Why retailers now need agile content creation

Taking months to launch a creative content campaign no longer works in today’s fast-moving consumer landscape, so brands must starting looking for better ways to operate
Creative team working in office

For retailers, creating digital experiences that cut through is tough. Many more businesses, spurred on by the pandemic, are building ecommerce channels to generate sales. At the same time shopper expectations have risen. This has created a much greater need for digital content that helps shoppers make better choices about the products they want, at the time they want it.

Retailers are struggling to keep up with the demand for content to support the complex requirements of smartphone-enabled, omnichannel shoppers. “If they don’t get the right content at the right time to support their shopping mission, then they’ll go elsewhere,” explains Nick Sibley, product marketing manager at Amplience, a global leader in digital experience management solutions for retail.

“Presently, many retailers input a huge number of resources just to keep catalogue pages, social feeds and product details updated on multiple channels. Things need to change if they are to capitalise on rapidly evolving consumer trends.”

Shoppers now expect retailers to deliver a more personalised experience. However, while the technology is capable of delivering unique experiences at scale, the reality is that content, the fuel for personalisation, is in short supply.

The fact is retail content production is often an inefficient process, based on a ‘waterfall’ methodology, where content jobs cascade from one stage to the next, sequentially. Each stage requires specialist tools and skills resulting in large piles of ‘work-in-progress’. And because the full content production cycle takes weeks or longer, it requires multiple reviews and governance cycles, adding yet more overheads and complexity.

If larger brands don’t move at a quicker pace to exploit these opportunities, then smaller, more nimble startups will do so even faster

“This makes for horribly inefficient content production. We’ve seen retailers take as long as six weeks, from brief to go-live! And while the clock is ticking on completing a retail campaign, consumers are onto the next trend, buying the latest go-to look on today’s Instagram feed,” details Sibley from Amplience, which works with over 350 of the world’s leading retail players.

“If larger brands don’t move at a quicker pace to exploit these opportunities, then smaller, more nimble startups will do so even faster. Brands need to take a leaf out of advances in product development, and get ‘lean’.”

By taking a lean approach to content production, which involves limiting the number of jobs in progress, where each is completed before the team moves to another, retailers can get things done much faster, in hours not weeks. This frees up the team to capitalise on where and when the shopper is now, not where they think they’ll be in three months’ time.
“You can act and react in real time. With the right type of lean processes in place content teams can deliver up to five times the output,” states Sibley.

Forward-looking brands are now building ‘content experience operations teams,’ which are cross-functional and made up of subject matter experts. They utilise agile principles - people over process - with a lean structure, using agile tools to manage workflows. These teams focus on completing production briefs start-to-finish. This approach can reduce content generation processes from months to days, and in some cases to just a few hours.

“The idea is to produce consistent, quality output at scale. This agile content generation also makes the most of new, best-of-breed technology platforms that retail brands are now using, particularly MACH (microservices-based, API-first, cloud-native, and headless) architecture like Amplience’s very own. These new technologies empower agile content creation, retailers that don’t harness the new efficiencies will simply be left behind,” points out Sibley.

“By bringing together cross-functional content teams with a lean process, you can create, publish, learn and iterate at speed, while simultaneously reducing waste and improving content reuse. Lean processes simplify governance and process overheads, allowing the talent to spend more time on high-quality creative output. And by bringing together a diverse set of roles together, the organisation is better aligned and more focused, improving employee morale and driving output. Isn’t it clear that getting lean is a no-brainer?”

For more go to amplience.com

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