According to a recent report, 70 percent of consumers use multiple channels to discover, research, and buy products. Beyond this, the data suggests that brands that maintain a consistent experience across channels increase purchase intent by 90 percent and improve a consumer’s perception of the brand by 68 percent. Taken together, these studies outline just how important it is for brands to maintain consistency across multiple retailers. Although consistency translates into more sales, failure to deliver consistent experiences can have a devastating impact on your bottom line, with loss in market share as consumers take their business to your competitors due to your brand’s inability to meet their expectations.
However, maintaining brand consistency isn’t always easy. The digital shopping experience takes place not only in product awareness and discovery campaigns, but also on the display page itself on retailer sites. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the ways brands fail to maintain consistency across channels—and what you can do to avoid making the same mistakes.
1. Bare-boned product displays
Today’s consumers shop online expecting to be informed as they consider purchase. From ingredients in foods and cosmetics to component details for electronics, shoppers need to know what they’re getting and why they need it before adding a product to cart. Many brands may employ best practices in their campaigns, but fail to do so on their product detail pages on retailer sites.
A recent study found that 70 percent of consumers agree that detailed product pages are critical to the shopping experience. Despite this, many brands don’t go the extra mile (or really the bare minimum) by providing additional information that can help consumers make more-informed decisions -- and the purchase itself. Shoppers have entirely abandoned product pages on retail sites because it did not provide enough information on what they wanted to buy.
But if you’ve gotten a consumer to the point where they are looking to parse through your product information, they’re exhibiting high purchase intent, and losing them is a tremendous waste.
You can avoid this pitfall by creating a standardized process that your team can follow whenever they list a new product on a retailer’s website. You’ll need to standardize your listings and make sure they all include feature images, gallery images, a product description, a product overview—including the specs, price, features, and more—social proof (e.g., reviews and ratings), and a way for consumers to reach out to you with any questions. For best results, build in a regular revision time for your product pages so that they are reviewed before a campaign goes live, and updated when a specific shopping occasion is about to take place.
2. A lack of reviews
So you’ve established your product as loved and trusted in your campaigns. Do you maintain the consistency of that branding in your product pages? These days, online shoppers face a range of risks even when buying from trusted retailer sites. The last thing you want is to have these fears re-triggered by an unprepared product page as shoppers do their research.
Social proof has de-risking capabilities. Did you know that 91 percent of consumers read online reviews, and 84 percent of shoppers trust online reviews as much as they trust recommendations from their friends?
If you’re confident in the merit of your products, you need to create a space for consumers to share their thoughts and feedback. To seed your review section, you can consider giving products away for free in exchange for reviews or partnering with influencers and trying to tap into their audience. This not only helps educate your buyers, but build the confidence to purchase your product.
3. Displaying your products among your competitors
The last thing you want is for your audience to land on one of your product pages on a retailer’s site, only to be greeted by a ton of suggestions for competing products. Such a setup will only encourage consumers to at least consider the competing products.
You can avoid this pitfall by making sure you list multiple products on each retailer’s site, while using technology that ensures consumers are only directed to products you have in stock. That way, they are less likely to see recommendations for substitute products—and more likely to complete a transaction with you.
4. Lacking agility
These days, consumer sentiment changes quickly, and messaging must be updated on and outside of product pages to stay consistent and reflect them. Today’s leading brands operate with agility. They know that consumer preferences change rapidly, and move fast enough to keep up with those shifting trends. In the era of COVID-19, brands also learned the extent to which unpredictable events can derail plans, cause supply chain issues, and rapidly impact consumer purchase behavior and sentiments.
When your products aren’t available in time, or you don’t have the right products for sale based on evolving consumer sentiments, you’re not going to generate as much revenue. It’s that simple. The messaging present on your product detail page can also become out of date or even tone deaf if they are not monitored and updated to reflect the consumer sentiments toward your product category.
By transforming into an agile operation that can pivot quickly, you can reduce the chances you are out of sync with your consumers at the worst times.
How to maintain control across multiple channels to deliver consistent experiences
The good news is that maintaining consistency is easily accomplished once you’ve decided to prioritize it. You can achieve consistency by:
- Developing robust brand guidelines to guide your creative both on and outside of your product pages
- Regularly auditing and updating your product pages to reflect seasonal messaging and campaigns
- Staying agile by breaking down internal silos so that all parties are aligned when making adjustments
- Leveraging eCommerce technology to keep a pulse on consumer sentiment and the performance of all of your digital campaigns across channels
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