The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected all business areas and will very likely cause not only short but also long-term changes in consumer’s behavior. One segment that undoubtedly emerges from the current circumstances even stronger is e-commerce — underlining the ever-growing importance of online businesses.
And they are not about to lose momentum: recent studies predict that e-commerce sales worldwide will reach a new high by 2021, making as much as U$ 4.9 trillion in sales. This number represents a 265% growth rate in comparison to 2014, and there are no signs of decline.
However, in a scenario like this one, there is one thing that might concern e-commerce store owners: competition. It is only natural that more people will be attracted to one of the few sectors that remain profitable even during one of the biggest world health crises.
The formula for success hasn’t changed: being updated is still one of the best ways to stay relevant. That’s why we have prepared this article with all you need to know about how interactive content can help e-commerce remain creative in this crisis. Keep on reading and you’ll find out:
- what is interactive content;
- what are its potentials for e-commerce;
- how, when, and where you can use interactive content for an online store;
- and what are the best practices regarding interactive content.
What is interactive content?
Interactive content distinguishes itself by allowing users to respond to it. It is carefully designed to be shareable and to generate engagement. Whether it is a quiz or an interactive video, it requires some sort of action from the viewer, which can bring a series of benefits for an online business.
Interactive marketing strategies can range from the simplest forms — generating responses such as likes, comments, or sharing — to more elaborate ones, which provide immersive experiences that are more likely to be effective. As we’ll see, interactive content can come in many formats that will serve both the purposes of informing and entertaining.
Especially in a field as competitive as the one of e-commerce, this strategy contributes to the achievement of two goals: getting to know your audience and building rapport and trust with them.
All because it provides a sort of digital customer experience beyond the one offered by traditional marketing, adding a touch of personalization that is often missing in online businesses.
What are its potentials for e-commerce?
One of the most common mistakes in e-commerce marketing is building a strategy based on personal taste. This applies, of course, to what content marketer create, which should be focused on their audience. But how do you ensure that you are not making this mistake? Interactive content could be the answer.
The first and more obvious benefit of creating interactive content for your e-commerce is that it boosts your audience engagement, therefore generating better metrics. When done correctly, it can go even further and increase your conversion rate and power overhead expenses.
Different types of interactive content also allow you to get to know your audience better by tracing its behavioral patterns. Differently from traditional marketing strategies, interactive content leaves more room for feedback, making it easier for you to understand with precision which persuasion methods work the best.
Finally, interactive content can also contribute to increasing customer loyalty to your brand. When the audience has a chance to interact with your business, they learn how to differentiate you from your competitors. Make sure to invest in good content so that you know that the impact will be positive.
How, when, and where can you use interactive content for an online store?
There are many ways of including interactive content in your digital marketing strategy. Take a look at some of the most popular types of interactive content!
A good example of how interactive content can help e-commerce stores are quizzes. Brands have been using them to get to know their audience and help them find the right product. This strategy works not only because it creates engagement but also because it creates a feeling of personalization for the potential buyer.
Think of quizzes that provide graded assessments. They are especially enjoyable for promoting new products as they generate engagement by encouraging users to share their assessments on social media.
Another trendy action involves contests. They are a great way to interact with your audience and, on top of that, they make people realize they want things they weren’t even aware of. Besides, the strategy helps to promote products or services by encouraging the audience to share posts, upload pictures, or tag friends on their social media profiles.
Interactive infographics allow viewers to click on or drag specific elements. They are a good option for when you want to include more than just images, as they leave space for animation and motion graphics. Even though it requires a higher level of technical expertise, its benefits outweigh the ones of a simple infographic.
Videos are way more effective at catching people’s attention than written or static content. According to this infographic from WebDAM, viewers are 85% more likely to buy a product after watching a video featuring it.
When you make this kind of content interactive, this potential is amplified, creating many possibilities. A simple way of doing it is to use the poll or the Q&A functions on Instagram stories. Other platforms allow you to add tags to the video, which can then lead the viewer to a landing page or, depending on the content, straight to a shopping cart.
Shoppable videos are a great example of this strategy. They promote certain products and include clickable features that will lead the viewer to more information — may be a page with reviews — or directly to the store webpage.
This kind of content is especially relevant for e-commerce since it gives the audience a more realistic shopping experience.
Polls and surveys
Even the simplest kind of content can easily become interactive, as we can see with the example of polls and surveys. If you know what questions to ask, they can become a great tool for the collection of feedback and user data, which will provide you with valuable insights.
What are the best practices regarding interactive content?
By now, you should be convinced of the benefits of using interactive content on your e-commerce and have an idea of possible formats that you can use. However, there are still some things you should keep in mind when designing your interactive content strategy, such as the way the sales funnel works.
Consider each step (awareness, interest, decision, action) and then create your content accordingly. A study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) in 2017 showed, for example, that games, contests, and quizzes are great for catching viewers’ attention. Interactive eBooks, on the other hand, are better for those at the stage of consideration.
Having a buyer persona also helps you craft content that is more suitable for your audience and, therefore, more likely to generate engagement. Start by looking more carefully at who your customers are, using data to find out what their pains are. Then, make sure your interactive content speaks to them.
At this point, it is interesting to notice how interactive content can help e-commerce by generating data about its customers’ preferences. As we mentioned earlier, this strategy helps you trace the patterns of your audience — which brings us to our next point: the importance of carefully measuring and interpreting key performance indicators (KPIs).
Set some time aside to think about the KPIs that you’ll use to understand what points of your strategy are working and what needs to be reviewed and improved. Remember that these KPIs should always be related to your goals to provide a solid basis for decision-making.
It is also important to capture your brand’s personality in the content you create. As we’ve seen, one of the benefits of using interactive content is that it helps you boost brand loyalty. So make sure that visual aspects such as design and animation resemble your brand’s identity, all the while making sure to follow the best e-commerce UX practices.
Last but not least, consider investing in automation. It will make the processes of posting, distributing, and monitoring your content more efficient and leave more time for you to focus on creating good, quality content.
As we’ve seen, crises usually demand that business owners improve their strategy to stay relevant. Despite continuing to be a profitable segment, e-commerce still requires that their owners stay up-to-date for them to stay competitive — and learning more about interactive content is the first step.
It is important to mention that making your content interactive is hardly enough. Investing in the quality of the content is still the best proof of your expertise and authority, so take advantage of this trend to boost your trustworthiness.
A great way of keeping in touch with the latest trends in e-commerce strategies is keeping up with events in the field. The eCommerce Growth Summit, for example, features experts from all around the globe who can provide valuable insights about strategy, content, conversion, and much more, all related to the e-commerce industry.
So, now that you know all about how interactive content can help e-commerce, take a look at some priceless insights from the eCommerce Growth Summit that will help you boost your strategy!
Raphael Pires is a blog editor at Visually/Rock Content, the platform that gives you the best creative talent on demand.