The e-tailing Group: Online Content Critical
Results of a research study commissioned by Chicago-based The e-tailing Group, with sponsorship from Chattanooga, Tenn.-based ARS eCommerce, conclude that merchants must provide comprehensive content to satisfy and convert today's multichannel shoppers.
More than three-quarters (77 percent) of the 650 women and 350 men surveyed in August 2007 said that their interest in buying from a particular merchant is "very to somewhat" influenced by the quality of content (descriptions, copy, images and tools) on a particular Web site.
"Feedback from these consumers, who spend over $500 while shopping online four or more times annually, demonstrates that they are reliant on robust content to research across channels and make confident buying decisions," says Lauren Freedman, president of The e-tailing Group.
Comprehensive content is imperative for cross-channel success, as evidenced by the fact that 66 percent of respondents said they conduct research for products online half the time or more -- regardless of the channel through which their purchases are made (Web, catalog, store).
Topping the list of categories where having detailed product information available is so important that shoppers feel they would be unable to complete purchases without it are clothing and accessories (64 percent), computer hardware and software (52 percent), and consumer electronics (49 percent).
Yet 76 percent of those surveyed reported that content is insufficient to complete research or purchase online "always," "most often" or "some of the time."
Incomplete content also is a factor, as 79 percent of those surveyed said they "rarely or never" purchase a product without complete product information.
Resulting actions for 72 percent of respondents are to abandon the site and go to a competitor or research further online, typically finding what they want elsewhere.
The study also found that the product page should incorporate the best in text, imagery, tools and customer service information, as it is a destination where consumers look for in-depth content.
When purchasing online, 52 percent of shoppers spend six minutes or more on the product page. Allocation of time spent on the product page is devoted to reading text/product copy (43 percent), viewing product images (31 percent) and using tools (26 percent).