Ecommerce website content, which encompasses all copywriting and visuals, provides the first impression of a brand to any customer. Content is a major deal breaker for an ecommerce website to inspire confidence to shop without the user seeing or sampling the product. 34% of online shoppers in the Philippines reported they were influenced by online content prior to making the purchase.

With its young populations, growing middle class and digital adoption, Southeast Asia is right in the middle of the ecommerce hype. Around 40% of Southeast Asia’s 620 million population have smartphones and 100 million or one in four consumers over the age of 16 have made an online purchase. The region’s middle class is expected to double to 400 million people by 2020.  

As a result, global brands are looking to expand their online footprint in the region. So how can ecommerce sites in the region ensure returning traffic and ultimately convert their visitors?

To create engaging content, an ecommerce site in Southeast Asia should include these features:

beautyiq-content-types

Transactional content means that product images, collections, and reviews should be enticing and lure customers to make the purchase without seeing the product in real life.

Discovery content, also known as editorial, is the content that does not have a strong sales message, but is useful or enjoyable to the user. Discovery content is not new in the online world, but brands that are able to blend both transactional and discovery content seamlessly will find themselves ahead of the curve.

Localized content means that content is not just translated, but together with visuals it is adjusted to cultural preferences of the target customers.

The first of beautyIQ series will cover tips for making good transactional and discovery content, while the importance of the localization will be featured in the next article later this week.

eIQ’s Take on Thailand’s Beauty Ecommerce

eIQ has taken a deep dive into the ecommerce maturity of beauty brands in Thailand. Worth over $7.2 billion, the beauty industry in Thailand is highly attractive for brands overseas, especially due to high demand for global beauty products in the local markets.

eIQ combed through global brands who have their own brand.com websites such as MAC and L’Occitane, and also brands who sell their products on ecommerce marketplaces. This series will provide insight on various topics to show how these beauty brands successfully approach the tricky market that is Southeast Asia and how they could further tailor their transactional and discovery content for consumers in the region. Here are the top three content must haves:

1. Invest Big in Visuals

75% of customers cite quality of images as the most important feature when viewing products in online stores. Without being able to touch and feel the product, customers can only rely on images to make their decision so it is extremely critical to show them an accurate color tone  and provide the option to zoom. This also ensures they do not get a disappointing surprise when they receive the product – ending up in a negative review of your brand. For that reason, high resolution images is quite obviously a must.

Unlike fashion, beauty has the challenge of selling a product that looks virtually the same no matter what angle it is photographed at. As a result, eIQ found that the majority of the brands limited their product display to a zoom functionality of the container. This is not considered helpful in the customer journey when deciding whether to make the purchase of let’s say, a lipstick.

How can a brand show a product’s texture or color palette other than simply contrasting the desired tone against a white (or black) background?

South Korean cosmetics brand Innisfree is a trailblazer in this area and can provide some ideas even to major global brands. Its online store provides high resolution product images in multiple angles – from top, from side, with packaging or flat on the table. All products have zoom option and are photographed in an environment that feels like home.

Innisfree also uses real models to showcase the genuine color and texture of the products. For example, a customer can compare tones of eyeshadows or see the texture of a cleanser applied on a model’s skin. Whether the brand is selling cosmetics or skin care, the goal is to give shoppers a ‘real life’ perspective.

Innisfree texture

Innisfree uses models to showcase the genuine color and texture of their products giving shoppers a ‘real life’ perspective. Source: Innisfree website

 

Attractive, clean images do not require the best of breed photographers. It is possible to do it yourself using simple Shopify’s at-home tutorial or outsource to a content specialist who excels in digital production such as Channelsquid CMS.

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Channelsquid CMS offers companies to outsource creation of visuals and content to specialists who excel in digital production. Source: aCommerce website

2. Encourage Customers to Leave Reviews

According to Econsultancy, 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews, and the sales uplift from reviews can be as much as 18%.

Unlike in Western markets, many brands in Thailand omit the funcionality of user reviews on their brand.com webstore. Gain from customer reviews by making them as visible as the product purchase content. L’Occitane local webstore has reviews in Thai language and also incorporates reviews in English from customers overseas providing a broader overview of customer experience. On the Innisfree webstore, customer reviews are easily seen right below the “Add to Bag” button.

L’Occitane user reviews are easily seen on its product description page. Source: L’Occitane Thai website

Customers will not skip Innisfree product reviews that are featured just below the “Add to Bag” button. Source: Innisfree website

However, it is not only about creating the functionality, customers should be actively encouraged to leave reviews. For example, American premium skincare brand Kiehl’s on its Thai webstore enables reviews after the user has made a purchase. Another option is to offer a discount or some other incentive for users to leave a review.

One of the best tools of marketing still is word-of-mouth, therefore allowing your customers to share their favorite products on social media channels by having share buttons will be for your benefit as well.

3. Combine the Shop and Editorial Content

“How-to” make-up tutorials either as blog posts or videos show the brand’s products in action and can nudge viewers anywhere from 64-85% more likely to purchase. Yet often the discovery content is isolated from purchase content. As eIQ observed, in many cases the user is asked to make a choice between entering the site’s magazine/blog or entering the shop.

The best practice is to give the user an option to browse through both blogs and shop. Websites such as Estée Lauder and Bobbi Brown succeed in framing content around certain products in an educational narrative of how-to tips, which also gives the user an option to click on the product and make a purchase.

Beauty brands Bobbi Brown and Estée Lauder offer how-to tips while also giving the user an option to click on the product and make a purchase. Source: Bobbi Brown and Estée Lauder Thai online stores

The blend of editorial and product content also works the other way around – with links to tutorials or blogs included on the product description page.

Another way to offer the user a glimpse into the variety of products is user generated content. Drive traffic and sales to your brand’s webstore by integrating social media, such as Instagram or Facebook,Youtube, posts of local beauty bloggers or make-up artists using the brand’s products.

By using a hashtag or creating a special campaign, your brand can save costs and let the happy user showcase their satisfaction with your product on social media.

Kiehl’s Malaysia Instagram account encourages users to use the hashtags #mykiehls and #UseItRight in order to be featured on their page. The content created by their customers is spread across their other country specific accounts such as Kiehl’s Thailand.

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Kiehl’s Malaysia features on their Instagram account customers who use their products and share pictures with hashtags #mykiehls and #UseItRight. Source: Kiehl’s Malaysia Instagram account

 

Offering discounts is another way to incentivize customers to share their experience. This strategy not only increases audience reach as customers share your brand with their network, but also helps other potential customers. 93% of customers find user generated content helpful when making a purchase decision and it can increase web conversions by up to almost 30%.

Stay tuned for the next article in our eIQ series that will focus on the importance of localization, content adjustments to cater to cultural preferences.

By Anutra Chatikavanij and Aija Krutaine

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