In a digitally-dominated marketplace where consumer habits rapidly evolve, understanding how to cultivate trust through product content is paramount for brands. To address this, 1WorldSync held a webinar on November 16, 2023, spotlighting the anticipated product content trends for 2024. Colgate-Palmolive’s Global Digital Commerce Senior Director Todd Hassenfelt joined 1WorldSync product content experts TJ Waldorf (Chief Marketing Officer) and Randy Mercer (Chief Product Officer), and offered a wealth of knowledge; drawing on data from the 2023 Consumer Product Content Benchmark report.
Below is a detailed recap of the event. You can also watch the recording here.
The session kicked off with a critical observation: the vast majority of consumers engage in extensive online research before making purchasing decisions. This consumer behavior trend reinforces the need for reliable product content. Brands face the challenge of not only being present across various channels but also ensuring that their content is compelling and credible enough to build consumer trust swiftly.
Drawing from the Consumer Product Content Benchmark Report, Todd, TJ and Randy discussed five major trends brands and retailers should be on the lookout for in 2024. They are detailed below.
As the first of the five trends discussed, presenters noted the acceleration of omnichannel shopping behaviors. Data suggests a continued increase in the number of shoppers who use multiple channels for product research, with a significant number using their smartphones even while physically in-store. The conversation centered on making product content not only visible but also compelling across all touchpoints. The key takeaway was that consistent, detailed and truthful product content substantially impacts purchase decisions.
With nearly half of all pre-store visit research being conducted through search engines, the webinar’s second trend highlighted the essential role of SEO. The data underscored the relevance of SEO not just for online purchases but for driving foot traffic to physical stores as well. The presenters reminded attendees of the significant journey a consumer takes before reaching the point of purchase.
“When you spend on social, tv, etc., you’re most likely driving views to your PDP. If your PDP isn’t optimized, you’re wasting those dollars.” – Todd Hassenfelt, Colgate-Palmolive Global Digital Commerce Senior Director
Trend three emphasized the growing significance of user-generated content, particularly reviews. The stats were telling: a considerable fraction of shoppers hesitate to purchase products with fewer than five reviews, and negative reviews can significantly deter potential buyers. The session stressed the importance of a robust review process and the credibility that verified reviews and user-submitted images provide in building consumer trust. Also emphasized was the timeliness of highlighted reviews on the PDP.
“Quality is important, quantity is important, but so is recency.” – TJ Waldorf, 1WorldSync Chief Marketing Officer
“In the past the reviews available on Amazon that people could see were the ‘most helpful’ but some of these could have been 6-7 years old. Now, it’s the most recent reviews that people are seeing,” shared Todd. “Consumers are seeing what the buying experience is like in as close to real-time as possible.”
Shoppers have shown an increased comfort level with purchasing online in categories traditionally dominated by in-store sales. The fourth trend underscored the necessity for product content to match consumer expectations to foster trust. With a noticeable shift of purchases to major e-commerce sites and away from auction platforms, the data indicated a consumer preference for the reliability and content accuracy of established retailers. Nevertheless, the presenters noted that this trust could be quickly undermined if the returns process is not smooth, underscoring the need for clear and honest product descriptions.
The final trend acknowledged that while AI is a topic of interest and speculation within the industry, it hasn’t yet become a major factor in the shopping journey. The presenters questioned how AI could potentially influence the shopping experience differently than other technologies, such as those used in the Metaverse, where shopping is still not commonplace. Todd noted that it’s possible consumers aren’t aware of the ways in which AI is involved in their shopping journey as some of the tools are seamlessly integrated. Randy discussed a new beta capability 1WorldSync is testing that deploys AI to draft product descriptions that rank high for keywords.
Finally, Todd, TJ and Randy shared tips on how to best audit your product content. Todd described how the below image can be used as a checklist for your organization. These buying drivers and blockers show consumer behavior and can help brands prioritize PDP features.
“The top three here are absolutely table stakes for the consumers. You’re not going to tackle all these things overnight, but start with the ones that have the most impact for consumers and you’re going to solve a lot of problems,” advised Randy.
Todd, TJ and Randy wrapped up the session with an informative Q&A session. Watch the full recording of the webinar here to hear all the insights.
The webinar was not just a presentation of data; it was a call to action for brands to be more strategic in their content delivery. The webinar provided a roadmap for brands seeking to navigate the evolving landscape of consumer preferences.
For those who missed the opportunity to attend or are seeking additional information, the benchmark report serves as a vital resource, offering detailed insights that could be instrumental in shaping a successful content strategy. As brands look to the future, the importance of consumer trust, facilitated by authentic and strategic product content, remains clear. The lessons from the 1WorldSync webinar are a call to action for all brands aiming to thrive in a competitive digital ecosystem.