E-commerce 2022: the well-stocked self – by BNG’s Oliwier Koziol

An informative and individualised approach to e-retail content can pay dividends, writes BNG’s head of e-commerce, Oliwier Koziol

E-content adaptation is often a secondary priority, even for brands that understand the significance of e-commerce in the post-pandemic reality. It is not enough to leverage the marketing content and the campaign slogan and hope the message will be clear for the end consumer. It is important to implement a data-driven approach to e-content as it is a key factor in helping brands establish a closer relationship with their target audience and increase sales by leveraging their consumers’ willingness to do the research.

Customisation for customers and brands

Customers often research products online. They want to make an informed purchase and your e-content can make or break their decision. Not only that, but the customer is giving us the opportunity to guide them through the purchase process.

So, what information is actually important for them? Well, that depends on your product. Do your due diligence – gather the data, use the insights and guide your customer to the product that suits their needs best. Ensure that the product content is adapted not just to regional needs but also to individual ones.

This consumer-centric approach on e-platforms is on the rise, and some have already understood the value of a guided and localised approach online. In the UAE, e-commerce sales reached $4.8bn in 2021, nearly doubling the 2019 result of $2.6bn, according to the Dubai Chamber of Commerce.

For international brands, global guidelines should be adhered to but localised for the regional needs to include Arabic copywriting and design adjustments to fit the flow of reading Arabic (right-to-left). A similar approach is also provided to regional and local brands to ensure maximum customisation within the e-retail space so that information being presented leads consumers to an informed purchase.

Data-driven content

We’ve said before that no marketing decision should be made without proper data analysis of your target group. As our post-pandemic customers have shifted ever more towards an online shopping experience, the need for clear information on e-retailer platforms is continuing to grow. Across the MENA region, shoppers report doing research online, even if their ultimate path to purchase was through a brick-and-mortar store. In 2021, 85 per cent of consumers in UAE and 80 per cent in KSA reported they use mobile devices to research the products they intend to purchase, according to Go-Globe. Where e-content strategy excels is when consumers feel they have enough information right from the e-retailer to click the Buy Now button.

Having a consumer-centric strategy on content will help elevate the experience on the platform and increase traction, leading to a greater chance of generated sales.

Digital shelf management (e-merchandising)

Regardless of the brand, brands need the support of a specialised e-merchandising team to help them keep their products in check and ask the right questions. Is the product listed? Does it have the proper images? Correct information? Is the enhanced content page showing? And is it going to stay live or (due to fickleness of e-retailer platforms) vanish in a couple of days? These are among the questions of the newfound e-merchandising challenge brands are faced with when attempting to market online.

Some e-retailers are more advanced than others in the content that can be displayed – product images, titles, bullet points, descriptions or enhanced content. Navigating through the plethora of specifications is a challenge.

Digital shelf tracking and optimising

E-retailer platforms such as Instashop and El Grocer in the UAE, and Hunger Station and Nana in KSA, are open to sharing data, along with Amazon Brand Analytics. These aggregators of data provide a variety of useful sales and consumer shopping behaviour insights, but they require the right talents to gauge actionable insights.

Tools such as Edge, Profitero and Brand New Galaxy’s proprietary Synthrone act as digital shelf trackers, providing ongoing analysis of your e-portfolio’s health status. Real-time data tracking allows for a speedier reaction to any given circumstance on the digital shelf. Am I running a campaign on products that are out of stock? Are my best-sellers properly stocked? Are my prices competitive? Am I winning the buy-box?

Once we have the right insight, we follow with the optimisation. Rinse and repeat.