Are you creating interactive content?

The Buyer's Journey

When I think of eCommerce, I don't start at the website running WooCommerce or any other shopping platform. I think about people who are staring at Google.

Yes, Google.

Because half of the time, we don't know what exactly we're looking for. When mosquitos are biting you out at your hot tub, what's the right thing to search for?

  • Mosquito killer?
  • Mosquito repellant?
  • Mosquito zapper machine?

Because we don't know, we step thru a journey.

First, we have to become aware of the problem definition (and the terms we use to articulate the problem). Then the solution space (and terms used there). And from there, the companies that offer solutions. Then the products.

Finally, we make a call about what we want to buy.

Whew. That's a lot of research that happens long before we press, “add to cart.”

I've spoken about this tons of times. Here's one version of the slide I use.

Buyer's Journey

What you can see is that there's a tremendous need for a variety of different kinds of content that's needed long before people are ready for eCommerce.

Most of these types—checklists, white papers, stories, case studies and more—are things we already understand and are creating. But there's another kind of content we're not creating much.

Before we get to it, we need to talk about how the decision buying process works for many people who land on that product page with the “add to cart” button on it.

For that, we have to look at another giant. Not Google but Amazon.

The eCommerce Decision Process

I don't know when the last time was, and I'm talking minutes, that you checked out Amazon. Some of my closest friends are the delivery guys who drop off Amazon packages here at the house (I'm kidding. Don't start an intervention yet.)

If you've shopped from Amazon, you'll notice something about their product pages.

About 30% of the page is filled with customer reviews and Q&A.

That's not content they create. It's content we create. And we trust it. Because it's everyday people, not the marketing departments who are trying to sell us stuff.

But I don't really want to focus our attention on the 30% space used by this kind of content. Or by who authors it. I want us to focus on how it's used.

These comments are the first edition of interactive content.

Think about how you shop. If you're like me, you scroll to the bottom to scan the comments. You might click the link to see the most recent, the most critical, or all the reviews with a score of 3.

This isn't Amazon forcing you to do anything. This isn't the product vendor trying to force you to watch a video. This is you—at your best—highly engaged in the content and digging into things like you are Indiana Jones, searching for the truth among all the comments there.

If you find a comment that scares you (because most of us are motivated to “not buy” more than to buy, by these reviews), you look at an alternative product. And start the process all over again.

The truth is simple: the more you can engage the content instead of having the content forced on you, the more likely you are to invest in your buying decision.

You have to be in control. Not the site. Not the eCommerce or marketing systems.


But you have to have content that lets you engage it.

The future of content and eCommerce is interactive content.

Here's a simple example

But it's not just eCommerce content that needs to be interactive.

What if you wanted to know what the likelihood was that you had made the wrong choice about the membership plugin you recently purchased? How would you go about quantifying the chances that you were wrong?

Here's a simple little calculator that is an interactive component.

I wrote this little calculator. I knew what it did. And even I was engaged.

Even though I knew how it worked, that didn't stop me from playing with it. I moved the sliders. I clicked the boxes. All for the same reason: my brain wanted to work out the puzzle of how it all worked.

That's the engagement that interactive content brings to the table.

It's more advanced than just user reviews. But it pulls at the same part of our brain that wants to find the best deal, figure out the puzzle, and more.

The future is interactive content…

For me, to build this little interactive solution meant I had to go find a javascript solution that I could embed into my site after building it. There is another I looked at that looks like it will even do some lead capturing.

But these aren't WordPress-oriented solutions.

And maybe that's ok. Maybe these other solutions, and the bigger ones for agencies, are fine doing it all in Javascript.

But here's what I notice about the WordPress space. Sometimes it takes one of our friends to build a solution and start doing well for us to start suggesting it to our clients. Meaning—that we wait to see a realized solution before we work on solving the problem.