Skip to main content

Tech Guest Viewpoint: E-commerce Content: Emerging Trends


The e-commerce industry has historically lacked significant data on the nuances of content and how retailers are tackling it. We’ve been asked time and time again pertinent questions on content: How are retailers prioritizing content? What types of content and how much are retailers producing on average? How often are retailers generating content and what type? This type of data enables retailers to benchmark against their peers and understand where they rank. We scoured recent industry research looking for data and came up empty-handed. So, we decided to launch our own survey.

Numerous retailers, including Williams Sonoma, Desigual, New Balance and QVC, responded to offer their perspectives. We focused our questions on first defining the types of content, then where content ranks strategically for the retailer and how they plan to leverage the content.

We found three major takeaways:

1. Rich, interactive content is a priority for most retailers.

We started by asking retailers what type of content they currently have on their websites versus what type of content they ideally want to produce. Surprisingly, only 9.4% actually have rich, shoppable content. This means that more than 90% of surveyed retailers do not have commerce-enabled content. Making the stats more concerning, 27% are limited to just static lifestyle imagery.

But when asked what sort of content retailers want on their sites, 53% answered “shoppable content.” This dissonance between these statistics is clear: Without the current barriers, retailers would have rich, shoppable content on their websites.

2. Retailers lack resources to produce more content.

Despite 81% of retailers ranking content in the top five strategic initiatives, most retailers cannot deliver the level of interactivity that they want. Our results point to the usual suspects — time and money. Of the retailers surveyed, 36% responded that it was simply too technically challenging to create shoppable content. Many retailers have to hand-code any embedded commerce functionality, and the workflow between creative and development can be time intensive.

When asked how long it takes to get rich content online, 67% said that it takes a week or more, while 19% reported it takes more than three weeks to create and publish rich content! When the production process is that drawn out, it’s not surprising that retailers are not creating high volumes of content.

3. Shoppable content is a game-changing ecommerce trend.

Retailers acknowledge the importance of shoppable content, with 92% of respondents saying that content increases conversions. Given their hurdles in producing this rich content to generate conversions, 47% of retailers are prioritizing technology that enables them to make content more interactive and shoppable.

United Kingdom retailer Marks & Spencer recently showcased the power of shoppable content on their site. After implementing quick views on their annual vacation digital campaign, the results were staggering. Compared to the year before, engagement increased by 90%. Average order value increased by 50%. And revenue increased by 100%. The simple act of making their beautiful lifestyle imagery commerce-enabled made a world of difference to their metrics.

Neiman Marcus experienced a similar lift. Adding shoppability to their lookbooks increased their click-through rate by 10% prompting VP of Webstores Peggy Trowbridge to note, “It was a clear miss for us to not enable the customer to shop the lookbooks… [it] was a functional gap.”

As retailers strive to create impactful digital content, many are running up against technology and resource constraints. It comes as no surprise that in the retailer’s quest for engaging experiences, they are looking for tools that give control to the business or creative user. They want to be able to reduce time to market and quickly respond to trends. This year, retailers are demanding more content, and they are betting on technology to help them create it.

Brian Rigney, CEO ofZmags, has over twenty years’ experience leading high performing, entrepreneurial teams in launching new businesses and bringing innovative new products to market.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds