Whether you think it is a buzzword best left in 2014, a useful way to describe the things that you write and draw, or the most exciting concept in the world of online marketing bar none, the fact is that “content” is still being discussed in the New Year. Indeed, “things that you write and draw” (relating to your brand, your products, your industry, the world in general) is looking like a rather unsophisticated definition of what “content” actually encapsulates.
Look at how fashion retailers like ASOS, French Connection and Mr Porter are approaching content. Although behaving more and more like publishers, these clever cookies are managing to monetise their content, by letting potential consumers purchase their products wherever they come across them. Today, shoppers can instantly buy products they see on blogs, social media channels such as Instagram (where brands use platforms such as Liketoknow.it to link up pictures with product pages), and even catalogues and magazine ads (with scanning technology).
Mr Porter’s blog, The Journal, lets readers buy the clothing items featured in the article image.
What all of the successful “shoppable content” channels have in common is this: they lure interested consumers to a some high-quality editorial or imagery, and then provide a really easy way for people to purchase the featured products. In other words:
- The content is actually good and relevant (that is, worth visiting for the sheer sake of knowledge or entertainment, and then persuasive enough to prompt people to make a purchase) – so it still follows the same rules of good content marketing.
- As well as using glittering copy and quality imagery, retailers need to be making use of new technology and tools to make the consumer experience as pleasant, intuitive and straightforward as possible.
- Generally, they rely on a good product data feed to ensure the details featured across every component (blog, app, picture, product page) are consistent and accurate.
As ever, the brands leading the vanguard will probably be the winners in this new approach to content marketing. But who will be next to embrace, and succeed in, shoppable content?