Content Strategy Case Study
Successful Content Strategy Development for a Niche Retailer:
Differentiating from the Big Boxes and Increasing Engagement, Sales and Profit Margins
In a dense and well-established e-commerce marketplace, a regional retailer was having difficulty competing with big-box retailers and catering to its unusually diverse niche customer base, which has an ongoing and enthusiastic thirst for new and unique items but is geographically complex thanks to its local, national and global nature. Even after expanding online business activities to boost sales, they were still butting heads with the highly saturated nature of their marketplace, which will always be dominated by big box retailers. They challenged us to identify and connect with their target customer base and increase the rate of their online growth and total sales figures.
With the retailer's input, we identified the audiences that hold the most significance and promise, then developed a comprehensive communications strategy designed to reach each segment and engage them on an ongoing basis. We also broke this aggregate into geographical categories, from local to international, to create an efficient way to notify the right customers at the right time (and insure locals get notice of all programs and performances on a timely basis).
To engage specific audiences, we generated segment-specific, high-level SEO-optimized content that covers trending industry topics, offers specific product information that goes beyond what is typically featured on an ecommerce site and provides programming notice for locals. Effective content should seamlessly reach its target, so by considering and catering to all audience segments we were able to create individual communication channels based on users specific interests and product preferences. To do this, employees were given SEO guidance and taught to use high-volume search phrases to become content creators and build a compelling, uniquely targeted content library including text and video reviews, industry news and online lessons. They were also trained to reflect core company values in all communications to heighten the brand’s personalized, family-fell customer experience, and assigned to various social media functions. Some maintained a 12-hour live chat and click-to-call feature on the main website; others supported the retailer’s Facebook page that was transformed into a content-heavy authoritative Q&A resource tool for customers; and a small core of key employees were designated ‘tweeters’ for a news-heavy corporate Twitter account.
At the same time, the retailer's primary online channel--their main website-- was rebranded with a new site domain and company name to emphasize their expertise, and redesigned to be edgy and appealing to niche customers by focusing on high margin products. Also, a separate sales channel was created to accommodate fast searches for hard-to-find products. To reach all customers, social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter, were remodeled to reflect the website redesign while also serving as main resource channels.
Last but not least, a dedicated blog was created to exclusively target regional customers to apprise them of local programs and events, which invariably boosted both instore and online sales. And for international customers, an online checkout feature with multiple currencies was included with every product for seamless check-out.
Designed to highlight the company’s strengths, the retailers new communications strategy builds on a fundamental platform that serves to differentiate them from their core online competitors, yet still retain and engage a large and loyal following. Generating content in core areas that highlights their high-level of expertise in product knowledge and solutions, specialty in hard-to-find products and authenticity as a family-owned business that still serves a local community were all key to accomplishing this goal. By re-targeting existing web properties and content, the company now directly connects with online and offline customers in a more efficient and effective way, thus increasing their search engine results and click-rate. And as a result of focus group findings, harder-to-find products are located more ease and speed, and customers are now 40 percent more likely to purchase products than previously.
Today, not only are customers finding the products they want--a 45 percent increase in customer trust and reduced inclination to 'cross-shop' proves the company is fostering satisfaction-based customer loyalty. Our work for this company clearly reflects that regardless of its density and competitiveness, the niche player’s ecommerce marketplace has clear opportunities where regional brick-and-mortar businesses can compete with big-box retailers and global sources.