Technology is changing the way that we shop. The proliferation of mobile devices has reshaped the consumer journey, fracturing the structured, linear sales funnel of old into countless intent-driven “micro-moments” that have us reaching for our smartphones.
We can easily find a piece of information or make a purchase anywhere, at any time, and this has left us expecting much more from brands. Numerous studies have shown that today’s consumers want contextually relevant, personalised online shopping experiences, delivered seamlessly and immediately – and if their favoured brands can’t provide this, then they have no problem looking elsewhere.
One of the latest innovations helping brands to stand out in the 24 million retailers-strong ecommerce landscape is shoppable content. The idea is to merge traditional content marketing – which aims to grow brand awareness by engaging target audiences with relevant, valuable content – with commerce via a shoppable feature that offers consumers a direct opportunity to purchase. Shoppable content can be any kind of editorial-style content, from articles and videos through to visual content like lookbooks, that either takes the reader to a featured product page or allows them to add a product directly to their basket from the page that they’re viewing.
The Need for Shoppable Content
One of the key issues that shoppable content aims to address is the ability to measure content marketing’s contribution to the bottom line. While content undoubtedly plays a big role in building and engaging online communities, there can be difficulties when it comes to attributing conversions to this channel. Shoppable technologies make content more accountable and ROI-focused, which in turn makes it easier to justify marketing spend and secure crucial budgets from the powers that be. Shoppable content also helps brands to capture potential customers sooner on the path to purchase, during the inspiration phase, helping to decrease the cost of acquisition.
The main draw for the consumer, on the other hand, is convenience; shoppable content significantly reduces the number of stages needed to make a purchase. This minimises the risk of losing potential customers due to a long or unnecessarily complicated buying process – whether they are abandoning their purchase in frustration over the amount of time it takes or because they get cold feet over an impulse buy. When done well, shoppable content provides a quick and seamless shopping journey from inspiration to purchase.
3 Brands that are Winning with Shoppable Content
ASOS – #AsSeenOnMe
ASOS, the online-only trailblazer that rarely puts a foot wrong in its digital strategy, was one of the first brands to integrate shoppable technologies into their editorial features. Back in October 2014, the fashion retailer launched #AsSeenOnMe, a social initiative that cleverly leverages user-generated content to drive product sales.
Customers are invited to share photos of themselves wearing ASOS clothing and accessories on Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #AsSeenOnMe, or by uploading their photos directly to the campaign page on the website. All images with the hashtag are pulled into a Pinterest-style content channel powered by the visual commerce platform Olapic, where users can browse looks filtered by gender, particular individuals and various different styles (current tags include “denim”, “tailoring” and “streetwear”).
Each image is linked to the relevant product pages by ASOS staff; when a user clicks on their chosen photo, they can “get the look” by buying the featured items or similar items chosen by ASOS.
Ted Baker – “Mission Impeccable” Film
Video is a powerful tool in the content marketer’s arsenal, but it is currently largely used to build brand awareness and engagement, rather than to directly drive sales. Forward-thinking brands like Ted Baker, however, are using interactive shoppable video as a conversion platform in its own right.
The luxury British fashion brand have teamed up with director Guy Ritchie to create the 3-minute spy-inspired film “Mission Impeccable”, for the launch of their Autumn/Winter 2016 collection. Viewers can buy any item of clothing worn in the ad simply by clicking on it in the video, which is currently available in shoppable format on Ted Baker’s own site and official partner retailers Selfridges.com and Nordstrom.com.
To add an experiential layer to the “Mission Impeccable” campaign and help to encourage footfall to their physical stores, the brand is also leveraging Google app’s voice search to allow shoppers to ask the app about key slogans that appear in Ted Baker’s brick-and-mortar window displays in order to unlock exclusive incentives.
This isn’t Ted Baker’s first foray into shoppable video; the brand is building upon the success of their Christmas 2015 ad, which contributed to the company seeing both sales of the featured products and brand engagement increase by 30%.
Tesco – RealFood Shoppable Recipes
Shoppable content isn’t the sole preserve of glossy fashion editorials and impeccably shot interior design lookbooks. The ability to create content that turns readers into buyers through a seamless shopping experience is crucial for brands across many different sectors, from fashion through to FMCG.
Shoppable technologies play a crucial role in supermarket giant Tesco’s digital content strategy. The brand has integrated their Real Food recipe content with their ecommerce platform, offering consumers a quick and easy way to find meal inspiration and add the ingredients to their weekly shop.
Below the list of ingredients, each recipe has a “Shop Ingredients” call-to-action that allows users to add any of the products that they need to their shopping basket. To make it even easier for shoppers, Tesco have split the ingredients out into the fresh produce that “you’ll probably need” and the store cupboard items that “you’ve probably got”.
While there are an increasing number of brands getting in on the act, shoppable content is still a form of content marketing that remains largely untapped – particularly outside of the fashion industry. As is usually the case, the brands that are at the forefront of the trend are likely to see the biggest wins from it, so it would be wise to embrace shoppable content sooner rather than later. After all, it may not be long before new consumer expectations are set and shoppers will demand the ability to purchase any product featured in an image, article or video.