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You probably use an ad blocker, and so do your customers. Those who don’t can suffer from banner-blindness. So how can merchants drive customer engagement and boost sales? The answer is content marketing—a must-have in your digital arsenal.

Instead of undifferentiated or discount-based advertising, content must serve as a central piece of every commerce marketing strategy. A discount message just isn’t enough to bring customers to stores, let alone get them to return. The message is, don’t just advertise. Engage with quality content too, like how-to videos, reviews, and blogs. Here are three reasons why content is important to driving the best customer experience, and how merchants are achieving big results using Magento Commerce:

1. Content delivers brand authenticity

Audiences relate to digital influencers because they offer authentic thoughts and advice. When influencers endorse a product it’s perceived as expertise rather than promotion. Merchants can do the same by offering content that addresses customers’ needs, and speaks to their emotions. Traditional marketing techniques like ad retargeting and cart abandonment tools are increasingly seen as presumptive and invasive. But combining it with shoppable content like buyable pins on Pinterest and in-app VR tools help to share ideas with customers with greater authenticity.

Makeup maven Charlotte Tilbury approaches this strategy with a wealth of animations and how-to videos for every look, from contouring to confidence-boosting lip colors. The brand also prioritizes social outreach, with 1.6 million followers on their most popular channel, Instagram. There, Tilbury showcases her own expertise and industry adventures, and celebrates her clients and customers. This content creates a community connection that keeps shoppers educated and engaged with the brand.

2. Content strengthens relationships with customers

Shoppers go back for more of what they like! When customers feel like retailers understand them and their needs, they feel more confident about shopping there. Merchandising content like lookbooks, how-to’s, and in-depth product information show how products fit into customers’ lives. It also offers key information to help them make buying decisions.

To scale their B2B business, Rousseau Metal engaged their customers by employing B2C techniques to sell their superior quality storage solutions. They invested in high-quality photography and compelling case studies, and improved their site’s product and corporate information. They also invested in an intuitive Bay-Design tool to help customers plan their purchases, and a custom module to make quote requests online.

3. Content provides a competitive and brand differentiator

With so many retailers still relying on banner advertising and deep discounts to attract customers, delivering quality content offers a personal edge. Engaging content helps you capitalize on your knowledge of your customer by sending offers most pertinent to them.

More content also means more opportunities to be seen, and more ways for customers to stay engaged. Along with improving customer experience and boosting conversions, content will help boost organic SEO and marketing opportunities, including social media. Investing in brand, product, and review content (especially videos) across third-party and social sites is far more engaging than banner ads­. These are passive and easily ignored or blocked. By offering quality content, you are providing something of value to your customers, without having to discount.

Quality product content is especially important if you sell on marketplaces and third-party sites. For Yakima, the world’s leading brand of car racks, partner retailers are a critical part of their business model. At the same time, they wanted to make sure that customers were still getting accurate information about their products. Yakima decided to integrate its own product module into their partner sites so that customers can find the right product, and still check out on the partner site. This saves the partner from having to develop configurable product tools, and guarantees a consistent and positive brand experience for Yakima.

Magento CMO Andrea Ward contributed to this article.