Wednesday, March 05, 2008

e-commerce sites: more, related content is better

The March Harvard Business Review has a must-read article for anyone who sells via a web site ("In E-Commerce, More Is More" - free link). The authors, Andreas Eisingerich of the Tanaka Business School and Tobias Kretschmer of the Munich School of Management, studied e-commerce sites, their users and owners.

According to Eisingerich and Kretschmer, uncluttered sites, personalized shopping recommendations and clear, relevant product information are no longer differentiators. The most successful e-commerce sites now offer, in addition to merchandise, broad content that connects with their audiences.

These sites (examples include Porsche and Ralph Lauren) surround their products with lifestyle information that brings their audience back again and again. While only a quarter of the sites surveyed used this technique, the best-performing companies owned them. Users also had the highest likelihood of revisiting the site.

Ralph Lauren's site includes RL Quarterly, a magazine with travel, sports and leisure profiles that appeal to Ralph Lauren customers and reinforce the sporty, elegant image of the clothes. Ralph Lauren ads appear throughout, and the top of each page is a menu for different categories of merchandise. The store is never more than one click away.

It seems a small step beyond this to add the ability to interact with like-minded people. Now that could be a sticky site indeed.

(Photo: a picture of Little Palm Island, Florida, from RL Magazine)

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3 comments:

Anthony said...

I am finding it difficult to continuously write new and exciting content for my site. I have considered press releases. Thought?

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