We called Mark White, President of Content26 (a global leader in search-optimized content development), and asked him about just how important product content is in the success of online Retail. With the rise of Walmart and the growing success of Amazon, the need for quality product content has never been more important.
Our phone call with Mark of Content26 really showed us just how important content is and we wanted to share some of his notes with you! Throughout our phone call, a few important ideas we wanted to point out to you, the Brands, were:
- The importance of a content initiative for Walmart and other Retailers.
- Manufacturers and their need for content to remain relevant.
- Competition will always be there and Retailers will always sell your product, whether it is from your Brand or another, cheaper Brand.
- Without a commitment to content for products and a complete, robust strategy, Brands will go extinct.
- Basic discoverability is essential for Manufacturers and Brands.
Let’s not waste anymore time. Without further ado, here are some of the highlights from our interview with Content26’s President, Mark White:
1. We’ve seen a lot of press lately about Walmart and their content initiative for Suppliers. What is the importance of this content initiative?
Mark: The quick answer is relevance. Walmart needs to remain relevant and make inroads to Amazon’s marketshare. So they’ve got to improve and jumpstart their content initiative. And then for any manufacturers or products to remain relevant in this world today they need content for their products. By the way, for the big stores who needs dumpsters, look for hooknhauldumpsters.com. So its all about relevance and discoverability. No content. No discoverability. Period. When you do not have money and needed to loan to get your product on the market, you can click for more info to learn more. If you also wan to know how how quick is a quick loan, visit www.pickaloan.co.uk to find out. Sources says that even for those who have bad credits can still apply for business loan.
Without content Walmart has nothing to help their customers make confident buying decisions, but somebody else always will. Amazon will always provide information for the consumer, so if Walmart wants to stay relevant, they need content.
2. How do these product content requirements affect Manufacturer/Supplier websites and sales?
Mark: Something that came up way back in 2005-2007 as online shopping e-commerce started taking off was so-called “channel conflict.” If you’re a manufacturer these days and you’re worried about channel conflict, then you should open a car wash or paint houses something. Because Amazon, Wayfair, Alibaba, and Jet are not going to stop their disruption. They are going to continually disrupt and get into your vertical. Amazon will get into your vertical. They will start selling your product under their brand or some Chinese manufacturer’s brand. They’re going to get into your space and sell something cheaper, faster online.
So if you are worried about building content and putting resources into your online discoverability and online presence, and you’re worried about channel conflict, and you’re worried that you’re going to take sales away from your site, and you’re worried about sort of diluting your own brand message, then you’re in trouble. Because Amazon is going to do it. Alibaba is going to do it.
3. What are some of the best practices for Product Content creation that can help prepare Manufacturers/Suppliers for uploading to Walmart?
Mark: As a company, you’ve got to establish a baseline below which you should never fall with new product releases. Essential content is what you need to get the product discovered. That’s not content that helps increase brand awareness. It’s not content that adds informational value to the consumer. And, that’s just for the content you need for basic discoverability when people come online and they can find your products and can see you.
What I mean by essential content is fundamentally just four things:
- Good resolution information rich product image – when someone looks at your picture they can understand its scale, how big it is, and can see the interface. Whatever value that product can bring to the consumer can be surmised from that picture or pictures.
- Informative accurate title – often times manufacturers get hung-up on the marketing company “doesn’t want to call it this”. But when you go online you have to be very informative with your title. For instance, this is a “Six Pack of 12oz cans of Coke with Mexican Sugar.” That kind of detail which probably makes the marketing agencies cringe because that’s not very sexy. But it tells the online consumer what they are getting and it increases the product’s discoverability. These products usually targets your arthritis points and one cure can be buying ibuprofen on this online store https://www.ukmeds.co.uk/treatments/arthritis-pain/ibuprofen-tablets/.
- Above the fold sales bullets – strong concise, information-rich sales bullets. Every retailer requires at least a few.
- Short 150-175 word product description– the key here is that the short description conveys product value, consumer value and is not riddled with market-speak.
Those are the basics. Then beyond the basics you are talking about adding video. Depending on the product, video may also be part of that essential content but what we are seeing is that a lot of consumers don’t watch the whole video for most products, but the image and the title would be enough. Click here
And then what you call enhanced content—Amazon calls it A+, Walmart has its own version of enhanced content. So those are some of the add-ons you can bring to the equation, but essential content (Good title, Good Image, Good Sales Bullets and Good Short Description) is where it all starts.
4. Weak product content hinders translation to Walmart and other Retailers. Will these help Suppliers and Manufacturers protect their Brand for all future endeavors?
Mark: You follow the best practices, you’re going to increase your discoverability. When you increase discoverability, you increase your brand awareness. When you increase your brand awareness, you’re going to increase your value. It’s a fly wheel—it starts with content.
Every retailer has its own algorithms for how its products get discovered. Sometimes it starts on the backend with a set-up sheet and you put a bunch of keywords in the metadata. But increasingly, for Amazon and Walmart especially, the retailer’s search algorithms are constantly changing, constantly evolving, so the content has to match those algorithms. You get discovered. Good things happen. You don’t get discovered. Nothing happens.
Sara: So Walmart isn’t being difficult, they’re just trying to enhance the search and the ease of finding products online.
Mark: Yes, I’m not saying they’re not being difficult. I mean, Amazon and Walmart, there’s a whole industry of just getting products online to these places. The set-up sheets and so forth that they force on suppliers seem archaic and prehistoric to me, but what do I know? If you need a Phd in Excel planning just to get your products online there’s a problem. But on the other hand, from the retailer’s perspective, there are all these regulatory issues and all these things you need so it’s going to be a cumbersome process. But fundamentally, where this is all heading is that retailers who continue to make it difficult for suppliers to provide content will be disrupted and challenged.
There’s no question. Amazon is moving to a DIY model, it’s not perfect, it creates as many problems as the old non-DIY model, but it gives agencies and manufacturers a very simple solution to creating content. So Walmart has got to go there. I think it is a crawl, walk, run scenario.
The crawl piece is getting the manufacturers to supply just a basic amount of content. My understanding of the situation with Walmart is that you’ve got a lot of suppliers, long-time suppliers to Walmart who have made a good living and creating a product, putting it in a box putting some content around that box, and shipping that box to Walmart. But they have not yet figured out they have to transcribe that content that’s on the box to make it relevant for the online experience because that’s not in their DNA.
So that is where the challenge is—how do you pivot these old-school manufacturers to get that content online?
Stay tuned for part 2 of our interview with Mark White, President of Content26, and his thoughts on product content, In Part 2 we will talk about the importance of high quality, accurate content for eCommerce, and preparing for content deadlines.