The benchmarking system is designed to assess the quality of an online retailer's evergreen Primary Content - the core pre-purchase content that aims to convert a captive browser into a buyer at the point of purchase. It gives retailers a clear sense of any weaknesses in this critical layer of content that may be hindering their website conversion rates, search engine traffic and other key performance metrics.
The Quill Quality Score assesses a retailer's core Primary Content assets - typically product descriptions, category descriptions, how-to/buying guides and, where appropriate, the extent of content localization, before assigning a score to each.
The score is derived from Quill Content's proprietary benchmarking system - created from consumer research and aggregated performance data, drawn from the tens of thousands of pieces of Primary Content created by Quill Content across the e-commerce sector.
Each Primary Content type is assessed according to bespoke criteria. For example, product descriptions are assessed for their impact on conversion rates, category descriptions are assessed for their impact on organic search traffic, while how-to and buying guides are assessed for their impact on cross/up-selling.
The Quill Quality Score reveals some interesting industry trends. For example, even though 98 percent of consumers1 cite inaccurate or incomplete content as the reason for failing to make a purchase, aggregate scores indicate that a remarkable 71 percent of online apparel retailers don't even provide essential information on how a garment will fit in their product descriptions.
Nike leads fashion pack with product descriptions
Coincident with the launch, Quill Content has completed an analysis of 90 leading fashion brands' Primary Content, highlighting large disparities in quality. For instance, looking at scores for product descriptions – one key facet of Primary Content – indicates that, while many retailers have incomplete and unhelpful product descriptions, some are getting it right. U.S. sportswear giant Nike is at the top of the list, with Dutch clothing company G-Star RAW, UK fashion e-tailer Boden and outdoor wear specialists Timberland all scoring highly.
"Many retailers are creating award-winning creative campaigns and investing millions in intelligently-targeted media buying, only to fall at the final hurdle because they treat Primary Content as an afterthought," said Ed Bussey, founder and CEO at Quill Content. "Getting the basics right should be non-negotiable."
"After all, there's little point driving traffic to your website, only for the website itself to put customers off at the point of purchase. Where the money is really made is in high volume, evergreen, informative and compelling Primary Content at the end of the purchase funnel."
Disruption from aggregator retailers
The Quill Quality Score has been launched as retail marketplaces, such as Amazon, eBay and Asos, continue to rapidly gain market share at the expense of traditional retailers. Their agility and approach of outsourcing non-core competencies enables them to flexibly respond to changes in the market and consumer expectations, offering seamlessness and a quality shopping experience.
"The rise of excellent digital experiences often at low prices has raised consumers' expectations, making it all the more important for brands to offer a high-quality shopping experience" adds Bussey. "In this context, getting Primary Content right is a critical building block to remaining competitive."