August 30th, 2018

How Custom Content Types Give Ecommerce Businesses an Edge

Author: Laura Lynch
Laura Lynch
Director of Marketing

WordPress allows for greater flexibility with content types, which lets Ecommerce businesses showcase their products.

Custom content types are an underused function on many ecommerce sites. For one, many businesses have never thought to use them, and don’t know how to implement them in their sales strategy. And for another, many ecommerce platforms don’t have the flexibility that allows for custom web development (we’re looking at you, Shopify).

Fortunately, if you decide to use WordPress + WooCommerce as your content/ecommerce platforms of choice, you get two of the Internet’s most powerful business tools at your disposal: a content management system versatile enough to power the New York Times, and a globally successful ecommerce plugin with over 50 million downloads.

Wondering exactly how those custom content types can help you sell more on your ecommerce store? Here’s just a few ideas.

Product Types

The most important content for any ecommerce store is that of the products themselves. If your ecommerce business only sells one kind of product (for now), this may not seem as significant a concern. But any businesses that features a variety of products (or any business that might expand their product range in the future) can appreciate the value provided by a robust product content type.

By using a custom content type for your products, you can control how those product features are displayed, what information is searchable, and how data from a product page can be pulled to auto generate content on a different part of a website.

Want to encourage shoppers to add more products to their cart? Custom product types help you generate product suggestions to remind shoppers of accessories to go with their selected product. (Think of Amazon’s “Customers who bought this also bought…” feature. You want that on your site, right?)

Events and Ticketing

Selling a ticket to an event can be as easy as selling a coffee mug, but often these events require more information from attendees, and that’s where a special content type can come in.

Do you need to know more about someone’s dietary preferences, seating arrangements, or special needs? What about selling tiered tickets with add-ons and special event access? What if you want to keep a history of past events on your site so that visitors can learn more about the kind of organization you run?

Having a special content type for these kinds of purchases not only gives you the flexibility to gather more information about attendees, it also helps you maintain a consistent style for event pages—one that can easily be updated for all events without having to edit each page individually.

Product and How-To Videos

Videos are a rising marketing tool, especially for ecommerce. There’s nothing like a video to show off a product’s special features. From models taking a sort twirl in front of a camera to a quick software demonstration, videos can help relieve shoppers of any lingering anxieties they may have about a purchase.

How-to videos are another popular form of video content. If you sell products with multiple uses or special features, a demonstration not only shows visitors how the product works, it reduces your FAQs and customer support requests.

Many content management systems let you embed video in other content blocks, but creating a special content type for video can provide some flexibility in how and where it’s displayed. For instance, if you want a video to scroll down the page with a user, that’s only possible using a specified video content type.

Blogs with Categories

Of course, no discussion of custom content would be complete without mentioning the most ubiquitous form of content there is: the blog. Blogs are a standard feature on any self-respecting content management system, but not every platform allows for the same level of customization.

In this respect, blog categories are especially important, especially for large ecommerce stores that also operate out of multiple brick-and-mortar locations. If you want to have special blog posts for each location to improve local SEO, specialized content types can help you do that.

But even if you are an online-only organization, blog categories help you organize and display content such that users can more effectively find content related to the article they just read. For your ecommerce blog, this helps you retain visitor attention longer, increasing the time they spend on your website and the likelihood they’ll make a purchase.

User-Generated Content

Not all content comes from your organization. There’s also content that comes from your users, such as product reviews, questions, and social media posts.

Incorporating user-generated content onto your site provides a powerful proof point for many shoppers, who are far more likely to trust a stranger’s take on your business than they are your own. By using a custom content type to harness and organize user feedback, you can more effectively display reviews and social media posts from satisfied customers, which will increase your sales.

Buyer’s Guides

Buyer’s guides and other forms of downloadable content are important lead generation tools for businesses. But your guide can be more than a simple PDF. Think about look books that allow users to flip through rich content pages, or manuals that include interactive graphics.

Buyer’s guides, when used this way, are obviously a more complex content type. But for high-value products, they create a polished and sophisticated way to showcase your product’s assets.

WordPress’ custom content types put businesses in control of the way they display and market their products.

When it comes to the web design of your ecommerce store, many platforms only offer a limited number of options. The customization may seem good enough at first, but overtime ecommerce owners begin to notice the constraints of the system. They want to update a product layout, offer more product options, or use content more dynamically on their site. Without custom content types, this may be prohibitively difficult, or even impossible.

However, WordPress + WooCommerce have the flexibility you need to have full control over your ecommerce store. So, before you choose an option which may seem expedient in the short term, think about what you could be giving up. After all, you want a platform that will scale with your business, not hold it back.

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