Retail content that wins the race

by Anna Fozzard

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The ‘summer of love’ is warming up sales for retailers. Here’s how great retail content can lead you to victory in 2021 and beyond.
Summer 2021 is an exciting time to be a retailer. Many consumers (28% in the UK) have found their purses heavier than usual after a year of confinement. And while the Bank of England says that many are keen to hold onto their new-found savings or invest them, some are looking to spend them in spectacular style.
Already, reinvigorated confidence is playing out in the retail sector. In April, sales volumes increased 9.2% month on month, which was twice the average. Fashion saw a big lift, with sales jumping up by 70% in April as people dolled themselves up for outings at the pub, restaurants and their friends’ living rooms.
Predictions are that the UK will enjoy a ‘summer of love’ – a reactivation of revelry in 2021 – which is a unique opportunity for retailers to come back better. To seize the moment and build on their pandemic learnings, retailers need to redouble efforts to offer a seamless omnichannel experience. Here are the opportunities for retail content we see in the three key strategies of omnichannel highlighted by McKinsey.

Commerce – bridge the gap between instore and online

The pandemic has accelerated the trend towards online shopping, but brands still need to do both in-store and online very well. The experience should be easy and engaging for every consumer no matter which way they prefer to shop. There’s an opportunity to use retail copywriting to elevate what you have to offer.
Product descriptions can help elevate products online. By focusing on details that the image cannot convey – like the material and performance features you would use it to help people find out what they would usually discover in-store. The same goes for product labels. They can highlight the information you can’t get from seeing it alone. You can also illustrate how customers can receive their products and explain straightforward returning methods to establish purchasing ease. Spelling out the options empowers your audience and makes them feel in control.
Many retailers use apps and loyalty programmes to make consumers feel engaged. Again, your instructions should focus on ease, but you can also add inspiring content to help them make the most of the programme and feel that signing up has delivered rewards.

Personalisation – keeping retail content relevant

With many retailers upping their personalisation game, it’s easier than ever for a consumer to spot targeting gone wrong. Nobody wants to be mistakenly targeted with adverts for hair loss remedies or anti-chafing cream.
Use your content wisely, and you can strike the right balance. One way to do this is to personalise your messaging through back-in-stock reminders and event invites for products and themes based on their shopping habits. You might have noticed that some brands are now adding customer photos to the selection – brands like Dunelm, Monki and – which helps to get on the same level as your audience and resonate more authentically. Adding these pictures at the shopping basket stage or in the order confirmation can encourage customers to like their choices even more. Even simple wording here, such as ‘good choice’ and ‘see how others got the look’, can instantly add that personalised touch.
Personalisation is also integral to helping consumers switch between different channels. If they like a product on social media, they don’t want to spend ages searching for it on your website. Content plays an important role in making the purchasing/exploration journey easy to follow with simple instructions that emphasise where to find products and how to find out more.

Ecosystem – creating a rich retail experience

Online retail is challenging the shopping experience to work harder, and those retailers that uplift the enjoyment of shopping stand to win. By moving beyond the user’s shopping habits and instead tapping into the customer’s changing needs, you can create a journey that focuses more on lifestyle than products.
With this kind of experience, customers can select offers, products and information based on how they feel and what they are doing. Customers can also become part of a community. For example, an eco-gardening brand could bring together other like-minded gardeners with events, meet-ups and content that uses customer’s own stories.
This strategy requires a rich pool of content, which needs to reflect your brand, purpose, audience, and key trends. Creating this kind of content experience will help progress your offering from ‘retailer’ to ‘thought leader’, which will start to turn you into a halo brand in the fiercely competitive retail world.

Our own experience

We’ve helped many retail clients to hone their offering and stand out in this competitive space. Whether you need an extra helping hand to turn around a raft of insightful product descriptors or want to rethink the content on your journey, speak to us.

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