How Whirlpool uses content effectively

Sergio Vitale
Digital & E-commerce Manager @Whirlpool Italy

What is the relationship between the appliance market and e-commerce?

Although not comparable to the explosive e-commerce growth of other industries, the revenue from online sales is constantly increasing. The electronics sector has gone from 35.1 billion euros in 2018 (3.2%) to 41.5 billion euros in 2019 (3.3%).

Compared to twenty years ago, the consumer comes into contact with many different channels, which affect the evaluation and the purchase in different ways.

The dynamics are peculiar: the store still is the place where most of the conversions take place, but digital channels are in first place when it comes to developing the inspiration, the awareness of one’s need that drives to purchase. This is because in the store we are faced with long series of products, and an in-depth analysis is not easy.

The integration between online and offline is improving: a showroom, for example, allows us to continue the experience we have begun on the online channels, combining the inspirational part offered by digital with the physical confirmation that leads to our final conversion.

Content becomes the glue: a company must be able to send relevant messages to their visitors in the different moments of their customer journey, in order to maximize in-store effectiveness thanks to the data collected online. 

 

The target: debunking the cliché


The perception of your target audience may be wrong. Questions like:

  • Is sport for men only?
  • Are videogames for children?
  • Is it only women who take care of the house?
  • Do men buy cars?

have answers that are anything but trivial. In fact, 60% of those who buy sports equipment are women, 45% of gamers are over 35 years old, 40% of the people who do household chores are men and 60% of women are willing to buy cars.

For this reason, the analysis of data must be the starting point to reshape content and decline it more appropriately for the target. By content we mean newsletters, landing pages, banners within the websites, especially the ones hosted within the environments of the Whirlpool group.

Their positioning in the universe of brands (Whirlpool owns 5), partners and e-commerce is crucial, and it needs special attention. The digital world provides statistics that did not exist before, so you can investigate the characteristics of the content that have most affected conversions and specific behaviors.

Whirlpool Italia collaborates very much with the central team (EMEA) where surveys are centralized, and market localization is adopted accordingly. From Casaleggio Associati's e-commerce reports, to Amazon's statistics, through the use of analytics tools (e.g. social media listening to keep an eye on competitors), Whirlpool monitors all channels.

The data flows from the various touchpoints converge in the CRM, where they are crossed and analyzed. The brand uses them to carry out multi-channel, customized campaigns.

As far as the management of corporate assets is concerned, Whirlpool uses the Content Platform THRON, which distributes them centrally to the various channels (read more here) and measures their ROI. The use of the platform allows to be present online with quality content, updated in real time.

 

Online and offline: the role of e-commerce


The proportion between online and offline in the category of household appliances is still low, mainly for reasons related to logistics but in Italy there are beginning to be best practices with a percentage of 10%.

As a B2B company, Whirlpool does not have a direct channel for the sale of large household appliances (which are sold through intermediarys/retailers) but on the part of the customer there is the expectation that the brand unite the entire supply chain, offering total support. In this, content is key.

In the case of e-commerce, one primary objective is traffic, so the channels must be optimized in a way that the users will converge to perform certain actions. This can only be done through analysis: the deep knowledge of qualitative and quantitative data of the site(s) that have been a stage of the customer journey enriches the CRM with fundamental information for the customization of content, in a one-to-one fashion.

Personalization is made more efficient by programmatic technologies, which can also be set on contextual factors (e.g. season, climate etc.) and be optimized for voice search.

At the same time, special brand awareness projects unite offline and online, such as the partnership with Fuorisalone Interni where Whirlpool was present with an installation. The opportunity allowed to create content to be conveyed online, but also to play with physical and digital dynamics at the same time. The initiative created interesting traffic volumes, extending the audience with additional communication.

The sharing of experiences (and therefore the production of content) by ambassadors in line with the customer base is also an effective incentive to conversion. The fact that someone has a Whirlpool product and lets others know about it is one of the main factors that inspire interest in it.