For smaller brands in Southeast Asia dipping their toes in ecommerce for the first time, it’s usually easiest to start selling on an online marketplace such as Lazada, Wemall or MatahariMall before fully investing in a brand store. Being on multiple marketplaces can help new brands build brand awareness without having to stretch small budgets.
Smaller merchants often lack the in-house capabilities or industry know-how to successfully drive an ecommerce website of their own and a marketplace gives a young brand increased visibility that will eventually turn into conversions.
However, it can become difficult to manage a presence in a marketplace because each comes with its own set of regulations and restrictions. There is limited space in a ‘shop in shop’ for a brand to sell itself, which is why it’s vital that all product content is optimized to attract the interest of a browser. How?
Product content refers to product descriptions, size and quality of visuals, user generated content all the way to customer reviews. These components drive the user further down the shopping journey. Research conducted by Shotfarm shows that poor product content can harm your brand, majority of shoppers abandon their online shopping carts because the product isn’t what it appears to be, which is due to inaccurate or missing product images (26%) and product content (30%).
Charles Gourlaouen, General Manager of Channel Management at aCommerce, Southeast Asia’s leading ecommerce service provider, shares insights for helping brands compete with other merchants on leading marketplaces in the region.
The three product content staples:
1. Creating strong product descriptions (titles, content, benefits)
From Fig.1, brands can see the ‘checklist’ on what marketplaces recommend to include when posting an item for sale. Often overlooked, it is crucial to include details such as shipping time, supplier name and warranty to legitimize the brand and give the potential customer a degree of trust.
Instead of simply describing the product, let’s say a phone, by color and size, include the product’s key functions such as the dual LED flash and having a fingerprint identification sensor. These details can make a product more valuable to a potential customer and differentiates it from the countless similar items that are also being sold on the marketplace. If a shopper needs to leave the page to search for more information, you are adding an additional step before purchase.
According to insights from Lazada, improving the product quality score—Lazada’s big data algorithm output that determines how high a product should rank on Lazada—would drive almost an immediate 3 to 5% increase of the conversion rate in Southeast Asian countries. The components of product quality includes content (title quality & richness of content), reviews and performance (click through rate & browsing time etc.)
How to create an effective title
Different categories have formulas that work best, depending on what kind of product they are. For example, laptop titles should be written as:
Brand + Model Number + PC Type + (Processor speed + MB of RAM + Hard Drive Size+ Optical Drive), but for cutlery, it should be written as Brand + Line + Size+ Product Type.
Below are examples of both:
- Sony VAIO PCG-FRV25 Notebook (2.66-GHz Pentium 4, 512 MB RAM, 40 GB Hard Drive, DVD/CD-RW Drive)
- Calphalon Professional Hard-Anodized 8-1/2-Quart Saucier with Lid
Use bullet points
Bullet points simplify your information, breaks it down effectively, and doesn’t make a potential customer have to reread your block paragraph three times – a key to a good user experience.Fig.2
Fig.2 is an example of how to effectively roll-out product descriptions on Lazada. By splitting a product’s key attributes into sub-headings and listing its details by bullet points, the reader has an easy time to digest the information.
Constructing strong product copy
When trying to persuade a browser to purchase your product, it is advisable to lead with its benefits. A browser may be less inclined to purchase if all they read are technical specifications, color options and so forth. A curious browser would want to know why they should buy this product, what will they get out of it?
For example, if you’re selling a multi-device charger, build a picture of going somewhere with three devices and the added convenience of being able to charge them all at once.
The main content body should be informative but kept short and concise. Product descriptions should not be treated as a blog. (see fig.3).
Premium skincare brand La Roche Posay includes a wealth of product centric content to educate potential consumers. For example, it includes tips & tricks and insider information about the product type being viewed. The brand also includes skincare advice from medical professional and skincare experts to legitimize its product.
It is also advisable to curate original content rather than replicate existing or generic copy. Reusing a manufacturer or competitor’s product content will hurt your brand’s rankings when it comes to search engine results.
Strong product content versus weak product content
What makes this content strong?
- Detailed, personalized product description
- Key breakdown of product features with description
- Supporting images to showcase product features (more than one)
What makes this content weak?
- Long, disjointed product title
- Disjointed sentences with spelling errors
- No content, just specifications of product. The description is not engaging for potential buyers
2. What makes a good product image?
Read any brand guideline provided by a marketplace like Amazon, Lazada or MatahariMall and it will specify that a brand should optimize product images for the best results. At aCommerce, brand commerce experts take clients through each marketplace’s specific criteria to ensure product photos meet required image clarity and dimensions.
A way to tackle a high cart abandonment rate is through optimized product images.
Quick pointers to optimizing product images on Lazada
- If possible, always include multi-angle view of product
- If possible, always include a zoom option
- Can have up to eight images for one product
- Image measurements: the main product image must have the size of at least 600 x 600 pixels and at most 2000 x 2000 pixels.
- Secondary images must have the size of at least 450 x 450 pixels and at most 2000 x 2000 pixels.
- At least 85% of the frame should be filled with the product image
- No text, borders, reflection or additional logos on the image
- Image is clear, sharp and not pixelated
- Item should not be cropped
- Product against a clean white background
Fig.4 Maybelline offers multi-angle product views on Lazada
One of aCommerce clients such as Maybelline cosmetics effectively showcases its product content on Lazada. From multi-views of its products, it also offers a zoom function that allows a customer to have a close up look at product texture, particularly important when buying something such as cosmetics.
A particularly good brand page would also include the available colors of the product and additional images of the product packaging.
3. Leveraging authentic user reviews to enhance brand reputation
We’ve all been guilty of being influenced by product reviews. No matter how convincing a brand’s testimonial of its products, we tend to be receptive to other people’s opinions. 25% of those surveyed in PwC’s research “Total retail SEA 2016” showed that respondents always read product reviews before making a purchase.
In a survey conducted in the United States, 88% of respondents admitted to trusting a review like they would a personal recommendation. Positive reviews and rankings can increase your brand’s product ranking, hereby increasing your influence in a marketplace.
For smaller brands, who’s to say that you did not ask a friend or a family member to put in a good word about your product online?
There are certain ways for a brand to establish a good relationship with its customers. For example, a smaller brand with a growing following should concentrate on establishing a strong following in the beginning. After a purchase, a brand can email the customer with a review request.
Another tip to generate authentic reviews is to reach out to influencers on social media or encourage the usage of brand-centric hashtags such as #MyKiehls. These reviews can be re-posted on your page (if the marketplace allows) to enhance your brand’s visibility on social media channels.
Marketplaces are usually the first step to a digital strategy and increased brand visibility for online sellers. Despite its benefits, being on a marketplace means that a brand, no matter how big or small, would have to share the spotlight with competitors alike. For new brands lacking ecommerce expertise, it is particularly important to ensure that your brand stands out through effective, trustworthy and legitimate content. Win the marketplace.