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The 20-2-20 Rule

Sam van Hees
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Storyblok is the first headless CMS that works for developers & marketers alike.

The sea of sameness. That is what the eCommerce space is often referred to. Why? Well, almost every webshop looks more or less the same, from the lay-out to the content and functionalities. It’s time for brands to level up their eCommerce experience, and keep up with the accelerating changes in the industry.

"Our single most important store in the world is our dot-com store, there is no comparison" - Kasper Rorsted, CEO of Adidas

How brands can keep up is by delivering a powerful, content-driven eCommerce experience. An experience that sets you apart from the competition, represents your brand and helps your customers make a good buying decision. The way you can accomplish this is by following the 20-2-20 rule.

Let’s dive in.

Headless > Monolithic

To understand why almost every webshop looks the same we have to take a step back. Years ago the big eCommerce software companies like Shopify developed systems that handled both the front-end and back-end at once. Also referred to as the monolithic model. At the time this seemed nice, one system handling both the front and back-end. But it actually brings with it a lot of limitations, especially with regards to the front-end. With a monolithic solution, the way you can portray and deliver content is very limited. Hence the rise of headless eCommerce and headless content management systems. Because coupling a headless eCommerce back-end with a headless CMS, allows brands to create the experiences customers expect, across devices.

20-2-20 Rule

For your customers the eCommerce experience is the most important part of their buying journey. Yet most Brands vastly underestimate customers and their ability and willingness to learn. When someone is one your website, they have taken time to get to the website and so they’re open to invest time and take a deep dive. And brands need to deliver on that expectation. How you can do that is by following the 20-2-20 rule.

  • 20 seconds to capture attention
  • 2 minutes to drive engagement
  • 20 minutes to build relationships

20 seconds to capture attention

According to Facebook brands on social media have 1.7 seconds to tell their story. That is 1.7 seconds to stand-out, and peak consumer interest. With your website you have a bit more time, but clarity and speed is still key. Customers must be able to understand what you do within 20 seconds.

“If you confuse, you lose” - Donald Miller, best-selling author Storybrand

How can you do this? The most important part is to forget about product specifications and instead think about product features. And think of features as in hobbies, activities and benefits that people can understand. Features that help them visualize the product and help them understand how the product can add value to their lives.

A great example of the 20 seconds rule comes from Haus. Haus sells low-alcohol drinks and is currently one of the fastest growing direct-to-consumers brands in the United States. As soon as you land on their homepage you understand what they do and how they are adding value to your life. How they accomplished this is by simply focusing on features, they are communicating the main product benefit and showing an activity people can relate to with regards to the product.

Haus Homepage

2 minutes to drive engagement

The hardest part is over, you got someone's attention. Now, you have to drive engagement and connect with that customer. The goal of these 2 minutes is to have a piece of storytelling in place that makes the customer feel like: “Hey, this is interesting, I want to learn more about this brand”. The best and most common way to accomplish this is with video content. Video is and will always be the best way to tell a story and connect with people.

How do you tell a story that drives engagement? The core of a relationship between a brand and a person is a set of shared values. If a person can identify themselves with a brand, you have a potential life-long connection. So with this piece of storytelling you want to share the values of your brand. What you stand for, why you do what you do and who you are helping with your products.

Adidas and Allbird recently collaborated to create the most sustainable high-performing shoes ever made. On this campaign website you can find a great example of the 2 minute rule. In this video they share their beliefs, values and why they do what they do. People who also find sustainability important will be drawn into this story from the first second. Important to note is that this video doesn’t give away all the information and neither does it answer a lot of questions customers have at this point in the buying journey. What it does and what it should do is control the release of information to tease further exploration.

20 minutes to build relationships

Let those who want to learn more, learn more. Customers want to learn about your brand and the products you are offering. To accomplish this you need to have at least 20 minutes of content accessible throughout your eCommerce website.

At the end of the day, a customer will only buy from you if they trust you. And trust is earned by answering all of the questions a customer might have about the products you're selling. The most effective and scalable way to do this is with content. Blogs, videos, podcasts, you name it as long as it educates and inspires your customers.

I think we are all familiar with Patagonia. It’s a century defining brand that is doing a great job following the 20-2-20 rule. On their website you can watch not just 20 minutes of content but you can consume hundreds of hours of quality content. From product videos to films and award-winning documentaries. Diving into their brand is just as easy as making a purchase. With all of the content in place Patagonia is able to turn website visitors into life-long customers.

Patagonia Homepage

As mentioned before, creating the content is one piece of the puzzle. Delivering the content on your eCommerce sites across channels and devices is the other part. And this is only possible with a headless eCommerce back-end and a headless content management system. For more information check out the importance of content management in headless commerce blog.

And if you want to keep up with the latest eCommerce insights and marketing trends check out the Story of AMS blog. Or if you have any eCommerce related questions, feel free to contact Story of AMS.

Story of AMS is a verified Shopify Plus Partner. Find out more about our Storyblok eCommerece integrations here.