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The four pillars of modern consumption

Peter Messana's headshoot
By Peter Messana - CEO

The internet has evolved since my first days online in 1992. What was once a news engine and encyclopedia has turned into a virtually constant stream of content. When done right, this content is bingeable and we can thank the likes of Netflix and Spotify for building this phenomenon, which we refer to as the four pillars of modern consumption.

At Searchspring, we seek to enable the same strategy that Netflix and Spotify use for our customers to attract and engage their customers. This strategy works for just about any online business or product, it isn’t a secret, but it is not easy to execute.

The four pillars for our customers, as seen from the eyes of Searchspring, are as follows:

Easy to find – products must be easy to find. Search just works.
Organized better – products are merchandised in any product grid in a very logical manner.
Personalized experience – what you want may not be what someone else wants.
Fueled by insights – the backend must be fueled by data.

When I took over as CEO of Searchspring two years ago, the company was mainly known for its search. Over the last two years we have invested in better merchandising tools, and our acquisition of 4-Tell Technologies was to further the ability to deliver the four pillars by adding personalization and allowing retailers to achieve their goals.

Retailers’ ultimate goal is to increase visits, average order value (AOV), and conversion rate. The average retailer has a 3% conversion rate, which I have always flipped around as saying, “97% of visitors aren’t converting,” which drives the point much stronger.

There are multiple retailers attempting to achieve their goals, however, focusing on the four pillars of modern consumption is not often one of them. So many focus on driving higher converting traffic by cutting lower converting traffic. Bad news, that will not increase your sales, only your conversion rate. Others will focus on just driving more traffic, this will increase sales but at a very high expense, and if your variable contribution margin isn’t high enough you will just lose more money. The holy grail is higher traffic, higher AOV, and higher conversion rate, it is exponential and making something bingeable can help make this happen.

Stepping back to the four pillars and how they apply to a retailer versus content streamer, it is clear that anyone can create a bingeable experience. If your website focuses on making products easy to find, with pages that are organized better, coupled with personalized experiences, and all fueled by insights, you will create an experience that makes customers happy and ultimately want to buy more. You will find yourself focusing on more than just visits, AOV, and conversion rate. You will know that you are creating a better consumption model when you see often-overlooked metrics like time on site, number of pages per session, number of items added to cart, and cart conversion to checkout.

The strongest retailers are not just a transaction environment, anyone can be the corner convenience store, the strongest will create a bingeable experience.