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eCommerce

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Dec 15, 2023

Content commerce: A step-by-step guide

content commerce on shopify
content commerce on shopify
Rebecca Anderson - author

Rebecca Anderson

Content commerce: A step-by-step guide

Boosting the visibility of your online store is crucial for enhancing sales and generating more income. Modern brands have realized that direct selling doesn’t always work with customers.

They prefer to be informed and engaged regarding the products and services offered. Retailers need to merge their commerce with a content-based approach. By doing so, they can craft eCommerce experiences that are rich in content, leading to higher conversion rates and improved customer retention

In this guide, we’ll explain how to leverage content commerce for your Shopify store, including:

What is content commerce? 

Content commerce is more than the buzzword; it's an innovative approach to eCommerce that integrates relevant, engaging content with product offerings to deliver an immersive, informative shopping experience. It’s about providing your audience with value beyond the products or services you sell.

Content commerce means creating and sharing content to boost online sales. It's like content marketing but for online stores. Brands mix this content with their sales strategies to improve the shopping experience, aiming to get more customers and sales.

The key lies in thinking of your content less as a marketing tool and more as a product that you're offering your customers. 

By effectively communicating the benefits of your product through engaging content, you can drive customer engagement, build trust, and ultimately drive sales. Think of a lifestyle blog by a clothing brand that seamlessly features their products in their posts - that's Content Commerce.

Maximizing the benefits of content commerce

Content commerce aligns with customer preferences, doubling down on active engagement. Customers no longer passively consume content; they interact, share, and initiate meaningful dialogues. It's about creating a two-way street that fosters consumer participation and strengthens brand relationships.

Driving customer engagement with content commerce

Product videos, interactive quizzes, and user-generated content are some of the many tools used in content commerce.

Videos, in particular, are growing in importance - with over $78.5 billion being spent on digital video advertising alone in 2023, according to Statista.

These elements not only highlight a product's benefits but also increase time spent on site and foster a sense of community amongst users. This interaction isn't purely transactional - it enables customers to feel an emotional connection to the product and the brand.

Using content commerce, you bring the customer’s focus onto the value proposition. Their purchasing decision is based not just on the product itself but also on the material surrounding it. This newfound customer engagement isn’t just a buzzword; it's a proven method to increase customer retention and build loyalty.

The power of user-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful ingredient in the content commerce mix. Featuring consumer testimonials, partnered content, or user-made videos, UGC guides potential buyers toward a purchase decision.

It furthers trust and credibility, a clear example of consumers advocating for a product they believe in. By integrating UGC into your content commerce strategy, you're enabling a higher level of customer buy-in and fostering an engaged community.

Boosting sales with content commerce

Content commerce provides a conversion-friendly ecosystem. It merges editorial content and eCommerce, providing educational and entertaining material that directs the customer's purchase journey. In other words, your product becomes part of an enjoyable content experience rather than being a standalone entity. The result: increased conversion rates.

Furthermore, creating content that creates a positive user experience will help you to outcompete your competitors. In Semrush's State of Content Marketing 2023 report, they state that only 18% of brands said user experience was an important investment in their content for next year. By creating content that makes for an improved customer journey, you can outpace other brands.

Personalized content is an essential aspect of content commerce that directly impacts sales. By analyzing customer behavior, you can tailor content to suit their needs and interests better. This personalized experience fosters closer relationships with customers, transforming them into loyal, return customers. Remember, content commerce is not about hard selling; it's about subtly guiding users toward making a purchase decision while delivering the content they enjoy.

Role of analytics in boosting sales

Understanding the correlation between content and sales is crucial. The use of analytics can help with this, providing invaluable data that enables you to fine-tune your content strategy. Performance metrics like click-through rates and conversion rates can clearly demonstrate the impact of your content. It's about steering your strategy based on what has worked best - and remembering that what works best is what resonates with your audience.

Content Commerce trends to watch

With shifting consumer behavior and increased digital innovation, personalized content commerce is rapidly gaining momentum.

The rise of personalized content commerce

It's no longer just about selling products or services. Today, commerce is taking a content-driven approach, shaping the customer journey with customized user experiences and personalized narratives.

Companies are crafting tailored recommendations based on user data. They are creating compelling experiences shaped by the preferences, past behaviors, and real-time activities of consumers. Personalized content drives both engagement and transaction, fostering deeper, more meaningful connections between brands and consumers.

Incorporating personalization in content commerce is like giving your customers a personal shopper who understands their tastes, needs, and preferences. This improves customer experience and drives conversion rates and, consequently, revenue. Brands leveraging personalized content commerce are reporting higher customer retention, improved brand loyalty, and overall business growth.

The integration of content commerce and SEO

The marriage of content commerce and SEO is another trend shaping the future of eCommerce. It's not just about creating engaging content anymore; you have to make sure it's found by your customers. SEO plays a key role in driving organic traffic to your commerce content, extending its reach, and elevating its visibility on search engines.

A well-executed SEO strategy ensures your content is pertinent, easily discoverable, and ranks high on search engine results. This, in turn, attracts potential customers and directs them to your products or services.

Furthermore, a synergy between SEO and content commerce helps in building domain authority, shaping online credibility, and fortifying the brand’s digital presence.

Moreover, leveraging SEO in content commerce fosters a seamless user experience. It helps brands create content that not only appeals to the target audience but is also highly searchable and user-friendly.

It means focusing on keywords that align with your product offerings, using meta tags, creating SEO-friendly URLs, and ensuring your website is mobile responsive.

In essence, the integration of content commerce and SEO is becoming a mandatory business strategy for those aiming for online success. It is the key to driving more traffic, improving consumer engagement, and boosting conversions in today’s digital economy.

That's why it's essential to create a strong SEO plan for your Shopify store.

Video content commerce examples

Video commerce has become a significant part of content commerce due to its effectiveness in engaging customers and driving sales in the digital age.

To help you decide how to best incorporate videos into your content commerce strategy, let's explore some examples of video commerce in action:

TikTok video commerce

TikTok has seen crazy growth in the last few years and has added e-commerce features like TikTok shopping - which helps explain why many brands have incorporated it into their content commerce strategy.

Here's how TikTok fits into content commerce:

  • Viral content and trends: TikTok is known for its viral content and trends. eCommerce brands can capitalize on these trends by creating or participating in viral challenges, using popular hashtags, and leveraging TikTok's unique, short-form video format to showcase products in a fun and engaging way.


  • Influencer collaborations: Influencers on TikTok have a massive following and can significantly influence buying decisions. Brands often collaborate with these influencers for product promotion, leveraging their creativity and audience reach.


  • TikTok shopping: TikTok has introduced features like TikTok Shopping, which allows brands to integrate their eCommerce platform directly into the app, making it easier for viewers to shop the products they see in videos.


  • User-generated content: Encouraging users to create content around a brand or product (e.g., through challenges or hashtags) not only generates buzz but also provides authentic and relatable content that can drive sales.

For example, check out how PaddleSmash has added TikTok videos to their homepage to highlight user-generated content:

tiktok e-commerce

Now, shoppers can get an idea of what their product looks like in action - without leaving the online store, which will help shoppers to stay on track with their purchase.

video commerce with Instant

YouTube video commerce

In addition to TikTok, YouTube is another popular video commerce platform to use in your content commerce strategy.

Here are some of the benefits of using YouTube for video commerce:

  • Product reviews and demonstrations: YouTube is a popular platform for in-depth product reviews and demonstrations. eCommerce brands often send products to YouTubers for review or create their own detailed product showcase videos.


  • Long-form content: YouTube's support for long-form content allows for comprehensive storytelling, educational content, and detailed explorations of products, which can be more informative and persuasive than shorter content forms.


  • YouTube ads: YouTube's advertising platform is robust, allowing eCommerce brands to target specific audiences with video ads that can be placed before, during, or after other videos.


  • Affiliate marketing: Many YouTubers use affiliate marketing to earn revenue by promoting products. When viewers purchase through affiliate links, both the YouTuber and the eCommerce brand benefit.


  • Community building: YouTube channels often foster communities around specific interests. Brands can tap into these communities by engaging with them through regular content that resonates with their interests and values.

In summary, both TikTok and YouTube offer unique opportunities for eCommerce brands to engage with potential customers through creative and diverse content strategies. TikTok excels in quick, viral content and user engagement, while YouTube is ideal for in-depth product exploration and long-form content marketing.

How to add TikTok and YouTube videos to your Shopify store

tiktok video commerce

With the help of Instant Page Builder, adding TikTok or YouTube videos to your online Shopify store is easy.

Just copy and paste the video URL, and Instant will automatically generate the embed element for you (Here's a quick guide if you want to try adding videos to a Shopify landing page or section).

Background videos

One way to create a more dynamic and immersive experience for online shoppers through content commerce is by adding background videos to your online Shopify store.

Here are a few benefits of incorporating background videos into your content commerce strategy:

  1. Visual storytelling: Videos allow brands to tell their story in a compelling and visually engaging manner. This storytelling aspect can create an emotional connection with the audience, which is more difficult to achieve with static images or text.


  2. Increasing visitor engagement: Dynamic content like videos tends to capture attention more effectively than static content. A well-produced background video can increase the time visitors spend on the site, reducing bounce rates and potentially leading to higher conversion rates.


  3. Enhancing brand image: High-quality, professional videos can boost the perceived value of a brand. They contribute to a more sophisticated and modern site aesthetic, aligning the brand with high standards and quality.

  4. Creating a contextual atmosphere: Videos can set the mood or atmosphere of a website, which can be particularly effective for lifestyle and luxury brands. For example, check out the example below of Surf Style.

background video content commerce surf style

Their background video of waves sets the right beachy vibes that might bring back memories or feelings for their surf/beach-loving customers.

To maximize the effectiveness of background videos in content commerce, it's important to ensure that they are optimized for fast loading, are not intrusive to the user experience, and are aligned with the brand’s message and audience preferences.

Surf Style used Instant Page Builder to achieve this - here's how:

How to add background videos to your Shopify store

background videos content commerce

To add background videos to your site like Surf Style did, simply copy and paste videos directly from your Shopify assets*, and you’re ready to go. The videos will be served from Shopify's CDN for optimal loading speed.

*Any other video URL can be used, but for the best performance, we recommend using videos uploaded to your Shopify Files.*

Understanding the challenges of content commerce

Content Commerce is complex; mastering it requires a varied set of skills and a keen understanding of your target market. Compliance issues can present significant hurdles, but they serve to maintain the integrity of Content Commerce.

Navigating the complexities of content commerce

Understanding and proficiently navigating the complexity of content commerce isn't a walk in the park. Just as predicted, commerce trends are dynamically evolving, and so is the narrative around content. No surprise - new communication channels are emerging, and consumers' behaviors and attitudes are changing.

When adopting content commerce, several variables come into play. What are your business operations? What's your customer persona? What channels do you use to reach out to them?

The "one size fits all" approach just doesn't cut it. Crafting a compelling content strategy requires careful analysis and understanding of your target audience's whims and behaviors. You've got those social media analytics for a reason! The key to success lies in delivering the right content to the right person at the right time.

Ensuring compliance in content commerce

Just when you thought navigating the complexities was a heavy-lifting job, here comes another hurdle - ensuring compliance. In the world of content commerce, regulatory pitfalls abound. Whether it's about abiding by copyright issues, ensuring data privacy, or adhering to ad standards, compliance-related issues can pose a considerable challenge.

However, don't let this intimidate you. Understanding and adhering to the regulations is key to secure and trustworthy content commerce. It's about due diligence and the perseverance to stay updated with the ever-evolving landscape of legal requirements.

Sure, non-compliance penalties can be severe, but on the flip side, compliance builds trust. It showcases your brand as a reliable entity, enhancing your reputation in the crowded marketplace. 

Conclusion

Ignoring content commerce could mean missing out on a significant avenue to eCommerce success. With its clear merits in building brand authority, customer engagement, and driving purchase behaviors - it's a force to be reckoned with.

The power of content commerce is yours to harness, and it starts with integrating substantive, valuable content into your sales strategy.

It's not about selling harder; it's about selling smarter. The magic lies in combining the persuasive power of engaging content with the efficiency of a seamless buying journey. Your customers are waiting.

So, consider this - are you ready to rethink your eCommerce approach and infuse content and commerce for superior customer experiences?

Remember, the market waits for no one. It's high time you start infusing engaging content into your commerce strategy. So, get out there and mark your eCommerce success. 

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Start building now

Explore Instant today to start building high-converting landing pages and sections, no-code required.

Pages

Resources

Company

© Instant