Online retailers are going to great lengths to create content that informs, educates, inspires, and entertains their customers. They are producing fantastic articles about how to use their products, in-depth product buying guides and blogs about the experiences you can have with their products. This content is a critical component to creating a superior customer experience, helping retailers attract and retain their customers.
But, this non-product content often gets little more than a link buried in their header or footer pointing to an index of the content. When you think about the journey a customer takes to discover your products and make a purchase decision, looking for a link to “articles” is probably not on the list. So I ask, what good is all this great content if your customers can’t find it?
The key to merchandising your content is to put yourself into your customers shoes. With any piece of content it is important to try to think about all of the places where users might find this information helpful. Think about which stage of the buying process this information belongs. Also think about the actions visitors might take on your retail website to find the products they are looking for, and how to make their search experience a pleasant one.
Since site search is completely dependent on what your customers are looking for, it should provide access to all of your content that is relevant to your customer’s search keywords. Some SLI customers are already including related content insections within the main body of the search results and segmenting the different type of content in tabs within the search results pages.
In the example below from Artbeads.com, a search for “rhinestones” will reveal the top 20 products followed by the top eight learning center articles, eight community results and the top videos.
In another example from Doctors Foster and Smith, a search for “dog grooming” reveals 17 related articles that are accessible by customers who click on the articles tab.
Another great way to merchandise content within your site search is through the use of merchandising banners. Since the banners can include both HTML and images, the possibilities or presenting your content are endless. And, using the Merchandising Console, you can target these banners to very specific keywords for an engaging and personalized experience.
As you consider how to use search to merchandise your content, keep in mind that the way you display your content is completely customizable. In this example from 24 Hour Fitness, a search for “classes” reveals 82 related videos that the user can display as a grid or list.
These examples illustrate just some of the ways you can merchandise your content on your store’s website. If you have examples you would like to share, please do so by adding a comment to this post.