. Online shopping is so popular nowadays that many of us couldn’t live without it – 40% as the survey shows (Big Commerce). It’s convenient and timesaving. Only in Europe in 2017 there were over 800,000 online stores (E-commerce News Europe). This causes one problem. People like to have a choice, and it seems like the more stores and items exist on the market, the better for the potential client. Unfortunately at some point customer feels overwhelmed. There are too many options to compare and to make an informed purchase.
This cause the perfect opportunity for publishers. They can monetise their websites by presenting the content juxtaposed with e-commerce items. Therefore they can help customers to choose the best products at the lowest price. It’s useful in every case, no matter if it comes to small everyday life purchases or more significant spending like an exotic trip for holidays.
This business model we can divide into few stages of customer journey:
1. The attraction
At the beginning we need to filter the recipients somehow so we can get to know if they’re interested in specific products. Content has to be suitable to the context – it’s essential. Accurate context includes events, trends, seasons etc. Not everyone who enters the article has to be the one who’s planning to buy a presented product, but it raises a chance of such a scenario. At this point, we want to create the shopping preferences.
Example: An article „Summer trends: what to wear to look like a celebrity?” presented with pictures of seven famous actresses, singers or models during their holidays. Probably only the people potentially interested in this topic will click the link and enter the website with this content. Maybe a woman who’s going for a holiday by herself and needs to refresh her wardrobe. When she reads about this trends and admire beautiful clothes – it’s possible in the future that she’ll look for an opportunity to buy a similar dress that she just saw wearing by her favourite actress.
2. The engagement
Before content-to-commerce era consumers had to look up manually for the products they have just seen via content. It’s time-consuming but also very hard to proceed and sometimes even impossible. At this stage, recipients interact with the product and therefore is getting engage with possible purchasing. That also tells us who’s more interested in given products. Not only that he/she gets recommendations from online stores about precisely the same products as shown in the content, but also others – differentiate when it comes to price, brand, style. It makes all process easier because all the consumer needs to do is to click on the direct link to this particular product in the online store. Moreover, even if this person hasn’t made a decision back then (due to lack of time, distraction, etc.) thanks to remarking we can reach them again – maybe in more friendly-shopping circumstances. It’s crucial to target the right person at the right time and place (for example in the evening via social media by showing an ad with previously seen products).
Example: Woman amazed by this year’s summer trends wants to get a similar dress for herself. She sees a few propositions besides the article. The exact one item as the actress wears in the picture unluckily is too expensive. But among other recommendations, she can find a similar proposition – in her price range. In an easy and fast way, she can fulfill her shopping impulse by clicking on the direct link to the ideal dress for upcoming vacations.
3. The commitment
The last phase is a successful purchase. The client id not only initially interested in particular items but he has already had the interaction with content and products, by clicking twice the links. He’s ready to buy a product because the publisher helped him make this decision and redirected him to an online store. When the customer is already in the e-commerce – the final deal depends on the store.
Example: The woman is determined. She knows she wants to buy this dress. She got the knowledge about trends this summer; she has already found the perfect option – the combination of dream stylization and decent price. If nothing unexpected will show up now, she’s going to purchase her summer dress. She can already see herself wearing it on a beach when the sun goes down.
This picturesque customer journey shows that shopping isn’t only about a great deal. Most of all it’s about dreams, emotions and experiences. The challenge for marketers and publishers is to find the best content and present products in the most suitable circumstances to help customers with making the purchase decisions. Content-to-commerce is now a must-do when it comes to promotion of online stores. Moreover, e-commerce use in for this purpose also video content. As it’s a huge percentage off all the Internet content and it passes more emotions and impressions to the recipients – it could be a highly effective solution.