Despite the fact that Enhanced Content is a big deal today, it has evolved slowly. Syndigo (through our legacy brands) has been building eCommerce databases for more than 20 years. But it has been a relatively recent development that enhanced product content has been given a closer look as a necessity for consumer marketing. And now, with increased competition for shoppers’ online attention, Enhanced Content growth is accelerating very quickly.
Let’s take a look at some of the basics of Enhanced Content, show how it works on a Product Detail Page (PDP) for your brand, and highlight a few reports that can help you get the most from your product content.
First, let’s review what Enhanced Content is not: Core Content. Core Content (sometimes called “base” content) is made up of the basic, descriptive information and a few static product images that are captured as product data. Things such as item weight and dimensions, label descriptions, on-pack nutrition information, and ingredients are all part of core attributes. In addition, the individual item photographs with no background (2D front/back/side, as well as 3d angled shots) are considered core.
This is considered the basic, necessary content to be able to present your brand online. Core Content consists of primary assets used to feed into GDSN data, retailer eCommerce pages, or nutritional information sites.
Core Content is the basic, descriptive content required for listing on eCommerce sites.
At Syndigo, Core Content is collected during our Ingest phase of product management and enriched for use with recipients in our Manage phase. For more information on what makes up Core Content, visit our blog Core Content 101, or our Core Content page to learn more.
Enhanced Content is where products move from simple descriptions to telling a story: creating ways to engage with consumers. It’s what helps to keep them on the page longer, learn more, and make more emotional connections to the product. Think of Enhanced Content as the movie preview that entices the viewer to want to learn more and see the complete show. And planning what you want to convey is a good way to start.
Telling a product story is an evolving thing. As features change or the market shifts, your product positioning may change as well. So start by working with what you have. As a supplier, if you are connected to an integrated platform that syndicates your content, updates can be done frequently and in near real-time. There’s no excuse to wait!
First, plan your page. Assess the additional content you have and can publish live now and consider how it fits into your PDP as part of the brand story.
Just like a great movie, a great product detail page (PDP) helps to tell a story. And while it probably won’t win an award statue, the approach is the same: where there is a challenge that needs to be overcome, the product is there to help solve it.
And since a picture is worth a great many words, Enhanced Content weaves those words into a meaningful brand story. The data backs this up. Based on our own product research, we have found:
Just like any story with a beginning, middle and end, your enhanced product story can be broken down into three parts. The beginning should open with your most eye-catching content to grab the attention of busy shoppers.
Much like an exciting start of a story, a good page designer knows how to hook in the audience. Next, for the heart of your product story, choose content that defines the product in detail to give it dimension and depth. This is where the benefits can expand to show all the uses for the item that may cause the shopper to gain more interest. Finally, the end of the story wraps everything up and provides a final pitch in a digestible format. It may include a ‘buy now’ button or other call to action to drive the sale.
Many detail pages start with Core Content and then include Enhanced Content, further down the page. Called “In-Line” content, this Enhanced Content is made up of the many additional item photos, glamour shots, videos, comparison charts and 360 spin graphics to keep a shopper on the page in the hopes of becoming more engaged with the product. This infographic on the anatomy of a product page shows how PDPs can be structured.
More and more however, savvy sellers are realizing that since the majority of consumers are searching primarily on mobile, they often don’t get to “the good stuff” down the page. And so eCommerce sites have begun to include the Enhanced Content right at the top of the page. Some sites even enable interactive capabilities, such as Engaging Hero images, or Interactive Toolbars that highlight the Enhanced Content.
Engaging Hero with Contextual Hotspots
With so many types of Enhanced Content available, Syndigo grouped them into The Engaging Hero and In-Line Content. The Engaging Hero is the conversion-winning content located at the top of the page – the most-viewed area of a PDP site, and the place to hook even shoppers who aren’t committed to scrolling. The Engaging Hero comes in two forms: Contextual Hotspots, images with additional ‘live’ areas that open pop up windows that contain product content, and Interactive Toolbar, that enables a user to choose the content most important to them, right at the top of the page.
In-Line Content, on the other hand, is the Enhanced Content that resides in the line of information, further down from the Core Content at the top. The “From the Manufacturer” segment of a PDP is an excellent example of In-Line Content.
Since the eye tracks right to left, and top to bottom, content is often laid out in order of importance, with things like brand and product name, plus a single image, displayed first. Although Core Content (a static image and attributes) is typically featured at the top of the page, Enhanced Content can also be listed through The Engaging Hero such as Contextual Hotspots and Interactive Toolbars.
Following that, as viewers become more engaged down the page, we have In-Line Content. This can include comparison charts, interactive product guides, 360 spins, documents, and a variety of lifestyle images.
With more people using mobile devices to search, it is important to consider how to create an efficient page layout in order to deliver a usable PDP, whether on a larger screen or on mobile.
Product Guide & Documentation
If your shopper took the time to visit your site, they are interested…or at least curious. Now it’s your responsibility to keep them there. The ’15-second-rule’ – the average amount of time before a visitor decides the site or page is something they want to engage in – is your window to engage. If you’re familiar with the proverbial elevator pitch, a product page is your brand’s elevator pitch at an accelerated rate.
What are they seeing on your page that will keep them around? Engaging content is a key element to this interaction. Think about your product from the shopper’s point of view: to them, why does your product exist? What is unique about it? And what’s the main thing that differentiates you from other, similar items? These are all thought-starters to get you deciding on the most impactful Enhanced Content to lead with.
Syndigo supports many Enhanced Content formats for posting on the page. For example, if your product has many more desirable features than your competitor, perhaps Contextual Hotspots are the way to go. If the product is new to the market, or is a significant design difference, a video demonstration or 360 product spin could help deliver a more engaging experience.
With the increased competition online, ‘good-enough’ product detail pages generally aren’t. To simply list out product features and benefits misses out on the opportunity to deliver intelligent PDPs – ones which not only tell your brand story, but also can be improved by monitoring their performance and making improvements over time. There are many third-party options for analyzing and reporting on effectiveness of online content. Fortunately, Syndigo provides a suite of capabilities, integrated right into the CXH platform in a linear workflow. That means you can move from analysis to implementation in the same working environment.
Combined with the engaging Enhanced Content you can deliver on a product detail page, Syndigo’s Enhanced Content Analytics allow you optimize your PDPs for even better performance. For example, you may wish to evaluate visitor behavior across product pages, to understand which perform better. This can inform further decisions on where to focus improvements.
A prime benefit of using Enhanced Content is that you can present your product’s benefits. Where Core Content is descriptive, Enhanced Content allows you to go deeper into telling the product story and highlighting the unique capabilities that the shopper desires. Contextual Hotspots and an Interactive Toolbar are definitely quick ways of communicating benefits; however in addition, a comparison chart can highlight the differentiators from the competition.
And if you have a product line that has several extensions, models, or varieties, make sure to have benefits specific to that item. Some suppliers use a standard “boilerplate” description for all their products, which does not maximize the capabilities of Enhanced Content. For example, while including a company mission statement (or commitment to quality, preservation, etc.) may support your brand positioning, it doesn’t help differentiate the variations within a product line. Use your PDP (and Enhanced Content) to show the specific capabilities of each item, to make it easier for the shopper to choose the right one and move it into their cart.
After that, you can evaluate shopper interactions with Enhanced Content by page, to understand how engagement contributes to actual shopping behavior (such as add to cart). You can also measure the biggest content contributors to shopper behavior and calculate the percentage of lift generated from the enhanced content.
Over time, you will refine your content pages for better and better engagement, leading to more efficient sales. An optimization report can show you how the changes you made have improved engagement behavior to help learn how to improve elsewhere. Together these analytics help to deliver on the promise of Enhanced Content – to drive better engagement, and ultimately, sales
Instructional or demo videos are another great capability for delivering benefits quickly and easily. And obviously food items can benefit from a recipe or two. Consider what problem or problems your shopper is trying to solve; how does the item fit that need and do it better than others? Or consider if you were presenting your product in a store, what are the points you would use to reinforce the product’s usability for a consumer? Content such as product videos or image galleries can help to provide a showroom experience online and deliver many use case benefits.
This is a great opportunity to review all the marketing content that has been produced for your product or product line. Are there national advertisements that can be formatted for online viewing? Training videos for DIY-type items? Brochures used in the showroom or at trade shows? These are considerations for finding content that highlights the product’s benefits.
Here are just a few of the best practices from both supplier and recipient clients who publish top-quality enhanced product information. If you would like to see more tips, you can access the full list here.
Tip 1: External Links/URLs – Don’t include active URL website links to other web pages. You want shoppers staying on the site and completing the purchase, rather than jumping to another page.
Tip 2: Static Pricing/Fixed Dates – Avoid specific pricing or date-related pricing within the content. Retailer prices can change, and you want the content to remain fresh and accurate.
Tip 3: Accessibility – Check that your content meets accessibility requirements if publishing to an Accessibility Compliant Retailer website. Syndigo ensures publishing standards to WCAG 2.0 AA.
Tip 4: Made in USA Claim – Many large retailers do NOT allow “Made in USA” claims, due to the fact that it is very hard to validate. To avoid an incorrect posting, many have opted to not allow this claim.
You’ll want to finish your PDP with a strong way to move shoppers to purchase. Customer reviews are a good option (if they’re positive), because peer review provides a strong element of consumer trust. In addition, if you have food items, providing deeper nutritional information on dietary compliance, allergens, method of production, or health benefits will provide strong reinforcement to the shoppers searching and needing to make a decision. If you have other quotes from satisfied customers, or third party ratings, this can also help to reinforce the purchase choice.
And, once you’re finished assembling and uploading your Enhanced Content, it’s important to preview how your items look online. By doing so, you can help clarify any content gaps you may have so you can fill in the blanks. Many recipients favor those listings with more complete information (and some may choose not to list at all, if the data is not complete). Syndigo provides special analytics tools that can help with this type of monitoring, once your PDP has been completed with Core and Enhanced Content.
Even if your responsibilities lie in other areas of asset management, it is important to understand how all aspects of a product page will drive higher sales.
And, it is easy to see how having Enhanced Content incorporated with Core Content, syndication and analytics all from a single platform is beneficial. The ability to manage an entire suite of product information, syndicate it to recipients in their templated formats, and optimize the content, makes for more efficient operating processes and better sales. It is why we built our Content Experience Hub (CXH): to enable commerce by supporting the efficient transfer of information through the complex ecosystem of brands, retailers and their customers.