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Using Persuasive Content to Drive Commerce Conversions

In an era in which it is common to acknowledge that customer experience is king, it is surprising that a tremendous number of commerce websites still offer incredibly basic experiences. Most people are familiar with this kind of online shopping scenario: a basic product catalog leads to a simple product detail page that includes elementary information, such as the product description and assorted photographs, leading to a checkout button that drives the ordering process. The reason so many commerce experiences are so basic comes from the nature of older commerce software, which, until recently, effectively ignored the opportunities to enhance the overall user experience.

The most successful retailers and sellers today leverage persuasive content as an additional layer on top of the core transactional functionality to drive customer conversions. Using a combination of compelling content, artificial intelligence, and customer data, sellers are finding remarkable success by delivering powerfully personalized commerce experiences to their customers. These experiences combine to help customers find the right product or solution, align it to their specific needs, and ultimately, persuade customers to purchase.

A variety of metrics demonstrate this power:

  • 80% of shoppers are more likely to buy from a company that offers personalized experiences. [source]
  • Products configured online can sell for up to 50% more than products purchased in-store. [source]
  • Retailers that display product ratings on their sites see conversion rates rise by 270%, and people are actually more likely to buy products in the 4.0–4.7 star range than they are to buy products with a perfect five-star score. [source]
  • Although 43% of users on retail websites go directly to the search bar [source], 72% of sites completely fail site search expectations. [source]

Given these metrics, here are several key ways in which persuasive content can drive commerce conversions:

1. Comparison: Helping customers compare products between product families, against the competition’s offerings, and even use cases are all effective ways in which you can help customers find the right product. This approach also allows you to highlight the specific reasons your product is superior in a visually engaging way, leading to increased conversions. It should also be noted that helping customers find the right product themselves reduces returns and increases customer satisfaction.

2. Visualization: Allowing customers to visualize how a specific product will look in their environment helps connect the value of the product to the customer’s unique reality. Examples include cars being showcased in a driveway, furniture mapped to a living room to demonstrate how a couch would look, or even how a diamond ring will look on the customer’s finger. This is another differentiating experience that helps make your product stand out.

3. Product Configuration Tools: Showcasing how a specific product or service can be configured is a compelling way to connect the product to the customer in a way that feels personalized. It is an important aspect of helping customers feel that the product has been uniquely tailored to their need or use case. This is another powerful way to differentiate in crowded marketplaces.

4. Commerce Personalization: Personalizing the entirety of the experience around commerce is the holy grail of commerce platforms. This kind of personalization is intended to make shopping feel like it was designed to cater to the unique needs of the individual customer, wrapping them in the right products, services, and experiences. Customer data is essential to delivering these experiences, which should be driven using base demographics, previous purchases, analytical insights from site visits, segmentation alignment, content marketing, and more. When well executed, personalized commerce is a force multiplier for conversions.

5. Product Recommendations and Customer Reviews: Customers are savvy, seeking input from independent experts and customers when making product-buying decisions. Catering to this need, successful commerce experiences are transparent about showcasing customer reviews. Today’s most powerful commerce platforms include product recommendation engines that leverage personal, community, and other sources of information to recommend products. The bottom line is more conversions.

6. Search-Driven Commerce: It is easy for sellers to forget that a sizable portion of customer traffic is still extremely search-driven. Building internal searches that cater to commerce is an essential building block in delivering commerce experiences that convert. Even simple techniques, such as promoting search results for specific products, drive a noticeable increase in conversions.

Other techniques that drive conversion success include using guided commerce experiences such as chatbots, wizards, or product matching tools to connect customers to the right products and/or services. Using wish lists, sampling moments, open-box videos, authority figures, or influencers to add additional content around products serves to drive conversion results even further.

Collectively, it is clear that there are tremendous opportunities to go beyond basic catalog and shopping-cart experiences to better serve commerce customers. Sellers who make investments in commerce-specific personalization and recommendations have consistently been shown to drive increased conversions, higher customer loyalty, and increased customer lifetime value. Today’s technology enables these kinds of experiences at an unprecedented rate, so the time has never been better to invest, grow, and mature your organization’s commerce capabilities.

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