‘Shoppable content’ is a form of marketing that is developing as fast as the capabilities of the internet are evolving. Broadband speeds, digital photography, and advances in website technology and personalization are all contributing to the growth of this exciting means of attracting new customers, who are projected to spend a massive $313 billion by 2019. The concept driving this form of selling, is to remove the friction between viewing and buying to such an extent that customers have the opportunity to buy, without even taking the decision to ‘go shopping’. People can simply browse the internet as they always would, except that if they decide they would like to buy something that they see, they can do it in the quickest, easiest way possible.
Successful companies are looking to set themselves apart from the competition and reach their audience in innovative new ways. The Shoppable content model is being used more as it gives brands the opportunity to show their products in a different context. For example:
A popular choice is the online magazine, which has a similar layout and content to a magazine, but with the added ability to buy the products with a click of a button. This approach to selling allows the stylish editorial content to be enjoyed, whilst allowing users to create a shopping list at the same time.
Whilst browsing through the magazine, the reader (who may not even know what they are looking for, or consciously be looking for anything) can see a product in such a setting, that can help sway them to press the ‘buy’ button on items they may never have gone looking for.
Without having to hunt through a website, the customer has been thoughtfully transported directly to the product that has piqued their curiosity and is already in a position to buy. It is quick, easy and hassle free.
For example the app version of the Net-a-Porter magazine (Porter) let readers shop as they read, and in many cities, purchases arrive the same day.
Tess Macleod Smith, Vice President of Publishing and Media at Net-a-Porter, explained that 85 percent of top customers were inspired to shop after reading an issue of Porter, and those who become subscribers increased their spend by 125 percent and their frequency on the site by 25 percent.
The interactive lookbook
The lookbook is perfect for the browsing customer, someone who is not looking for a particular item and would like to explore. Retailers can curate a creative and dynamic lookbook, designed to pique the interest of customers. These in turn can be analyzed to see what works and what doesn’t.
ASOS combined shoppable content with customers, with the launch of their #ASSEENONME campaign. Users upload pictures of themselves wearing ASOS clothing onto Instagram using #ASSEENONME. Pictures are then uploaded onto a gallery where users can like the image, comment on it - and if they like,buy the item of clothing.
ASOS’ campaign uses real customers to sell to real customers, and the social media style of the gallery is relaxed and interactive. Whilst users may not go to the gallery looking to buy, the feed is full of imaginative ways to wear their clothes that will resonate with the audience.
YouTube reports mobile video consumption rises 100% every year, so it's little wonder that brands are making their videos shoppable. Networks such as Bravo TV are even making their programmes shoppable by allowing customers to purchase items from the episodes they have just watched.
Take for example Harper’s Bazaar’s campaign featuring Hannah Bronfman, to make a “touchable” ad . The video featured high-fashion garments from the Harper’s Bazaar shop worn by Bronfman. Viewers could then watch the video and with a touch of a button buy the featured items.
The video was followed by a small digital issue on the same day, featuring Bronfman and the products in a traditional-looking link format. The shoppable video got 80,000 shares on social media, while the digital article was shared only 138 times.
As ever, we can see that people like to be appealed to in new ways, and will reward innovative approaches that make their lives easier and more enjoyable.