Omnichannel shopping puts more power in the hands of consumers, providing endless options for researching and purchasing products. But with great power comes great responsibility for brands to establish trust and loyalty across each touchpoint in the customer journey.
How can brands build a foundation of trust? 1WorldSync’s 2023 Consumer Product Content Benchmark Report reveals that the answer lies in product content. Whether comparing prices, reading reviews or seeking detailed product information, consumers increasingly rely on digital product content to help them make purchase decisions, regardless of where they shop.
Customers prioritize product research
Consumers build trust with a brand by researching it extensively online. Over 95% of shoppers research multiple items before making a significant purchase, evaluating two to five products on average. This level of due diligence underscores the importance of product content orchestration.
An overwhelming 84% of shoppers value product content over brand recognition when shopping online. Pricing is the only factor that outweighs product content in driving purchase decisions.
Additional drivers include reviews, family and friend recommendations and social goals. And influencing recommendations landed at the bottom of the list. Despite the overwhelming presence of influencers on social media, a mere 40% of consumers report acting on an influencer’s recommendation in the last 12 months.
The information customers search for
Only brands with quality PDPs will stand out to customers and differentiate themselves from competitors. Imagine a shopper looking for a new winter coat. A friend recommends a particular brand, so this person navigates online to that brand’s website. This potential customer has many questions, and if the brand doesn’t provide enough product information, like fabric material, care instructions and temperature rating, it could lose the sale to a competitor.
To inspire confidence and purchases, PDPs must include:
Accurate, compelling product descriptions
Over half of customers primarily search for detailed product descriptions when researching products on their smartphones. Customers want to read creative, concise copy that delivers essential information about a brand and its products. Brands should highlight unique specifications and features using bulleted lists and straightforward language. When they have a clear understanding of a product’s qualities and benefits, customers can make confident purchasing decisions.
The success of digital sales hinges on the accurate representation of products on-screen. A PDP lacking essential photos reduces the likelihood of consumer purchases. To enhance the online shopping experience, a PDP should include three key types of photography:
- Hero imagery spotlighting key attributes like size, quantity and differentiation points.
- Lifestyle photos enabling customers to envision using the product.
- Scale shots giving customers a sense of a product’s size.
These above-the-fold (or, more aptly named, above-the-scroll) images effectively inform, engage and convert potential customers.
A PDP also allows brands to showcase their products with rich content below the fold. Rich content encompasses a diverse range of media that tells a product’s story, including:
- 360-degree spin photography displaying every product angle dynamically.
- Hot spot imagery highlighting significant product features within one interactive photo.
- Videos showcasing assembly, usage and product intricacies.
- Augmented reality(AR) helping shoppers visualize how they might use a product.
AR has especially seen a surge in popularity. More than a third of consumers deploy AR tools during mobile shopping to virtually try on clothing or “see” how furniture might look in their living spaces, and 57% rely on AR to help visualize product dimensions.
Ample customer reviews
Two-thirds of online shoppers report that customer reviews significantly influence a purchase decision. Reviews serve as social proof, providing real-world experiences and perspectives from fellow consumers. By showcasing authentic voices, reviews humanize the brand behind a product and instill confidence in potential buyers.
The number of reviews matters. Nearly 40% of shoppers will not buy a product with fewer than five customer reviews. Brands should actively encourage customers to leave reviews on PDPs, fostering a platform for both new and returning customers to gain insights from others’ experiences.
Providing easy access to product info
Consumers view PDPs before and during in-store shopping trips. Nearly 90% of shoppers use their smartphones to research products while shopping in-store.
Brands must provide easy access to product information for shoppers starting their journey in-store. One solution? Placing 2D barcodes (commonly called QR codes) on product packaging linking to dynamic PDPs with everything from AR to ratings and reviews.
QR codes hold a lot of data, influencing conversions in ways universal product codes (UPCs) can’t. In fact, the global supply chain is moving toward 2D barcodes. The GS1 US Sunrise 2027 initiative laid out a plan to ensure that any retail POS can scan and process 2D barcodes by the end of 2027.
Maintaining trust by reducing returns
Broken customer trust often results from product returns and leads to churn. Almost half of consumers will stop shopping from a brand after making two to three returns, with more than half of shoppers citing misleading or poor product content as the reason fueling their returns.
Because shoppers purchase items online without the opportunity to handle them in person, inaccurate product information leads to higher return rates. Brands must deliver consistent and impactful product content across all channels and keep descriptions, photos and rich media updated. With quality product content, shoppers can feel confident they’ll buy the right product the first time.
The Consumer Product Content Benchmark Report emphasizes the digital influence on consumer purchasing decisions, including increased reliance on online research, both at home and in-store. Brands must recognize product content’s important and necessary role in building consumer trust and loyalty.