1 July 2014 – A focus on content capabilities is now critical for ecommerce success, according to a new report published today.

The research, published by Econsultancy in partnership with EPiServer, a global software provider for ecommerce, CMS and digital marketing solutions, explores how editorial can be combined with ecommerce in order to create more engaging and successful websites.

Through interviews with leading ecommerce professionals in B2B and B2C organisations, the report explores how leading brands are integrating content into ecommerce journeys, the related challenges they face and what future strategy looks like.

The context of the report was research that has found only 38% of in-house marketers have a defined content marketing strategy, despite 76% saying they are producing significantly more content than they were 12 months ago.

Companies in 2014 are putting more emphasis on how they can produce content that helps drive commerce journeys, according to the ‘Where Content and Commerce Collide’ report. A common challenge is the need to ensure that these journeys are aligned in terms of user experience.

The report is based on interviews with content and ecommerce professionals from companies in the UK, carried out by author James Gurd, an experienced ecommerce consultant.

He said: “Both B2C and B2B ecommerce is more challenging nowadays. Customer expectations are higher, competition is greater, we’re bombarded with marketing messages daily and it’s easy for customers to compare prices and switch allegiance. This report shows that companies appreciate the importance of high-quality content for conversion, but are constrained by lack of resource and scalability.”

David Bowen, Product Manager, EPiServer, said: “When we walk into a high street store we expect a certain level of service, and when certain retailers meet our needs and exceed expectations, that’s what builds brand loyalty.”

He added: “All of us have walked into a shop and bought something because it looked great on the display, or because the assistant was very helpful. The same principle of customer experience applies online, and content is a hugely important factor in that. In using quality content to make the customer experience more satisfying and engaging, you are offering more, and building a better on-going relationship with your customers.”

Today’s focus on content marketing is reflected in all companies interviewed having a dedicated in-house team to deliver content strategy, in most cases working as part of the wider ecommerce department.

The report discusses the trend among ecommerce teams for building out content capabilities in line with customer needs and expectations, while also shaping those expectations by pushing the boundaries and testing different content formats and types.

Other topics covered in the report include:
-) The emerging theme of the growth of editorial on ecommerce sites. Brands have identified the need to engage customers around lifestyle elements such as interest areas, not just sell them products, and content is playing a vital role.
-) The benefits of providing flexibility to local markets, tailoring content to local audiences.
-) The use of external support, usually in the forms of specialist freelancers.
-) The impact of ecommerce and multichannel on content strategies.
-) Key performance indicators (KPIs), the results associated with content marketing, and the challenges that can stand in the way.

Get this report

The full report is available on the Econsultancy website here: http://econsultancy.com/reports/where-content-and-commerce-collide.

The report is available to Econsultancy subscribers, or on a pay-per-view basis.

For more information about this report, contact:

Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director, Econsultancy
linus.gregoriadis AT econsultancy.com
+44 (0) 207 269 1450

About EPiServer

EPiServer connects ecommerce and digital marketing to help business create unique customer experiences which generates business results. EPiServer's platform combines content, e-commerce and multi-channel marketing capabilities to work full-circle for businesses online, from intelligent optimization, lead-generation through to conversion and repeat business.

Sitting at the centre of the digital marketing ecosystem, EPiServer empowers online and IT professionals to create superior customer experience for more than 20,000 websites worldwide. Built on .net, and supported by a pioneering partner network of over 715 partners in over 30 countries, EPiServer's platform gives customers the ability to deliver the right content to the right person in the right format at a time that suits them. This approach means customers can maximize their investment in digital marketing and increase ROI. The company was founded in 1994 and has offices in the United States, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, The Netherlands, South Africa, Australia, Spain, UAE and the United Kingdom.

For more information about EPiServer, visit www.episerver.com.

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Published on: 11:01AM on 1st July 2014