Shop.org just wrapped up and it’s becoming one of my favorite events to attend. Why? There are several reasons I make time for this event every year: First, it’s short and sweet. I love the 2-day format! It lets people carry the momentum, learning, and energy from the conference back to their own companies right away. Second, it’s full of great content. NRF does a great job of finding fresh insights and ideas on perennial topics. This year in particular, many of the speakers shared real breakthroughs. They’re turning visions into practical realities through new innovative solutions. Here are just a few of the key takeaways and lessons I learned while attending the event this year:
The Product Grid is Passé… and Other Content Strategy Tips for Retailers
Content marketing is making a comeback in the online retail space! However, creating engaging and branded content — especially shoppable content — remains difficult for marketing and ecommerce teams. Richard Chapman, senior content development manager at Lowe’s Home Improvement, stressed that retailers need to start with a definitive content strategy. They need to avoid the “sea of sameness” and, in this vein, shouldn’t rely on vendors for great content. The more engaging your content — think multiple images, 360 spin views, etc — the better! User-generated content, or UGC, was also a hot topic — why not capitalize on those brand evangelists! Meghan Litchfield, head of global ecommerce at GoPro, described how they use UGC and real customer stories to feed their content engine. She also echoed Lowe’s by calling for retailers to move away from the grid to truly “win with content.” #WinningWithContent #Shoporg15 One of my favorite talks was Mike George, president and CEO of QVC, sharing strategies for feeding the content beast. As an $8B retailer that changes inventory daily, their content strategy needs to be particularly adaptive and dynamic. They think mobile first and connect with consumers across devices to influence buying decisions wherever the buyer may be. #NextGenRetail #shoporg15 Like GoPro, Mark emphasized how content needs to inspire and surprise the consumer to result in the impulse to buy. Page load times are key for conversion & bounce rates. He suggested that retailers think of webpage loading like a film-strip instead of a magazine. Not everything has to load at once...but what loads first must be fast. Key takeaway? Consistently branded, regularly created content that inspires and engages will ultimately translate to revenue.
Magic Moments Translate to Omnichannel Sales
Fanatics CEO Doug Mack spoke about the power of split-second merchandising and how brands can take advantage of current events. Fans want to feel like they’re a part of the action: they flock to social media to celebrate, cry, or even rant. Agile companies that take advantage of events in real-time with relevant, engaging mobile content see a spike in sales across all channels. Retailers heard this Shop.org takeaway loud and clear: engaging digital “micro-moments” translate to sales both online and in the store. Just think about how many jerseys retailers must’ve sold after Malcolm Butler’s epic Super Bowl interception last year. But online engagement strategy, especially on social, has to be done right. There’s a balance between putting your brand out there and inserting your brand where it doesn’t belong. We’re no strangers to brand “social media fails” and the potentially vicious feedback companies can incur! It’s so important to regularly evaluate whether your online content strategy is helping or hurting sales. #NextGenFanatics #Shoporg15
Attention Spans are Getting Shorter
One overarching message is that attention spans are getting shorter. A great customer experience stands out, but it also takes the speed of content delivery into account. There’s a balance between quantity and quality, between speed and functionality. In many cases, 2 seconds is all you get before people start abandoning and our attention spans are now officially less then that of a goldfish. Learn more about how to master attention-based marketing.
An Energizing Conference for Retailing in 2016
It’s so important to attend these industry conferences to keep up on retailing best practices and new techniques for customer engagement. 2015 has been a big year for ecommerce and digital marketing and I’m sure 2016 will be no different. We’re energized for the upcoming holiday season and looking forward to next year’s Shop.org conference. See you next year in Dallas for some BBQ!