'Content to stand out' by Flinders
Use data to set your product and content strategy
The more difficult to produce the content, the easier it is to stand out
‘Content is the heart of the Flinders strategy. As a multi-brand retailer, we should and can differentiate ourselves by providing the visitor unique and inspiring content. To help him or her make the right decision.’ Geert-Jan Smits [Founder and CEO Flinders] continues. ‘Consumers need inspiration, information, and advice. Especially when buying home furniture.’
‘The more difficult it is to produce the content, the easier it is to stand out.’ ‘The more difficult it is to obtain content about products or brands, the higher the margin. And the less competition there will be…’ And that is exactly what Flinders does. By stepping up and raising that bar.
The secret of success is the content Flinders creates. The numbers speak for themselves. In just 8 years from the launch of the website in January 2011 to the amazing flagship store in Zaandam (2000m2), Flinders Cafe Groningen, warehouse (9000m2) in Amsterdam, Design Studio Gent. Geert-Jan adds, all shiny and proud, that Flinders is awarded as the ‘Best Furniture Shop’ of the Netherlands in 2019. With an expected sales volume of € 24 million in the same year.
In-house content team
They mix the traditional product shots provided by the furniture manufacturers, with their own in-house produced content showing the room setting and giving inspiration. The problem with the traditional shots is that is lacking that information for the customer to make a well-funded decision.
‘Yes, It is very time-consuming to make your own content. Especially the images. One shot of a nice room setting can take up to one day. But then again, that makes it possible to differentiate ourselves from the other furniture webshops.’ ‘The content you create and collect should be high res and flexible in size and form so that it can be used for every channel, platform, and social medium.’
The third source of content is the customers themselves. With the MyFlinders program, they collected 700+ inspirational user-generated pictures. Uploaded by the customers with #myflinders. Starting in 2017 the in-house photographer visits their most inspiring homes to extend this content. Used online and in the magazine. Priceless content to tell the Flinders stories and to help sell the products they love.
The Flinders extensive in-house content team consists off
- 2 Copywriters
- 1 SEO specialist
- 1 Visual designer
- 1 Social Media Marketeer
- 1 Trendwatcher and Photographer
- 1 Photographer
The Customer Care and Advice Department give advice to the content team. From insights on the type of interior and furniture advice, the customers are looking for, what information is missing on the website, to how the website should improve from the customers' perspective.
All these content assets are used in the online and offline formats. From obviously their website, with all the product content, trends and inspiration chapters, advice and room setting modules to their print magazines. They even provide interior advice at home. Including taking care of all the hassle that comes with buying and placing new furniture. Flinders is the data-driven e-commerce platform adding value by giving inspiration and providing 'retail as a service'.
Use data to set your product and content strategy.
Flinders focuses on the data first. Not on the furniture. Do your research on what your audience is looking for to develop your product inventory. And use the brands to create the Google and YouTube search volume and traffic to generate immediate sales volume in your webshop.
Another really valuable often overseen source of immersive data is the Customer Care department. Involve them for the insights on the first contact with the customers. Align these two sources with the Google trends and the international Furniture Fairs — and you are setting up for success.
Have your PIM in place
The Product Information System is the heart of the brand. Filled with their own and supplier content. By working closely together with their suppliers, the basic content like pack shots and life pictures are provided in a format that can be uploaded/connected right into the PIM (API, XLS, feed).
Every piece of content is tagged with multiple labels and topics. This is a hell of a job, painstaking and a monumental task. This can be partly automated. However, with the devil in the details, the manual check of all the tags is what makes the difference.
Content needs attention
After a year your content becomes outdated and definitely needs to be updated. Plan this within the daily operation as it takes a lot of work. Do not only focus on the production of new content.
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The secret of success is the content Flinders creates. They focus on the data first. Not on the furniture. Do your Google and YouTube research on what your audience is looking for to develop your product inventory. And last not least, add your customer care data.