Connecting Ecommerce Content Marketing & Your CMS to Attract Customers
As the shift to ecommerce continues to accelerate, commerce-focused brands and sellers are realizing the power and profitability of content marketing to bring more customers to their products.
Key to riding that revenue-generating tide is leveraging an agile content management system (CMS).
The story of how OKdo, “the rocket fuel for your Maker imagination,” built a brand new, successful ecommerce business line in just eight months as part of a larger global technology business makes a fascinating tale of partnership, flexibility, and speed to market.
Our inspiring new guide lays all this out, including:
- Ways to serve best-in-class content to customers by connecting content with commerce.
- How the right, out-of-house technology partnerships can accelerate internal ecommerce success.
- Why a “test, learn, iterate” strategy is never out of style for successful businesses, especially those just starting out.
You’ll learn how WordPress VIP and agency partner Box UK helped OKdo power ecommerce sites in seven different markets across three continents and six languages in record time, all the while supporting multiple currencies and following various global trade and tax laws.
Connecting Ecommerce Content Marketing & Your CMS to Attract Customers
The shift to ecommerce continues to accelerate, and sellers are seeing the benefit of content marketing to bring customers to their products.
For commerce brands who need to rapidly innovate, it’s more crucial than ever to leverage their content management system (CMS) to increase the speed to market of both content and products.
To understand how brands can extend their CMS to quickly build a new, revenue-generating ecommerce business, we gathered insights from product owners at OKdo and Box UK (a WordPress VIP agency partner), who were responsible for building a successful ecommerce business line in just eight months.
Adrian Goodman is the Global Digital Product Owner for OKdo, a new brand within the Electrocomponents Group. He has worked for Electrocomponents for more than 25 years—20 in the digital space. In the past couple of years, Adrian has been responsible for the delivery and evolution of the DTC channel for OKdo.
As Head of Ecommerce, Allie Brock oversees every aspect of ecommerce strategy at Box UK, shaping and strengthening the company’s offering to support the delivery of high-quality and high-performance ecommerce solutions for its international clients, including OKdo and RS Components.
Launched in 2019, OKdo’s mission is to unearth the singleboard computing (SBC) and Internet of Things (IoT) products from parent company Electrocomponents’ formal B2B catalogs—traditionally targeting industrial customers—and surface them to a wider audience and a new segment. It brings SBC and IoT customers the latest products, solutions, and ideas to inspire and enable them to create technology that makes life better.
- Bridge the gap between content and commerce. Managing product and content on one single platform will help you speed your processes and accelerate your ecommerce success.
- Create quality content. Content is at the heart of ecommerce, so invest in people who can produce quality content for your brand.
- Be flexible. Be able to quickly shift your strategies and adapt in the face of unprecedented events.
- Take advantage of partnerships. Find strategic partners who can help your team share the workload, bounce ideas off each other, and work together to solve problems.
- Establish clear goals upfront. Always think about the “why” behind building new features or making changes. Remember: if it doesn’t support your goals, you shouldn’t be doing it.
- Test, learn, iterate. Constantly track your data and measure your results. This will let you know what’s working and what’s not, and make changes accordingly.
Preparation is key. For an upcoming launch, plan far in advance and perform rigorous tests to avoid malfunctions or site crashes.
In a digital-first world, an agile CMS is crucial
Today’s businesses require agile CMSes that have three main capabilities: a robust content hub, a customizable workflow, and flexible deployment options. OKdo chose WordPress VIP to power their ecommerce sites in seven different markets across three continents and six languages, supporting multiple currencies and following various global trade and tax laws. The platform helps OKdo achieve three of their main goals.
1. Serving best-in-class content
For OKdo, good content is as essential as good products.
While the internet is full of projects and style guides for Raspberry Pis and single-board computing, the content is often hard to follow and not written particularly well, according to Adrian. Often, these guides do not provide a list of necessary materials, nor do they yield the level of expertise projects require. So, OKdo’s goal from the start has been to provide best-in-class content by creating the most useful guides and easy-to-follow projects for their audience.
Using WordPress’s Gutenberg block editor, OKdo created helpful hubs of content to host the company’s “Getting Started” guides and projects for people to build.
To generate quality content at a fast pace, OKdo invests in people (“makers at heart”) to curate new content from the projects, they’re working on. These might be fresh, existing, or improved ideas. The “Getting Started” hub is full of guides the team has curated—including projects for beginners, like LED flashes and buzzer sounds, as well as more complicated “projects,” like a conductive paint kit. The writers produce new quality content and guides on a weekly basis for their audience.
Now, OKdo has templates to help their content generators easily publish their inventions and projects to the site— speeding up the whole process.
2. Connecting content with commerce
OKdo knows that content is at the heart of ecommerce. It’s what leads new customers to their products, and it’s what draws them back.
To tie content and commerce together, OKdo leveraged WordPress VIP and its built-in tools—WooCommerce, in particular—to merge their product management system and their content management system. This proved to be essential for OKdo to accelerate their ecommerce success.
For example, their product launches typically require the team to update products, create a landing page, publish a press release, make changes to the home page, and more. Because all content and products are hosted on the same system on WordPress VIP, paired with the WooCommerce integration, those who were managing the products could also create, edit, and publish content.
Besides WooCommerce, OKdo invested in plugins like:
Yoast SEO Premium and MultilingualPress: to optimize content for search engines (SEO) and manage the content’s translations.
Mailchimp (paired with WooCommerce): to bring more intelligence into OKdo’s email marketing strategy and reach audiences in a more relevant way.
PayPal and Stripe: to provide global users with familiar payment methods, and to have a backup option in case one payment service goes offline. However, Adrian note, “It’s just configuration. If we wanted to turn on Apple Pay, we could do so in minutes on WordPress VIP. It’s almost a flick of a switch to add a payment integration.”
These integrations have been indispensable for OKdo when combining content and ecommerce. Says Adrian: “It’s all about getting customers to the content, so these integrations are essential for us to perform well.”
3. Bringing flexibility and speed to market
At the end of the day, an agile CMS needs to be able to give brands the ability to move quickly—even in the face of unprecedented situations. Fortunately for OKdo, the WordPress VIP platform supported them as they quickly shifted and adapted their strategies under different circumstances.
The most notable example was when the COVID-19 lockdown happened. Before the paint was dry on OKdo’s Gutenberg implementation, the team had a flash of inspiration on a Friday afternoon. They pulled together a value-add offer for parents and teachers who were newly homeschooling children and students. Utilizing the Gutenberg blocks they had been working on (plus newer blocks they built quickly), OKdo launched their campaign called “Kits for Kids” on Monday.
“Kits for Kids” included a specific set of products targeted at children and families stuck at home, helping them learn and create during the lockdown. OKdo discounted the products to make them accessible to a wider audience, and even backed up the products with lists of resources, additional lesson plans, and video content—filmed by children of OKdo VPs. In the first two to three weeks post-launch, it got a lot of traction and visits.
In light of this, OKdo started moving more into the education sector by building educational products, scaling to reach a new audience.
Partnerships can accelerate ecommerce success
Besides leveraging the WordPress VIP platform, OKdo worked with Box UK, a WordPress VIP agency partner, to build out their technology ecosystem to support their new business offering.
There are three key benefits to leveraging partnerships.
1. Sharing the workload
Some agencies just build features for their clients. Box UK, however, goes above and beyond to support OKdo. According to Allie, Box UK is not just a “feature factory” for OKdo, but rather, development partners—an extended part of OKdo: “The key is that we don’t see ourselves as two separate teams. Although we may be from different organizations, we are one team, one unit.”
What does this look like on a day-to-day basis?
OKdo has a high-level roadmap of all features and pages they need. Box UK looks at OKdo’s goals and strategies, then the two work together to identify what features they need to prioritize based on OKdo’s KPIs.
2. Having a sounding board for new ideas
As one unified team, OKdo and Box UK have established, clear goals upfront, such as increasing engagement, boosting conversions, or reducing bounce rates. Everyone on the team— whether they’re in-house or third-party—owns the product and works to identify and build the features that can help OKdo achieve success. On the flip side, they are always thinking about the “why” behind building new features or making changes to align with their main goals.
Adrian explains: “If I say to Allie, ‘All right. I want to build this feature,’ the first questions she’ll ask are, ‘Why? What dial does that turn? What problem is it solving?’ These are healthy questions, because if the feature won’t achieve our goals, we shouldn’t be doing it. It’s really a collaboration between myself, Allie, and the whole team.”
3. Working together to quickly solve problems
OKdo expanded to six countries shortly after launching. With the expansion came many regulatory challenges, including trade compliance, tax compliance, import and export, as well as other legality issues. During the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, OKdo also had to tend to changes in VAT codes and rules related to shipment across borders.
To relieve OKdo of these global regulatory issues, Box UK identified and integrated additional third-party applications that adhered to various country regulations so OKdo could operate at a global scale. Their enterprise resource planning (ERP) software manages all the products and runs through translations behind the scenes. Plus, they’ve got integrations like AvaTax handling tax and trade compliance. This approach not only facilitates rapid development and delivery, but also future-proofs the solution, as individual elements of the ecosystem can be scaled, swapped, or added as needed.
Test, learn, iterate
OKdo is different from the other brands within parent company Electrocomponents Group for many reasons. The Electrocomponents Group has a history of buying and acquiring businesses to scale geographically or into different sectors, but it had never launched an entirely new standalone digital brand—until OKdo. Plus, as a B2C offer, OKdo has a different customer segment.
The OKdo launch has come with many learnings and changes—most notably, adopting the “test, learn, iterate” mentality.
Testing different technology
As a new business within the Electrocomponents Group, OKdo wanted to go to market in a distinct way and decided to step outside the enterprise. That meant taking different technology routes no other brand within the group had done.
Otherwise, OKdo would have been looking at lead times of 12 to 18 months behind larger scale projects from RS Components or Allied Electronics & Automation, both legacy brands within Electrocomponents. With WordPress VIP and the help of the Box UK team, OKdo was able to launch just eight months after kickoff.
Learning from results
With a new venture comes new learnings. Using a blend of analytics, insights, and UXR, OKdo consistently tracks their data and measures their results to understand what works and what doesn’t.
In terms of measuring content, the team tracks not only standard metrics such as page views, but also how people are engaging with each piece. For instance, they use tools like Tag Manager to see which part of the content people are scrolling to. This helps them decide where to put subscription ribbons, or if it’s worth updating the page footer.
On the ecommerce side, they measure the entire sales journey. Leveraging the sales data provided by WooCommerce, they can surface personalized blocks, such as what products a user has recently viewed or purchased. They also put their key pages and customer journeys through UX research, and re-engineer them on the back end to improve the customer experience.
Iterating new strategies
Finally, OKdo uses their learnings to craft new strategies, facilitate change, and prepare for the future.
For example, prior to introducing the newest version of Raspberry Pi computers, OKdo performed lots of stress and performance testing on the WordPress VIP platform to assess the impact of high site traffic. Because they had prepared in advance, the global launch of Raspberry Pi 4 was a huge success.
OKdo plans to implement A/B and multivariate testing to introduce personalization and ease to the site. Utilizing their learnings, they want to find the sweet spot for personalization, so that it’s easier for customers to find the products and content they’re looking for.