Riding the Waves

July 11, 2019 Claranet Limited

Selling the dream has always been an important part of retail. So, it’s no surprise that great quality web content has become a vital way for retailers to improve the customer experience, tell their brand story, and build loyalty.

Clothing and footwear brands have mastered this art in recent years, becoming broadcasters and style advisors in many cases, with websites that also function as community and information hubs. From rich product pages to long-form articles and video, we’ve seen retailers truly making content king to meet their shoppers’ needs.

Specialised and long-form content
Take Seasalt for example. The successful Cornwall-based women’s clothing and footwear retailer knows its customers are interested in textile design, the brand’s Cornish roots, and environmental issues.

Its website has a content section called Seasalt Life which is bursting with interesting items featuring coverage of volunteering work the company is involved in, videos of fashion photoshoots, the work of Cornish artists, and Cornish places of interest. As this long-form content shows, it helps to have a strong brand story and values that chime with the core audience across all customer touchpoints.

"Basket abandonment is a big issue, but this is where exceptional web content comes into its own."

Sharing is caring
In addition to their website, the Seasalt social media channels broadcast these articles, images, and videos to reach a wide and growing community. It’s paying dividends as well. There are currently 95k Facebook followers for the brand, 14k Twitter followers and nearly 47k Instagram followers. Interest in the product and the brand is cleverly built out from the original content, driving brand awareness and stimulating both online and offline sales.

Perfecting product pages
One of the big issues for online fashion retailers is basket abandonment. But this is where exceptional web content comes into its own. That’s why e-commerce retailers have started to provide more information on the product page that can help consumers make purchase decisions.

From detailed descriptions of skirts and sandals, to multiple photos and videos of how waterproof jackets are made, for instance, Seasalt has invested in quality, engaging product content. Most importantly all this extra information assists and encourages the purchase.

And like Next, John Lewis and many other clothing retailers, Seasalt has opted to provide customer product reviews and ratings, giving shoppers more insights into how items look and feel, before they hit the buy button.

"The quality, tailored experience in all channels is paying off in sales and profit growth."

The story continues in-store
New types of digital content are developed in response to customers’ needs. For Seasalt’s valued customers there’s content on the website that will provide Mother’s Day gifting ideas, help customers prepare for rainy walks, and answer questions about product sizing and store locations – thanks to an online live chat service.

It all goes to show how Seasalt is looking at the customer journey across its entire business. The company is constantly trying new ways to improve the engagement and usability of its website, as well as opening stores and hiring teams that reflect the same brand story and helpful company values.

With information on sales and customer buying patterns from the website and stores, it’s possible for head office teams to optimise its product range for different types of stores – so city shops tend to have different ranges compared to the more traditional seaside locations.

Surging ahead
Seasalt is riding the retail waves by offering a quality, tailored experience in all channels, and this is paying off in sales and profit growth. The company recorded a surge in sales during its last key trading period, with both its online and in-store divisions performing well. Online sales climbed by 39% and in-store sales went up by 31%.  

The company’s strategy to hold off from early discounting during these sales periods is paying off as well. It seems that for customers who care about a particular brand and the story it has to tell, price is not the main concern.  

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