In today’s digital world, online stores have become the norm, rather than the exception, to facilitate customer sales.
Online stores offer customers a level of convenience and efficiency that is more difficult to find in-store. Moreover, they create a low-pressure environment for shoppers who need more time and freedom to make a buying decision.
With all of these advantages in mind, it’s easy to see why an online store would be beneficial for your business and your clientele. However, with so many businesses offering online stores, how can you make sure that yours stands out from the crowd?
The following chapter contains content marketing ideas that will help set your online store apart from competitors, ultimately helping you achieve long-term success and growth.
Although your customers may have a wide variety of interests, preferences and goals, you can count on one universal truth to better capture their attention. That truth is that customers respond positively to a strong storyline or narrative.
By incorporating an engaging story into your online store, you are more likely to keep prospects on your web page longer. The more time your visitors spend on your store’s web page, the more chances you have of making a purchase.
In this way, using a gripping narrative to engage your audience will result in higher profits, brand awareness and customer loyalty.
If you’re unsure what kind of story to tell, start with your company’s origin story. Now more than ever, customers want to know what kind of company they’re doing business with. So communicate your history, values and mission to capture prospects’ attention.
Yet another way to give your online store a boost is to utilize personalized product recommendations. As their name suggests, personalized product recommendations are designed to present customers with products they are most likely to purchase.
Not only do tailored recommendations make shopping more enjoyable for your customers, but they also help you increase sales. This strategy provides each customer with a personalized shopping experience that takes their unique interests into account.
Personalized offers and recommendations are generated by algorithms that review customers’ past searches, past purchases and location. These inputs help the algorithms determine which product or service the customer is most likely to purchase.
By using them in your online store, you can give each customer the individualized shopping experience they deserve.
Last but not least, education-focused content can prove highly useful in capturing your audience’s attention. In today’s ever-evolving marketplace, customers are practically desensitized to the classic sales pitch.
Instead of trying to entice customers with a discount, special offer or low price tag, try using educational content to engage their interests. Share intriguing facts related to your products or industry.
This will show customers that you’re interested in forming a professional relationship with them, rather than just turning them into a quick sale. By addressing customers with content that doesn’t mention sales, customers are bound to let their guards down and engage with you.
Creating engaging content also depends heavily on the visuals that you use. Today’s customers are bombarded with hundreds of marketing images each day, especially online.
They may or may not take the time to read your written content, but they will automatically take in your visuals. These first impressions determine how the customer will view your brand. That’s why it’s crucial that you stay on the cutting edge of new technologies that will enhance your online store’s visuals.
One such technology is called visual search. Simply put, visual search uses images to help customers determine what they want, rather than traditional written text.
Visual search is particularly popular with fashion and furniture retailers since it allows businesses to show customers examples of what they might be searching for.
For example, if a customer is looking for a new couch, they may not be familiar with all the different jargon that would help them find their perfect match. However, the chances are that they have an idea of what they would like.
Visual search makes it easier for customers to choose what they want, even if they don’t know exactly how to describe it.
Augmented reality is yet another form of technology that can take your online store to the next level. Not to be confused with virtual reality, augmented reality adds to a person’s current environment rather than taking them to a new, virtual world.
Augmented reality can help customers visualize what your product would be like in real life, which makes the buying experience that much more interactive.
Augmented reality is changing the trajectory of online shopping. In fact, a 2020 study showed that 35% of U.S. customers said that they had used augmented reality to visualize their furniture or vehicle purchase.
Incorporating augmented reality into your online store is sure to enhance your customers’ buying experiences, as well as improve your overall sales and growth.
Virtual reality, while more immersive than augmented reality, has the power to transform your online store, too. Virtual reality is meant to take your customers out of their current environment and place them (virtually) in entirely different surroundings.
This can be achieved with 360-degree photos or videos, virtual reality headsets and product demonstrations, to name a few examples.
By incorporating virtual reality into your online store, you can allow customers to visit your store virtually. They can even browse through your items and make purchases from the comfort of their homes.
Virtual reality delivers a unique shopping experience while maintaining all of the convenience of traditional online shopping.
Pinterest has embraced visual search technology in recent years, and users have, too. In fact, 49% of users say that visual search helps them develop a better relationship with brands.
Pinterest’s visual search tool, Lens, allows users to take photos, upload them to Pinterest, and browse a range of similar items. Thus, visual search bridges the gap between users’ current environments and the products they are searching for online.
Now, it’s easier than ever to find that perfect armchair or lamp — and it’s all thanks to virtual reality.
TOMS Shoes is known for its “one for one” philosophy when it comes to its lightweight, artistic-style shoes. With each pair that a customer buys, another pair is donated to a person in need.
Now, that benevolent gesture is more impactful than ever, thanks to TOMS’ use of virtual reality technology to create the “Virtual Giving Trip.” The Virtual Giving Trip is a 360-degree video that allows customers to experience exactly what it’s like to donate shoes to children in need.
This use of VR makes customers feel even more engaged with TOMS’ giving mission. As viewers watch the Peruvian children who benefit from the one-for-one program, customers will feel more aligned with TOMS’ philosophy than ever before.
These examples show how modern businesses like yours can utilize visual search and virtual reality technology to further engage customers. Make sure to invest a part of your marketing budget into good-quality content that’ll help you maintain a good relationship with your customers, and meet new ones.