For some shoppers, extensive details about a brand’s sustainability policy or a video on how a product is made can be the tipping point to make a purchase. Retailers share how they invest in this type of content and measure the return on these investments.

If a shopper visits the bottled water brand’s website, she is likely not just browsing for water like she would be browsing for jeans on an apparel site. She is either a previous customer reordering or looking for more information about the brand.

In fact, one in three customers who buy from purchase directly from the homepage, as it has a “buy now” button on its hero image that features its product, says Daniel Kim, ecommerce director at Hawaii Volcanic. But many site visitors have seen the brand in stores or are searching about volcanic water and want to know more about the brand. 

“The website is one channel of how we educate customers,” Kim says. “There is a segment [of shoppers] that really wants to know who they are giving their dollars to.”  

And for those shoppers, has enhanced educational content. Hawaii Volcanic markets itself as a sustainably sourced and responsibly packaged natural alkaline water brand. The homepage gives shoppers snippets about its brand positioning and funnels shoppers to more details by clicking on “Learn More” or “About Us” navigation pages.  

20% of its web traffic clicks on these buttons, and, on average, a visitor spends 2 to 2.5 minutes reading these pages, Kim says. That’s much more time than average for the grocery industry. Online grocery shoppers usually spend 45 seconds or less per page, according to a recent report from digital experience vendor ContentSquare that looked at 20 billion web visits on 900 global websites across 10 industries. 

But rather than time spent reading content or clicking on a button, the real barometer of whether Hawaii Volcanic’s content is engaging shoppers is the conversion rate from those pages, Kim says.  

“11% of our visitors that are on the Learn More or About Us pages will follow through and make a purchase,” he says. That rate is much higher than the site’s average conversion rate, which is about 3.26% and that proves the content is working, he says.  

While Hawaii Volcanic has metrics it uses to ensure that its content efforts are paying off, not all retailers can be so sure. ContentSquare’s report finds that 95% of pageviews in 2020 occurred on 55% of website pages. Put another way: 45% of website pages are unseen by 95% or more of web traffic. Industries in that report include the apparel, automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, grocery and luxury retail sectors. What’s more, only 5% of consumers said blog content about a product or brand was an important feature to delivering a well-designed and functional online experience, according to a Digital Commerce 360/Bizrate Insights Customer Experience survey of 1,000 shoppers in September 2021. 

But that doesn’t mean retailers shouldn’t invest in blogs or other types of brand-enhancing content, as retailers and experts say robust brand and product content is excellent for search engine optimization value and pushes certain shopper segments over the edge to buy. In fact, many online retailers are not meeting shoppers’ expectations in this area. Only 28% of consumers said retailers met their expectations for providing detailed product information sufficient to make a purchase. An even fewer 13% of consumers said retailers met their expectations for providing a quick brand overview, according to the Digital Commerce 360 survey.   

Online shoppers need information to make purchases. But it is not always clear to brands what types of content and how much consumers need. While product photos and reviews are standard across ecommerce, retailers should determine what other types of enhanced content shoppers need to make a purchase and what would be worth investing in, such as blogs, videos, robust search tools or ample information about the brand. Besides new website content, retailers can also try to squeeze more out of their current assets to ensure that all their current features are pulling their weight to convert shoppers.  

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