This sponsored post is produced by Mozu.
Content and commerce are like two sides of a coin, or the archetypal yin yang. Together, they can drive connected consumers to the sale. Creating and sharing relevant, valuable information not only creates trust and builds brands – it converts prospects into customers.
Until recently, content and commerce existed in separate worlds creating unreliable customer experiences and frustrating business users. But the rapid adoption of personal mobile technology and the rise of the connected consumer have changed the rules forever.
Overall, social networks like Facebook and Twitter are the preferred means of discovery for nearly a third of all Americans, up from 18 percent in 2010.
According to Forrester Research, the power is largely in the hands of consumers as 43% of users ages 24-32 use social networks as their go-to Internet discovery resource. In fact, the 2012 report found that social networks are the preferred means of discovery for nearly one-third of all Americans, regardless of age, up from 18% in 2010. The convergence of content and commerce is changing the game for businesses and consumers alike.
Retailer insight: Visionary companies that transform the way consumers interact and communicate with businesses – and how consumers become and remain customers – will outshine competitors.
Content + Commerce: It’s complicated.
Content is how online consumers explore their world. Words, images, video, and the interaction of these essential digital building blocks make up the essence of online communication. At the same time, customers are relying more and more on various mobile technologies to develop relationships with brands as they compare their retail options. They now engage with products and companies from multiple devices and platforms – according to Forrester, nearly 40% of mobile phone users expect to become regular mobile phone shoppers by 2017.
Technology is already evolving to meet the needs of both content creators and commerce drivers, and these tools are becoming increasingly powerful and easier to use. We are already seeing a shift in power as social media, user-generated content, personal brands, and online communities are commanding greater respect and taking over our digital world. Consumers, particularly the digital natives of the Millennial generation, don’t just consume content, they interact and collaborate with it.
Not only is information and content now hard-wired into consumers, but advertising is close behind. Millennials are the first generation open to not just receiving ads, but engaging with and sharing them.
But there’s also an important watch-out for marketers. A recent study from Yahoo!, Tumblr, Razorfish, and Digitas found almost half of Millennials (45%) stated that they don’t typically find content compelling enough to share with their networks or friends, demonstrating a genuine disconnect between brands and the customers they serve.
Retailer insight: While this generation is consuming more content than any other before, it is also more skeptical of the content that brands are currently providing. Retailers must live up to a new brand promise and provide new avenues of interaction with consumers and greater authenticity.
The New Rules of Engagement
The rules of engagement are transforming as consumers desire and look for new ways to learn about companies and products. This has a huge impact on today’s buyer, as well as on the sales divisions of organizations. According to a recent IBM study, 75% of B2B purchases are influenced by social media and a report by CEB revealed that 57% of buying decisions are made before a sales rep is ever involved.
Retailer insight: Companies that implement solutions such as mobile in-app tools that reflect and engage with users’ environments will increase engagement drastically. These integrated solutions target and reward key behaviors with relevant content and promotions and build meaningful brand relationships over time that generate monetization opportunities.
How Content + Commerce Redefine Connections Through Social Media
In their unending quest to be where the buyers are, social media channels are striving to “reduce friction” and use detailed user demographics to target prospects in-stream. Though some consumers may resent the intrusion, others will welcome the experience of relevant, action-oriented content. Changes on the horizon include:
- Facebook and Twitter are both experimenting with “Buy Now” buttons and hashtag functionality, however, benefits to advertisers are unclear
- Twitter’s first-time foray into social commerce is strengthened by their partnership with Amazon — this will help build consumer trust and early adoption
- Facebook’s future is murky as this brand attempted social commerce with its “Gifts” functionality, but without much success.
Retailer insight: As social media channels move forward, it will be imperative that companies understand and segment online shopping behaviors and audiences. For example, older generations are typically more accustomed to a structured shopping cart process with more clicks, while in contrast, younger generations are more flexible and can more easily adapt to new methods. Business owners must develop an in-depth knowledge of their target demographic to hone their approach to this new social commerce functionality.
The world is changing rapidly and, as technology evolves, quality content will be delivered to specific audiences who demand it. That’s why it’s more important than ever to create strong, unique content that is both rich and engaging. The sale depends on it.
To learn more about the complex relationship between content + commerce and access additional retailer insights just like these, download this free eBook from Mozu.
Sources for above image:
1. Keller Fay Research. 3 Billion Word of Mouth Impressions About Brands Each Week in UK, According to Keller Fay Research. (8 November 2011). Retrieved at http:www.kellerfay.com/3-billion-word-of-mouth-impressions-about-brands-each-week-in-uk-according-to-kell…
2. Tierney, J. Customers Want Online Shopping Options. (3 June 2013). Retrieved at http://loyalty360.org/resources/article/customers-want-online-shopping-options
3. Luca, Michael. Reviews, Reputation, and Revenue: The Case of Yelp.com. (16 September 2011). Retrieved athttp://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Publication%20Files/12-016.pdf
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