Posted by Trinity Hartman on March 24, 2012
This is part eight in our series on content syndication.
New York-based Webcollage’s technology roots run deep: the company started out designing software for web applications before evolving into its role as a leading content syndicator. For more about the company, check out our overview.
Content26 recently caught up with CEO Scott Matthews to learn more about how he sees the company’s technology advances made playing an important role in the future of content syndication.
Content26: What sets your company apart from its competitors?
Scott Matthews: Most companies providing content syndication services today are creative agencies. Webcollage is a technology company that started as a developer of software and has evolved into a SaaS [software as a service] company. This makes Webcollage unique in the market.
Content26: What does this mean for your manufacturing customers? What do they get from your company that they wouldn’t get from the competition?
Scott Matthews: Webcollage invests heavily in R&D [research and development] to consistently develop new features and toolsets. This means manufacturers are consistently given new options for integrating their rich marketing message into the channel at the point of sale. Most of the major advancements in content syndication over the last several years have come from Webcollage, which allows our customers access to consumers shopping for their products in ways not possible through our competition.
We believe that all inline content will eventually be delivered via HTML and therefore have an impact on SEO.
Content26: Can you give a specific example of this?
Scott Matthews: Power Pages are a great example of this. There are other companies now dabbling in this capability but nobody else doing it successfully today, and no company with the network of distribution that Webcollage enjoys. Webcollage introduced this concept into the market two years ago and has been very successful in using technology to allow manufacturers unprecedented access to communicate to shoppers through their online product pages.
Content26: What kind of lift in conversion rates do your customers see after adding Power Pages or Mini-Sites?
Scott Matthews: From testing Webcollage has conducted, we typically see an uplift of 6 to 18 percent in sales from the Mini-Sites and a 12 to 36 percent increase from the Power Pages.
Content26: What are the major content-related challenges facing manufacturers and e-tailers going forward?
Scott Matthews: When Webcollage started building our network of e-tailers and manufacturers years ago, the major challenge we saw was the overall lack of content available from the manufacturers. As we’ve focused on opening up the retailer channel for manufacturers to deliver their rich marketing message, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in investment on web-enabled assets.
The next hurdle will be focusing on optimizing those assets. There is typically a similar message being delivered throughout the web, often one that mirrors offline marketing. As changes in WebCollage technology allow manufacturers more flexibility in terms of content delivery, we anticipate more focus on assets being created specifically for the retail (e-tail) market.
Content26: How will your company help its clients overcome these challenges?
Webcollage invests heavily in R&D to develop new features and toolsets. This means manufacturers are consistently given new options for integrating their rich marketing message into the channel at the point of sale.
Scott Matthews: WebCollage is working to stay steps ahead of the market. We anticipate where the market is heading and work with both manufacturers and retailers to create functionality that supports the future trends in online shopper marketing.
Content26: One criticism of rich media in general and syndicated content in particular is that it offers very little SEO value. What are you doing to address this issue?
Scott Matthews: Webcollage created and launched Power Page technology with the ability to have content delivered inline as HTML, which would impact SEO. Initially it was much simpler for the channel to implement Power Page content using traditional methods versus the slightly more complicated HTML implementation. We believe that all inline content will eventually be delivered via HTML and therefore have an impact on SEO.
Content26: How important is mobile commerce to your customers? What is your company’s approach to m-commerce?
Scott Matthews: Webcollage has seen a definite increase in mobile interest from manufacturers over the last year, but there is still confusion over the best way to tackle mobile. Shopper adoption of mobile is still relatively low for anything other than comparison shopping but we expect to see that change significantly over the next several months.
The considerations for making a purchase are very similar no matter where a shopper is interacting with a product. To this end, Webcollage has mobile-enabled our content templates to make sure shoppers can consume manufacturer content whether they are scanning a code at the point of sale with their phone or browsing a retailer’s mobile website.
Content26: How do you expect social commerce to change how people buy products online? And what will a rise in social commerce mean for your company and syndicated content?
Scott Matthews: For Webcollage, social media will end up being an additional destination for our content. We’re seeing the emergence of product pages on social media sites that are used to merchandise in a number of ways. Webcollage will easily be able to integrate with these pages the same way we integrate with other commerce-enabled pages in the channel today.
Scott Matthews joined Webcollage in April 2006. He brings more than 20 years of sales and executive management experience to his role as CEO. He previously worked as Vice President of Sales for both Optum and InterWorld.
Scott holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a master’s degree from Pace University.
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