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Strategies, research, industry trends — your pulse on the marketplace
The   Bazaar   Voice
Strategies, research, industry trends — your pulse on the marketplace

Insights from the fireside chat between Bazaarvoice’s CMO, Zarina Stanford and Lowe’s Director of Omni Product Content Experience, Mena Wouters.

Bazaarvoice’s very own Zarina Stanford had the chance to sit down and chat with Mena Wouters, the driving force behind Lowe’s experience-oriented omnichannel content, and the result was a wealth of applicable insights for retailers and brands alike! 

The conversation touched on a variety of topics, from the power of Unified Product Scores (which Lowe’s calls Item Experience Scores) to the importance of authenticity—a favorite topic for the Bazaarvoice team! If you don’t have time to watch the full webinar, don’t worry. We’ve compiled six of our most notable takeaways from the fireside chat below. 

1. Diversify your content mix

An e-commerce ecosystem thrives when there’s a rich mix of content, including both user-generated and branded assets. According to Mena, it’s about supplying the right information, based on where the shopper is in their purchase journey, so that customers can make confident and well-informed decisions. As she puts it, “The customer should feel good about their shopping experience and avoid any need for returns.” 

2. Channel is king – and so are relevant metrics

The customer journey is no longer linear. Customers consume content across various platforms and at various stages along their path to purchase. By knowing how and when your shoppers use the channels that your content appears on, you’ll be able to meet them with tailored media wherever they’re at. An effective way of achieving this is to follow the PESO model, which aims to unify paid, earned, shared, and owned content. 

Mena underscored the need for A/B testing, as well as conversion and engagement metrics such as impressions, clicks, and scroll depth. However, she noted that it’s more important to have an overall view of content and the customer experience, which is where unified data like Lowe’s Item Experience Score provides holistic value.

3. Lean into the power of UGC and AI

User-generated content (UGC) allows real customers to provide actionable feedback that can help vendors and suppliers improve their products and create more engaging experiences. 

How does AI factor in? Mena views AI as an exciting tool to help vendors create winning product descriptions, synthesize customer feedback, and understand their preferences. When asked if she was concerned about AI in the content space, Mena said that she didn’t view it as cause for concern, but instead “as a lever to power us forward and to make better experiences for our customers.” 

4. Balance branded content with authenticity

Mena said that it’s crucial to find the balance between content created internally with content created by vendors, suppliers, and third-parties. 

Employing influencers and content creators that are close to the product, yet untied to any specific agenda, are an important asset when it comes to authentic content experiences. Mena says “they are the ones that are really the true voice of the customer because they are the customer.”

5. Connect physical and online spaces

The physical presence of brick-and-mortar retail stores is evolving. Lowe’s is leaning into each medium “to surround and engage shoppers.” 

One in-depth example that Mena provided was of a shopper who had done research online, but is bombarded by additional choices when they are in-store. This person could pull out their phone to look at reviews on Lowe’s website or via their mobile app. This is a common scenario, but it underscores the need for retailers to make sure they’re everywhere that their customers are, with the answers that they’re searching for. 

6. Foster relationships with vendors and creators

Mena believes in the importance of creating content experiences that benefit both Lowe’s and their vendors. That’s why Lowe’s works seamlessly with vendors through brand advocate and integration partnerships. Through these partnerships, Lowe’s and their vendors can align on goals and dig into metrics, thereby allowing them to improve customer experiences while enhancing conversion, loyalty, and engagement. 

For vendors and suppliers looking to expand product distribution, Mena’s message was clear: “Don’t give up.” It could be as simple as reaching out to Lowe’s or finding someone who can advocate for your product, but also “having a great quality product at the right price point always wins.”

Bonus: Foster simplicity and authenticity

“If I could wave a magic wand,” says Mena, “it would be to put the right content in the hands of the consumer… That’s it. I want to enable the consumer.” Zarina voiced similar sentiments, expressing her desire for consumers to utilize their powerful voices to shape the industry. 

As Mena summed it up, the future is about more content, authenticity, and an easy way for consumers to access it. With these insights, we believe every business can march confidently into that future. 

“Our goal every time we come into the office, no matter where we are, what we’re doing, is to make sure that we’re advocating for the voice of the customer and the voice of the vendor. Because these two groups are really what help us drive that omni customer experience.”
– Mena Wouters

If you have any more questions or feel like you need some help figuring out how to create better experiences, take a minute and reach out to us here

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content strategyretail industryuser-generated content
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