In Part 2, we take a look at how a major online retailer uses interactive content to sell billions of dollars of merchandise every year. But first, let’s take a look at a typical online shopping excursion.
Buyers don’t always know exactly what it is they want. And, even when they do, they’re usually looking for a good deal. That’s why most online shopping trips start at the search bar on Google.
The Buyer’s Online Journey – Shopping For A Printer
Even if you have a favorite brand of printer, you likely have a number of questions you want an answer to before you buy:
– Should I buy a black and white or a color printer?
– How much am I going to have to spend for a decent quality printer?
– How many pages per minute should a good printer produce?
– Which are the best brands? Does HP still make good printers?
– Is noise still an issue? How do they rate a printer’s level of noise?
– Should I buy a wireless model?
These are typical questions the average buyer wants an answer to before they buy a printer. No one likes finding out the hard way they could have made a better purchase. That’s why buyers do product research and why they put a lot of faith in online product reviews before they hit the add to cart button.
How A Major Retailer Uses Interactive Content
Amazon has been around since 1994 and they sell billions of dollars of merchandise every year. So let’s take a look at how they use interactive content.
If you look at any product page on Amazon you will see that at least one-third of the page is filled with customer reviews and questions and answers. Amazon doesn’t create that content – their buyers do. That’s important because people trust it.
How do they do this? They actively solicit reviews from buyers via email after each purchase. Reviews are rejected if Amazon suspects collusion and they have recently sued thousands for posting fake reviews. That’s how important reviews are to their business model. Amazon also solicits answers to questions in the same way.
Steps In Online Shopping
If you’re like me, you read product descriptions and then you scroll down to the comments and review section. I start with the most recent and most critical reviews and then I take a look at three-star (and less) reviews. As I read reviews, I decide whether they appear to be legit or whether they’re posted by uninformed buyers with unrealistic expectations.
Note that Amazon doesn’t suggest that we do this. We do this on our own. We’re curious and engaged and we want to make an intelligent decision. We like that Amazon doesn’t delete bad reviews.
If we find enough reviews that scare us off that product, we look at an alternative product and start the process all over again, until we find a product we’re willing to buy.
Interactive Content – Conclusion
Comments and reviews are first-generation interactive content that has proven to be very effective. They are a natural extension to the online search people do to learn about a product before they buy. Shoppers now trust reviews more than other sources.
The fact that people put a lot of effort into learning about a product before they buy presents a great opportunity for businesses to attract new clients. That’s why it’s a good idea to answer any questions buyers might have about your products in blog posts on your site. Good content will bring a constant flow of traffic.
Each new blog entry creates a new way to be found online through user search. By writing about topics your customers are searching for, you attract new buyers for your products.
What’s your experience? Do you trust product reviews?