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Amazon has set the bar on consumer expectations when it comes to price, selection, convenience, and speed. But there’s one area where Amazon is not leading the way and that’s content. Savvy brands and retailers have come to the realization that, to differentiate today, they need to focus on customer experience and content. As we continue our blog series on content, we’re going to concentrate on integrating your brand experience, your blog, and your ecommerce site.

The benefits of having a blog on your site are many. Establishing trust, giving your brand a point of view, increasing SEO, and generating traffic, engagement, and increasing conversion are just the start. Blogs have moved from a nice-to-have to a strategic tool to help brands stay relevant and set themselves apart from the competition. To maximize these benefits, it’s crucial for brands to merge content and commerce. Unfortunately, there are still many brands that have not integrated their blog with their commerce site and the two live as separate experiences, sometimes even on a distinct domain.

While the top priority of your commerce site should always be commerce, you shouldn’t neglect ancillary content that enhances the customer experience and has the potential to drive sales.  Let’s look at four places you can leverage blog content to enhance the shopper experience:

 

1. Navigation and footer

Remember, a blog can be a huge asset to your business and an important part of the shopper journey by informing and ultimately influencing a purchase. Don’t hide or bury your blog on your site. The footer is the most common place to find a link to a blog but it shouldn’t be the only place. Many customers won’t scroll that far. We recommend that you put a prominent link to your blog in the main navigation.

Check out the examples below. You can see that commerce is still the main focus on the UGG, Tory Burch, and Ethan Allen sites. They feature their blogs either to the right of the shopping links or in a secondary nav.

 

 

 

 

 

2. Site search

Site search is another area where you can bring more visibility to your blog content. This can be especially helpful for shoppers who are in the discovery phase, and would benefit from content that helps them with their research and product selection.

Salesforce Commerce Cloud gives brands the ability to surface relevant links to your blogs alongside product suggestions in your site search. This functionality is referred to as “enhanced search suggestions” or “search as you type”. For example, as a customer enters a search term into the search box, the list of search suggestions displayed can include products, categories, brands, content, or blog links. You can see in the MegaFood example below that when a shopper searches for “probiotics,” relevant content links appear to the left of product suggestions.

 

 

 

3. Category page

The bottom of the category page can also be a great place to feature blog content since that placement keeps the main focus on shopping but still enables shoppers to discover ideas, inspiration, or information by scrolling down and exploring additional content if they wish.

Pier1 is a great example. At the bottom of the “outdoor” category page, they feature an inspiration section that links to relevant, complementary articles.

 

 

 

 

4. Order and shipping confirmation email

We’ve talked about integrating your blog on your commerce site, but don’t forget to include links to your blog in transactional emails. You can keep inspiring and educating customers after the order by placing links to your blog at the bottom of your order and shipping confirmation emails. These emails are a good place to link popular posts or evergreen topics that have a wide appeal for your customers.

 

Bonus tip: Don’t forget to link top products within your blog posts

Many brands miss the opportunity to link relevant products within their blog posts. This is low-hanging fruit. Make it easy for blog readers to find the products featured in your blog post by linking your products within body text, in image captions, or by “shopping the story” as UGG has done on their blog.

 

Today’s consumers are looking for more than products. They expect rich experiences and inspiring, and informative content. If your brand has a blog, be sure to fully leverage it and maximize its exposure on your commerce site to differentiate your site experience, make your brand stand out, and ultimately drive sales. You probably can’t beat Amazon at its own game, but you can set yourself apart by integrating a creative blog that nurtures relationships with customers, establishes your brand, informs customers, and generates traffic.

In the meantime, find out more about How Content Drives Revenue at Every Stage of the Shopper Journey.