The future of content marketing is shoppable content
Shoppable content has revolutionised the way businesses and consumers interact on digital platforms. Adapting and leaning into this change and experimenting with shoppable content at an early stage will potentially reap huge rewards for brands, says Fe Husaint, creative and global brand head at Green Park Content.
The concept of shopping has seen significant evolution over the years. Before the invention of e-Commerce, a massive part of shopping was about location, location, location.
People like UGC because it comes from real people
However, e-commerce has turned this concept on its head.
Millions of Internet users click on posts to learn about products every month, and billions of people worldwide browsing various platforms daily. Users do this to get inspired, find solutions, new products and explore options through content.
Enter shoppable content. This content provides consumers with a direct purchasing opportunity. It answers consumer questions at the right place and time, as content marketing does. It presents the solution, allowing them to add products to a cart while browsing. Or, at the very least, get referred to a product page and continue shopping from there.
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Whilst social media and other channels continue to offer opportunities for brands to connect with consumers in new and exciting ways across a wide variety of platforms, shoppable content allows the audience to buy products without ever leaving the platform or website.
The result? All digital platforms have become amazingly shoppable, bringing consumers closer to brands and shortening the customer journey tremendously.
With brands integrating retail tool after retail tool to transform their platforms into marketplaces, users can easily shop for their favourite brands through content they search. The content cleverly incorporates and suggests the perfect products embedded within it. This content can be in videos, images, live streaming and more!
Why e-commerce brands should leverage this content marketing trend
The medium is no longer just the message. It's the ultimate digital shopping experience, and brands should hop on the bandwagon. Here's why:
It makes for an overall better e-commerce buyer experience: It offers a more seamless and direct user journey, and customers can flip through videos, images, articles, and photos through brands making content shoppable with the mere tap of a finger.
Enter the Gen Z's: It helps brands evolve outdated digital catalogues and shopping apps that are no longer effective when engaging a younger consumer base. For Millennials and Gen Zs, the whole world is now their showroom! Wherever they go—online or off — the items they see are an "add to cart" click away.
User-Generated Content (UGC) thrives: It showcases an intersection for commerce and the rise, influence, and significance of UGC. People like UGC because it comes from real people. It's authentic and more relatable, providing the visual proof online shoppers seek.
It meets the audience in their personal digital domain: Shoppable content is more intimate. More meaningful information is delivered person-to-person in the privacy of their own device, in their own digital environment. It's a higher-level way to transmit data more intimately. It builds trust and gains loyalty because it engages with consumers more genuinely and personally.
Making visual content fully shoppable
A few brands have successfully reduced the customer journey, resulting in shoppable content purchases. Here are some of my top examples:
Lush is an excellent example as they put the power of UGC to use in its already strong content marketing strategy. They used user-generated photographs on their landing pages and social media grids. Doing this allowed people to make quicker purchase decisions because they have fewer questions. They also made the inspirational content actionable by including ShopSpots that take visitors directly from the UGC to that product’s page. Visitors acted on the UGC after being presented directly with the “Shop Now” button. In March 2020 alone, they sold out in advance on the product they had not even forecasted to sell that month.
As part of their post-Covid marketing strategy, L’Oréal is the latest beauty brand to tap into the power of “live stream shopping”. The mega-brand now provides live makeup tutorials that allow customers to interact with the hosts, ask questions, receive discounts and bonuses, and integrate shopping links directly into the platform to purchase products. All this happens as one seamless experience. L’Oreal also expanded its AR capacities with an AR platform that allows you to “try on” cosmetics when shopping on Amazon. The beauty giant partnered with Walmart and Garnier, launching a new offering that let customers “try on” new hair colours. This service offering resulted in three times the number of purchases.
Another excellent example of publisher-style shoppable content is Into The Gloss. The beauty website, Founded in 2010 by Emily Weiss, a then 26-year old Teen Vogue assistant, explores routines of inspiring women. In 2014, ITG launched their own beauty brand, Glossier, inspired by their users. Weiss is well known to value her shoppers' opinions tremendously.
Glossier features interviews with fashionistas, highlighting their beauty routines and the products they use in the most popular section of ITG —"The Top Shelf". They then develop beauty products based on their users' feedback and requirements. We need to note how Glossier follows a simple philosophy of giving its customers a voice through content. They then expertly sell their products through shoppable content.
At Green Park Content, we create meaningful connections that impact people’s lives through performance-driven content. We have built dozens of content platforms and recently launched a shoppable content hub, ‘Beauty Daily’ for Clarins. This beauty hub and wellness destination shares trustworthy, insider tips from the experts at Clarins. It is also supported by a stellar line-up of contributing dermatologists, doctors, nutritionists, make-up artists, and health gurus presenting scientifically proven unbiased advice.
Through content hubs like beautydaily.clarins.co.uk, we create discoverable and shoppable content where brands can minimise disruptions that lead to abandoned shopping carts, enhancing the overall customer experience.
Three tips for leveraging this trend in 2022
Shoppable content has revolutionised the way businesses and consumers interact on digital platforms. Adapting and leaning into this change and experimenting with shoppable content at an early stage will potentially reap huge rewards for your brand going forward.
Go beyond simply adding "buy" buttons: Millennials and Gen Zers are driving demand for richer, visual content, including video, interactive communication and live streaming shopping experience. These types of content give your audience choices and ways to browse and purchase within various platforms.
Use the right platform: Take a closer look at the different target audiences and consider their behaviour when choosing a platform. You need to then engage with them at their point of need (which equals point of sale), helping consumers get what they want when they want it or, as we all know it, "being in the right place at the right time"!
Use UGC to build social proof: Give your customers the chance to share their experience through authentic stories and help your future consumers develop trust and find authenticity through your content. This includes influencers who are also your customers. What better way to leverage on those who are already your fans? Naturally, you can nurture your fans to become your brand ambassadors through this process.
Welcome to the evolution of shopping!
Fe Husaint is the creative and global brand head at Green Park Content