Product experience can be described as a consumer’s end-to-end encounter with a brand. Brands are interested in providing positive experiences to consumers because marketing data reveals that consumers behave a certain way when shopping:
- 51% of shoppers use Google to research a purchase they plan to make online1
- 48% of consumers say a brand’s website is their most trusted source for information2
- 70% of customers consult reviews or ratings before making a final purchase3
Therefore, brands that want to get ahead must ensure that they give consumers what they seek no matter where they are in the customer journey. How, where and when should brands focus their efforts to deliver exciting experiences? Let’s look at how a sample customer journey might unfold. Typically, a consumer:
1) Types a product on Google search or clicks an ad
2) Gets redirected to the brand’s product page
3) Scans the content
4) Bookmarks the page (if they really like what they saw)
5) Lines up the competitors for comparison
6) Trims down contenders to two or three and reviews the products side by side
7) Singles out the product that contains everything they need and more (more may be extra interesting information, discounts, freebies, promos, prestige, etc.)
8) Decides to make a purchase
In this scenario, the product page plays a key role in convincing shoppers to make a purchase. It is where brands show their product’s appearance, unique features and how its benefits are something the shopper must absolutely have.
However, today the product page can’t make sales happen alone. It needs support from other sources that can provide key information such as ads, blogs and user-generated content (UGC) to name a few.
Now let’s take a look at three elite brands and the strategies they’ve used to deliver remarkable product experiences online.
Dove is ranked as the most relevant brand on the Household & Personal category in the Prophet Brand Relevance Index® (BRI); they’ve been holding this spot since 2017.4 Dove is known to leverage digital marketing campaigns to create social discourses and build communities, which help elevate the brand beyond its product lines.
A visit to their product page reveals why they are the top dog in the Household & Personal category. From product image, title, description and technical information such as ingredients and instructions, Dove provides visitors with all they need to know to decide on a purchase. Once a shopper clicks the “shop now” button, they get redirected to their local online stores. Dove has shown transparency and a willingness to engage with visitors by giving them the option to rate the product and leave reviews.
Sample product page:
The same accurate, complete, rich, relevant and up-to-date product information can be seen on marketplaces such as Amazon and retail outlets such as Walmart:
In 2014, Casper was a start-up that sold mattresses online and delivered them to customers’ houses in boxes the size of small refrigerators. Using a direct-to-consumer (D2C) approach, it disrupted the way people buy mattresses.5 During its first three years, the company was valued at more than $300 million and their offerings eventually expanded to include all sorts of sleep accessories such as sheets, blankets and pillows, as well as something for man’s best friend – dog beds, and more. Today, the company has 60 physical stores, 2,000 partner stores nationwide and has forever changed the way people buy beds and sleep accessories.
How did they pull it off? James Newell, VP at Institutional Venture Partners, which invested in Casper, said, “They [Casper] would tell you they’re not a mattress company, they’re a digital-first brand around sleep.”6
That means the content they produce isn’t just about selling Casper mattresses but also about inviting consumers to step into the fascinating world of sleep through scenarios and information.
Upon landing on their homepage, shoppers see the brand’s willingness to address their apprehensions regarding buying mattresses online. Casper made sure that consumers have choices and can try out the products with no strings attached.
Since it’s an online brand, the company used smart content to position itself as the subject-matter expert on all things sleep. They focused on convincing people that it is normal, more convenient and safer to buy mattresses online. That’s a tough pitch considering brick-and-mortar’s stronghold on the mattress industry, but Casper was successful.
By employing a combination of transparency, fun advertisement, consistency, availability, subject-matter expertise and attention to detail, Casper has posed an existential threat to the traditional mattress players.
Attention to detail:
It doesn’t happen every day that a beauty blog becomes a brand worth $1.2 billion,7 but that’s exactly what former Teen Vogue assistant, Emily Weiss, experienced with “Into the Gloss” (ITG) in 2010. The blog profiles friends’ and celebrities’ (e.g. Kim Kardashian, Victoria Beckham, Gwyneth Paltrow, etc.)8 beauty regimens, which gives readers a combo of authenticity and authority when it comes to makeup and skincare.
The secret to Glossier’s success is word of mouth marketing (WOMM) by using a combination of UGC and product-focused content, which is genius considering that:
- 74% of shoppers admit that word of mouth influence their buying decisions9
- 92% of consumers listen to suggestions from family and friends over advertisements10
- 88% of people trust online reviews by fellow consumers as much as they trust the people they know
WOMM results in brand loyalty and trust, and on top of that creates a lot of buzz. By employing this strategy, Glossier is steadily growing a cult-like following across the skincare and makeup demographics. To date, the brand has almost 3 million followers on Instagram.
Key takeaways from these 3 brands:
- All three brands use educational and trust-building content and relevant storytelling to create social discourses and build communities.
- Over time, due to familiarity and trust, consumers are more inclined to buy their products, generate content for the brand and invite more to join in.
- These brands also ensured that all the product information across their sales channels is accurate, complete, rich, consistent and up-to-date, especially on their product pages.
Some of these strategies are easier to implement than others. Putting all these together isn’t an easy feat, and brands need to have the right tools in place if they wish to succeed. One solution that can help brands hit the ground running when it comes to ensuring their product content is engaging, accurate and consistent is a Product Information Management (PIM) system. A PIM is a centralized solution that helps brands consolidate, manage and enrich product data for easy distribution across multiple channels. With a PIM, brands can have the right processes in place and deliver the right product content to establish many of these strategies that will help them stand out to the consumers of today.