Daniel Burstein

Ecommerce: User-generated content, video marketing and other lessons from IRCE 2014

May 29th, 2015

How can you attract more traffic to your ecommerce store? How can you improve conversion on the traffic you’re currently getting? At IRCE (Internet Retailer Conference + Exhibition) 2014, we sat down with 39 marketers and ecommerce experts to bring you actionable ideas to improve your results.

To help you prepare for IRCE 2015, today on the MarketingSherpa blog I’m taking a look back at a few of the key lessons I learned from the interviews at last year’s event.


Lesson #1: User-generated content is not free labor for marketers

User-generated content. Community-sourced content. It’s been called many things, but brands have found success by encouraging customers to create their own content and share it with their peers.

No site has been better at this than Wikipedia, which refers to the practice as collaborative writing by volunteers. “The free encyclopedia that anyone can edit” gets the sixth most traffic in the world, according to Alexa.

I asked Jimmy Wales, CEO and Founder, Wikipedia, what advice he would give to marketers looking to engage their audience to create content.

Jimmy likened the typical approach of crowdsourcing to, “It’s sort of like if you opened up a bowling alley and you said, ‘Gee, we’ve got all this bowling to be done. How are we going to trick people into bowling for us.’ Instead you say, ‘Well, wait. What do people want? They want leisure time activity, beer and a hot dog. They want it to be family friendly. They’d like to have a league so they can compete with other teams and so on.’ So you think, ‘What’s the infrastructure we can build here? We’ll offer a bowling league, we’ll make sure there’s hot dogs and beer.’ And people will come, because you’re thinking about what they need first.”

“Don’t think about the work you would like people to do. Think about what it is people want to do and how you can empower them to do that,” Jimmy advised.


Lesson #2: Video can help make your products come alive online

While ecommerce has many advantages over brick-and-mortar retailing, it has one major disadvantage:

You can’t touch and feel the products. You can’t try them on. You can’t feel the material and the quality.

One way to overcome that is with video, which is much more compelling than a simple two-dimensional image.

I sat down with Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, Chairman and Founder, Joyus, and one of the powerful women who are reinventing the way you shop for fashion online according to Forbes, to discover how you can put video to work on your site.

“Create a sustained relationship with your audience, find the person that represents your brand voice and use them repeatedly,” she advised.


Lesson #3: Get out of the way of your customers

You have some effective user-generated content and compelling videos, and it has built demand for your site and interest in your product. How do you get customers to make a purchase?

In this case, less may be more. In other words, once you have great products and have brought people to your site who are interested in purchasing these products, make it easy for them.

Michael Layne, Director of Internet Marketing, and Jen Rademacher, Chief Information Officer, both of Fathead, shared what they learned from conversion optimization testing on their site.

“Simplicity is genius, white space is your friend and get out of the way of your customers,” Michael said. “Too many buttons are going to hurt you. Too much copy is going to hurt you. You just want to give customers what they’re looking for.”


Put ideas from the world’s largest ecommerce event to work for you

To help you improve your ecommerce marketing and conversion, the MarketingSherpa team is once again heading out to IRCE (Internet Retailer Conference + Exhibition) in Chicago to run the MarketingSherpa Media Center at IRCE. We’ll be interviewing brand-side marketers to share their expertise with you on MarketingSherpa.

If you’re at IRCE, swing by and say “hi.” And if you’re a brand-side marketer with a story to tell, let me know and we might be able to arrange an interview in the Media Center.


You can follow Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MarketingSherpa, @DanielBurstein.


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Daniel Burstein

About Daniel Burstein

Daniel Burstein, Senior Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS. Daniel oversees all content and marketing coming from the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa brands while helping to shape the editorial direction for MECLABS – digging for actionable information while serving as an advocate for the audience. Daniel is also a speaker and moderator at live events and on webinars. Previously, he was the main writer powering MarketingExperiments publishing engine – from Web clinics to Research Journals to the blog. Prior to joining the team, Daniel was Vice President of MindPulse Communications – a boutique communications consultancy specializing in IT clients such as IBM, VMware, and BEA Systems. Daniel has 18 years of experience in copywriting, editing, internal communications, sales enablement and field marketing communications.

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